My dog Cooper is about 50 percent highly opinionated, opportunistic brat. I wish I were more like him.
That's possibly, probably, most likely wrong of me, but to my critics, I say: Whatever.
To be honest, I've been called a lot of things, and more than just a few of those things weren't very nice, but of all the names, adjectives, adverbs and cuss words I've been stuck with, brat isn't one of them.
Cooper makes a compelling argument for being a brat, though.
If you go outside during his nap time, don't bother asking him to go with because, nah, the nap wins every time. He's sure about that.
If the weather is bad, he might go peek out the door, but "Nuh-uh," he says, "you go ahead. Give a shout if you get lost, stuck or injured — I'll start composing a beautiful eulogy."
The pickup truck is his. If you start it without him present, even just to get the windows powered up, you are suspected of being a carjacker. If you leave him in the house and drive away in it, even if he wanted to stay inside for the nap-time festivities, you are an evil betrayer and will be pouted at accordingly upon your return.
Don't even think for a minute he'll stick around outside if a coyote howls within a half mile. He is headed for home, and humans are left behind for bait to slow the attackers. He sees no problem with that.
He will take a bone, a treat or his newest, favorite stick out by the horses and set the treasure on the ground with the obvious air of: "This is the most awesomest, precious thing in the world, and it's mine, mine, all mine. Not yours." One of them always falls for it and investigates. At which time, he gleefully guards the precious by snatching it just out of reach of the jealous sucker. Repeatedly. Eventually, barking ensues.
When he gets chewed out for barking at the horses, he flashes his best shifty-character, squinty-eyed, devil-on-my-shoulder look and waits for us to look away, or simply blink, then he barks again. Telling him "no" results in a last-word-freak scenario of no, bark, hey, woof, Cooper, oof, shut up, uf, dangit, errr.
At this point, the participating horse(s) choose to fire things up again by taking a step toward the treasure. Barking ensues. Again.
And when he's required to come over beside us where the barking and bratiness can be kept a thumb on, he comes with all the eager enthusiasm of a juvenile delinquent to his court-ordered community service as a bathroom janitor.
Which means he has to be told, under no uncertain terms, that he is to come, now. Now. Here! Now— I said, Noowww! Coop! Come. @#$&, now!
Or we tell him to come once, then go retrieve him. (We're not entirely stupid.)
Either way, at this point, his body language clearly says that he would trade any dreams for a better life with opposable thumbs for just one middle finger with which he could salute us in defiance.
What is not to love about this?
Having been essentially a good girl for most of my life (there were a few sketchy moments in my teen years), I admire his persistent defiance, illogical self-centeredness and joyful disruption of the peace.
I tried it just the other day — the brattiness — but it didn't work out so well for me.
I seem to lack that other 50 percent of completely adorable lovability that Cooper has.
With those big brown eyes, perky/floppy ears and an impressive beard — he's handsome. People say so. He loves his humans with abandon, is happy beyond measure when he gets to go with (except at nap time), does awesome tricks and will randomly request that we get down to his height so he can wrap his front paws around our neck and pull us in for a hug.
A dog hug. How cute is that?
Most of the time when he's getting in trouble, some part of us is laughing at his antics, so obviously, if I'm going to work on being a brat, I must work on being adorable at the same time.
Me, becoming adorable.
Well, I'd sooner grow a beard than make that happen.
(Perky/floppy ears would be OK, though, at http://viewnorth40.wordpress.com.)