Before leaving town for a week her human owner left some written pointers on the kitchen table:
• “Ellie likes a morning snack before she has breakfast.”
• “She will try to work you on treats.”
• “Don’t feed her supper before 6 p.m. or she will think she needs to eat again before bedtime.”
“Is this stuff really true about you, Ellie?” I asked as I looked again at the list and then down at that adored fur baby.
Well she smirked at me. Maybe just a little tiny bit. But definitely, it was a smirk.
Here’s another sweet something about Ellie’s life in the country: She and the little male dog next door have worn a path from each other’s back door.
When their human owners get on their nerves, Ellie and her guy friend swap houses, hang out on different couches and sample each other’s treats.
“Ellie definitely rules,” the neighbor lady said with a smile. “By the way, when you give her a treat you have to act like you are trying to steal it away from her or she won’t want it.”
Last night, while a neighbor boy played with some leftover fireworks, Ellie started to squirm on my lap. I was afraid she might get so afraid that she would jump out of my arms and run away in that pitch-black country night, where coyotes like to hang around. So I put her in the house.
When I later went inside I could immediately see that Miss Ellie was honked off about my decision.
“Come on, Ellie,” I whined at her while she stared at the back of the couch. “I didn’t leave you alone in here for hours. And I certainly didn’t do it in an effort to be mean to you. I was only trying to protect you.”
“When I need to be protected I will be sure to let you know,” Ellie said in a sour voice. “But so far, you are the one who needs all the extra help.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” I said.
“It took you forever to get the lid off my snack jar,” Ellie said with an eye roll. “Every single night you turn on that huge flood light.”
“Every night? I hardly think that’s true,” I said in a whisper. But when Ellie glared at me, I shrugged. “All right. Fine. Yes, I turn on the flood light a lot. Who cares? I’m new around here.”
“The point is that I am the queen around these parts,” Ellie said. “And you don’t decide for me when I should get away from the fireworks.”
“So you are telling me that you were enjoying the fireworks?”
“No,” Ellie said. “I was on my way to the house. You didn’t need to …’
“OK, I get it,” I said with a nod. “You wanted to be inside. But you wanted it to be your idea.”
“Right,” she nodded.
“What about the little game you play with your treats?” I asked. “Why do you like for your humans to pretend that it’s impossible to steal the treats away from fierce Ellie?”
“It helps me feel better about myself,” Ellie said as she fluffed her favorite couch pillow. “I play that silly game just like I allow you to believe that you are actually baby-sitting me. But we both know that it’s the other way around.”