When Pepper came to live with us (her third family), she came with a set of rules. So did Salsa, but hers were much simpler. Here they are:
- I require a minimum of five daily feedings (two full meals and three snacks), proportionally spaced throughout the day. I will begin letting you know (loudly and persistently) at least 45 minutes before each designated mealtime.
- I am Cute, and I know it. I will use this fact to my full advantage. Deal with it.
- When we visit Nanny (aka The Pushover), I will not let anyone have a conversation until she has given me a snack. If we’re there for more than two hours, I will require a second snack. Don’t worry – I’ll give you at least 45 minutes’ notice.
- I must be kept warm at all times. If you are using the heating pad on the bed and get up for any reason (say, to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, let Salsa out), you forfeit your right to use the heating pad for the next hour, or until it’s time for me to exit the room and make poop on the kitchen floor. If you try to extract me from my heat source, protect your fingers. (Also, I’m aware of your attempts to trick me, such as sliding the heating pad out from under the covers beneath me. Be aware that I don’t approve of this tactic.) If Rule #4 bothers you, buy your own heating pad.
- When you feed me a snack, be sure to wear protective gear on your hands. And don’t expect any thanks.
- I like to burrow under my fleece blankets (it’s a trait of my breed, the miniature pinscher). I’m tiny, so it’s hard to tell whether that lump is me or just a fold in the blanket. Any time you sit down, make sure the lump is not me. You could kill me.
- I shall be picked up at my discretion only. Should you attempt to pick me up of your own accord, wear protective gear.
- When we go for our little Princess Rides, which you insist upon calling “walks,” I must be carried after the initial 12 feet (in other words, before we reach the end of the driveway). At certain moments during a Princess Ride, you might get the impression I’ve been carried long enough (or you’re getting sweaty where my body is in contact with your torso) and you might try to put me down. Do not mistake any movement on my part as an indication that I want to walk.
- When we’re in public, small children will ask permission to pet me, pick me up or feed me. Permission granted. (Just don’t let them drop me on my head.)
- In private, I will tolerate the little nicknames you give me – such as little space heater, pest, poop-head, terrorist, little rat, min-pinhead – as I will hardly know the difference (God gave me a tiny body and an even tinier brain). But don’t call me these names in public; I have a reputation to uphold. (When it’s mealtime, don’t call me; I’ll call you.)
- If the outside temperature is below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, I will not go outside to potty. Do not be concerned; I have plenty of places indoors to potty.
- I do not like sweaters. Do not attempt to put one on me, even when it’s cold. I will keep warm using a person’s lap, my fleece blankets, your heating pad, a basket of clean towels or a combination of the above resources.
- Referencing Rule #12, it should go without saying that I do not want to be dressed up in costumes, no matter how cute Nanny thinks they are.
- When I want to play with my pink squeaky toy (the one that still squeaks), I will let you know that it’s time to fetch it for me. Once you throw it, I’ve chased it, squeaked the life out of it and I’m ready for you to throw it again, you must get up and retrieve it from wherever it is (usually right next to me). You will repeat the process several times before I walk away in disinterest.
- When it’s time for Salsa to go outside, such as when she’s in my sunny spot by the glass door, I will let you know. I will continue to alert you until she’s safely outside.
- In my role as Emergency Backup Dog, I will assist Salsa in emergencies of Level 3 and above. Examples: falling leaves (Level 3), children on bicycles (Level 2), squirrels (Level 1). Cats: RED ALERT!!! In the event that Salsa’s Emergency Alert System fails to alert you (such as when she’s not home), I will assume sole responsibility for the safety of our household. I ain’t big, but I’m loud.
- When in doubt as to which rule takes precedence, refer to any of the above that relate to Food. Remember that Food is vital to my existence. And world peace.
When you adopted me, no one knew whether I had been mistreated, but it’s possible. As a terrier (part Manchester, part who-knows-what?), I’m a high-energy dog, but I have a tender heart. Here are my rules:
- Give me food and water each day, have at least one rasslin’ match with me every evening (more on weekends), and give me lots and lots of belly rubs.
- Love me with all your heart.
And we do. Both of them.