In our family everyone knows that Dexter loves us all, but we all agree he loves me best. Beyond me there is no descending order and the boys seem to take it in stride. It’s not uncommon for him to drape himself across my lap, his long legs hanging almost to the floor as I scratch his chin or rub his ears. Bill says this impossible behavior is my own fault as I held him there as a puppy while I worked. It’s comic and endearing and I love him.
When we were away we had a lovely young woman, beautiful and smart and nice – an amazing combination – watch him while we were gone. Coincidentally, her mother was vacationing in the same town that we were and we ran into her one afternoon.
“Oh, it’s so funny. Ellie just sent me a picture of Dexter with his head on her shoulder. She thinks he’s a riot.”
Everyone chuckled, including me, but my heart was in my throat. His head was on her shoulder? I was instantly struck that it is not me to whom he is so devoted, but anyone, it seems, who scratches behind his ear. Or coos his name. Or, worse, feeds him.
Jealous and indignant, I swore things would never be the same between us. Oh, we could be friends, it would be fine, we are both grown-ups after all (technically he’s two, or fourteen depending on how you look at it, but in his world he’s an adult plain and simple), but it would not be like before. I could never trust him again, not now that I knew he had so easily transferred his affections to another.
When we arrived home he skipped and pranced as always. I was aloof. He danced around me his big paws stepping on my feet, his nose nudging my hand.
The next morning when I awoke he was on the bed (where he is not supposed to be) and through the down of the comforter I could feel his chin resting on my leg. I opened my eyes and found him looking at me from upraised brows. I reached down and pulled his silky ear through my fingers. He rolled over on his back so I could scratch under his chin, knowing all was forgiven.