Last weekend, I posted this on Instagram:
Adorable, right? Better yet, the picture wasn’t posed or planned in any way. It was naptime and Everett fell asleep in my bed, on my husband’s favorite pillow. With absolutely no prodding, Maddie went over and laid next to him. I seized the moment and snapped a sleepy pic of them both.
And the comments on Facebook (where I also shared the image) were all exactly what you’d expect – “Beautiful!”, “Cute!”, “Love this!” – except…well…that picture isn’t exactly what it seems to be. You see, that pillow that Everett just happened to fall asleep on is my husband’s favorite pillow…which also happens to be Maddie’s favorite pillow. I mean, she’s not supposed to sleep on his pillow, but she sneaks naps there during the day when my husband isn’t home. I turn a blind eye, mainly because it isn’t my pillow.
So, as it turns out, what looks like a sweet moment between a boy and his dog, is really a very passive aggressive dog silently trying to stake her claim to a pillow that isn’t even hers. A polite power struggle, if you will.
Because, rest assured, the love only flows one way in this relationship – from Everett to Maddie. Not that he notices, of course. “Puppy” was one of his first words. She’s the first one he looks for in the morning and the first one he looks for when he returns from school. And chances are, if you see Maddie running through the house, you’ll also see Everett just a few feet behind trying to give her a hug. On the rare occasions that he catches her, the moment is far from mutual. I’m pretty sure she’s planning her escape here:
Don’t get me wrong, she won’t let anyone or anything mess with him. On the rare occasions when the kids have been threatened by another dog, Maddie always put herself in the middle and defends them. And she absolutely adores the “messy toddler eating” phase he’s been stuck in for the greater part of his life. The floor under his highchair is her favorite hangout – the perfect distance to catch food he hands her and yet just far enough that he can’t actually touch her. And clearly they agree when it comes to pillows. So I suppose there are some things she likes about him, but it would be safe to say that they are few and far between.
Maybe one day they’ll be best friends like Everett thinks they are, but for now, I think it would be safe to list their relationship status as “it’s complicated”.