Cricket has a long list of rules for how we must behave in her house.
- I am the big dog and no other dog shall come before me.
- Thou shalt not wash my poopy butt.
- Stealing my eye goop is a killable offense.
- Thou shalt not read a book when I want scratchies.
- Thou shalt not douse my neck with Frontline.
- Butterfly shall never have more treats than me.
- Butterfly shall not sit on the couch, or on a lap, unless she is getting her blood tested, which leads to treats for me.
- If Butterfly gets scratchies or treats, I must get more scratchies and more treats.
- Butterfly can never leave the house without me, because she might get treats I do not get.
- No one shall walk up and down the stairs in my building, or open and close doors, or God forbid, bring the mail!
But Cricket has just as many rules for her own behavior as for ours.
- If there is a leaf, I must catch it.
- If there is a squirrel, I must chase it.
- If there is a weed, I must grab it with my teeth and tear it from the ground.
- At bed time, I must crawl under Mommy’s bed and leave a paw out to be noticed.
- When Butterfly gets her blood tested, I must stand in the corner, between the two couches, and stare across the room at the bag of chicken treats.
- If at all possible, I must poop in the planting boxes.
- After a bath, I must run like a crazy dog and dry my butt on Mommy’s bed.
- When I am angry, I must pick up a tug toy and taunt Mommy with it.
- When I am grumpy, I must hide under the couch.
- When I am lonely, I must climb on a person for warmth, and ignore any protests.
- If no one wakes up at two AM to take me outside, I am free to poop on Grandma’s green quilting mat in the living room, or under the dining room table.
Cricket’s number one rule, though, is: Cricket must never be left alone. She insists on this and treats us like criminals when we dare to leave her behind in the apartment. She’s not destructive. She never chews a pair of shoes or destroys a box of toys while we’re gone, she just mopes. She gives very impressive grumpy face. It’s like when a parent doesn’t punish a child for bad behavior but just looks at them and says, “I am very disappointed in you.”
Cricket has quite a few more rules in mind, but has had a harder time insisting on them. No one listens, for example, when she says that she should get a whole roasted chicken for breakfast, or a chocolate bar for dessert. And she has yet to convince either of her people to let her go out and play in traffic. Harrumph.