Monday, January 07, 2008

Some Friend

This is Belle, my son Christian’s new dog. Although she is almost 50 pounds she seems to think she’s a lap dog. She also lives under the delusion that our two cats, Lucia and Princess, want to be her friends. Lucia is warming up to Belle a bit. Princess, on the other hand, hisses and arches her back whenever Belle comes within 20 feet of her personal space.

Princess’s new favorite routine is to sit on the highest shelf she can find in order to make herself taller and more threatening. But Belle refuses to give up. She is a needy dog with separation anxiety and wants companionship. She looks up at Princess with her big brown eyes as if to say, “Why can’t we all just get along? I’m really very nice.”

I even went so far as to remind Princess that she has no room to think of herself as superior. “You come from the same background, you know. Same shelter and everything.”

This afternoon Princess and Belle had an inevitable standoff. They met unexpectedly in the laundry room. I noticed, right off the bat that Princess didn’t look quite as confident without the added height that a book shelf provided.

“Not feeling quite so cocky now, are you, Princess?” I teased.

She looked at me like she wanted to hiss, “Why don’t you shut up!”

Then, in one heart-stopping moment, Belle tried to take advantage and step a little closer, Princess made a run for it by jumping over Belle, Belle defended herself against the oncoming attack by standing to her full height, causing Princess to miss the hurdle, and she ended up clawing her way over Belle’s back. Both ran from the scene in a flurry of hisses and yelps.

Now Belle trembles in fear at the sight of Princess. She doesn’t even need to arch her back. But Belle still gives her the sad eyes. She still wants to be friends. Unfortunately, the feeling isn’t mutual and probably never will be. I can’t help wondering, why won’t she give up and just be happy with the idea that Lucia sorta likes her and has come within inches of touching noses with her? Lucia doesn’t hiss half as much (only when Belle tries too hard or barges in when Lucia is getting the affection—see, told you she was needy) and doesn’t have back-mauling claws like Princess does. Lucia is sweet; Princess is . . . I’m sorry to say . . . a little brat. Even when she gets cut down to size as she did in the laundry room, she still cops an attitude around the tender newcomer.

It reminded me of the times in sixth grade when I tried very hard to gain acceptance from the “cool group” in my class even though half the girls in it were snots. Then there was the time in high school dance class when a group of girls snubbed me for NOT snubbing someone else and I still wanted them as friends (again, because I considered them cool, even though, when I think about it now, they weren’t really, only good at making people think they were). And then there was the time when . . . Well, maybe I better stop. This is enough proof that I have a pretty pathetic background when it comes to one-sided friendships.

I almost want to say, “Belle, Honey, you deserve so much better. Give it up.” I’m sure she’ll continue to learn the hard way, as I did. But she is only a dog and I’m an adult human being who knows better. Watching Belle is a good reminder to take the precious friendships that God has sent me instead of attempting to hang on to something that is one-sided, or even damaging. Thankfully, there is nobody like that in my life now, but I’ve had more than my share. Praise God for learning experiences that showed me, “Don’t bother with those that hiss and arch there backs and claw their way over you. You deserve better!”

And so do you!

Cross Posted on my new blog, Worth It! (


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