Sentient Beings

Ellie relaxing in the off-leash dog park in Irving Park in the Irvington neighborhood of Portland, Oregon

I’ve made a couple of modifications to our morning ritual of treats for the pets. We had started giving Ellie Checkups once a day, a white dog-shaped treat that is supposed to be good for her teeth. When we discovered this is by far her favorite treat of all, instead of giving Ellie a charcoal dog biscuit in the morning she now gets her white bone.

And oh how she loves them! When I open the door to the closet where we keep them, she runs into my office and quickly lies down on her dog bed, so intently focused that she doesn’t move apart from her big black tail which wags furiously.

My wife takes her about once a week to doggie day care so she can spend the day socializing with other dogs. She normally enjoys this and doesn’t need any encouragement to go out the door, but one day my wife was running ahead of schedule and was ready to leave while I was still feeding Scout her treats, and thus before Ellie had gotten her highly anticipated white bone. When my wife called her, Ellie got up and started for the door but then returned to me and half-sat and half-stood, torn between obeying my wife’s call and waiting for her treat, as if she were being controlled by two minds.

I think her stomach has become self-aware.

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