I know everybody thinks I'm so lucky, ooooh, lucky Riley, getting a cute little sister. Oooooh lucky Riley, having a new friend. Yah yah yah. It's not all wine and rosies, you know. I warned them. I warned them. But nobody listens to me.
I know it's my job to play with her. I play with her. I chase her around the yard and I let her chase me even though if I really ran she would never catch me. I show her all the best spots to find squirrels and I share my stash of rabbit pellets. We pretend to fight.
But is that enough? Nooooo it's never enough. She never listens to me. I tell her, "Stay out of my spot." I say, "Under the kitchen table is mine." So what does she do? She gets down on her belly and she wriggles across the kitchen floor and the next thing you know her head is poking under the table, invading my space, and then one of her paws whips forward and clocks me across the snout. What would you do? You would growl. You might even bite. I never bite, but I growl.
What do those people say, those two people who live in the house with us? "Riley, don't bark at your sister, Riley." "Riley, you should know better, Riley."
From the very beginning, I knew she'd be trouble. But nobody listens to me!
So every night around 8:30, after dinner, I sneak off and go upstairs. That's my sanctuary. I hop up on the bed, and I lie down on that wool blanket they put there just for me--for me--and finally I am alone. I can hear them throwing the tennis ball for her downstairs, or sometimes one of those heavy lacrosse balls that she hauls home from McMurray Field in the morning; it goes thump-thump-thump across the floor, and then you can hear her little pawnails skittering on the hardwood as she frolics after it, and they're all "Oh, she's so cute!" and "Good girl, Rosie!" and I turn over and stretch out my legs and go to sleep.
I know that in another hour or so she'll get to go out for one more pee (but nobody asks me if I want to pee, nooooooo, nobody listens to me) and then they'll lock her up in her cage, where she belongs, and we will have peace and quiet until morning.
But lately, there has been a development.
Lately, she has been coming upstairs at night. I don't know how this happened. Nobody tells me anything. She has a perfectly good cage, with a perfectly good scrap of fleece in it, it's fine for her, no need to bring her upstairs, there's no room on the bed anyway.
But there she is, hopping up on the bed and sometimes she even hops right exactly where I'm lying and I get a paw in the eye.
I growl at her but she lies down and starts hitting me in the face with her paws and so I growl louder. And what do they say, those two people who live in the house with us? "Stop growling at your sister," they say. "Be good, Riley." They pat the bed, and she clydes up in a little ball and goes to sleep.
This is not good. This is not right. This is not the way things are supposed to be.
There's a perfectly good cage downstairs, just going to waste.
So I came up with my plan.
I wait. I let everyone go to sleep. I wait. I can be very patient. Around 11 p.m. (there's a digital clock) (but I can tell time on the other kind, too), I hop down. I am very quiet. I do not bark. I do not make a sound. I just hop down and trot out out into the hall. I know what will happen: She will wake up and hop down, too. She runs downstairs. She scrambles onto the couch, puts her paws on the back of the couch, looks out through the window into the night, and she barks. And barks. And barksbarksbarksbarksbarksbarksbarksbarks.
Heh heh heh
I go back upstairs, jump onto the bed, feign sleep.
Now the two people who live in the house with us are awake, and they're grumbling, "What the hell is she barking at? What time is it? What's going on?" And one of them, usually the really tall one, throws back the covers, tromps downstairs, and pretty soon you hear the clang of her cage door slamming shut and then he tromps tromps tromps back up the stairs and crawls back into bed.
All is quiet.
And I have all the room I need.