You would think that if you live alone, you get to be the boss.
As in, you're not the boss of me.
Because now that it's only me, I should be the boss of me.
In fact, I'm self-employed, so I am, literally, my own boss. But that's just literally, or maybe for tax purposes, but not in real life. In real life, my dogs are the boss of me.
And my cats are my slave masters.
I realized this a moment ago, when I was working on my laptop, with two dogs sleeping on either side, Peach and Little Tony, each with its head on my lap. I like to work with the TV on, and some horrible show came on, but I couldn't reach the remote to change the channel without waking up Little Tony. And he's cranky when he wakes up. In fact, he growls if you move him once he's asleep.
He's not a morning dog.
So I let sleeping dogs lie, and it became the moment when I realized that I wasn't the boss of me. The only way it could have been clearer was if the show on TV was Who's the Boss?
Answer: Little Tony Danza.
Something similar had happened the night before, during which I slept with three dogs. Why three? Because two slept on the floor.
Even they didn't want to sleep with three dogs.
Normally, I sleep with Peach and Little Tony, and they flank me at night, one on my left side and one on my right, their positions as established as seats at a family dinner table. We arrived at this arrangement because they're jealous of each other, and they fight at night.
Yes, I still got it.
Peace is maintained if one dog sleeps on either side, with me in the middle, like a postmenopausal Switzerland.
But I'm dog-sitting for Daughter Francesca's Cavalier, named Pip, and it put us over the top. Who knew that Pip would be the tipping point?
Or the Pipping point?
We all went to bed last night, and Peach and Little Tony settled into their customary positions. Evidently, this left Pip feeling as if he had nowhere to sleep, so he spent the night walking around the bed, trying to cuddle with my head, then moving down by my feet, then circling up to my head again, orbiting me until dawn. Of course, that created a disturbance in the canine solar system, roughly akin to the introduction of a new planet.
Do you want to tell Jupiter to move over?
Especially not if Jupiter growls.
So Peach and Little Tony went into their own new orbits, and everybody circled me all night long, trying and rejecting their different sleeping spots, hoping to reconfigure their canine galaxy.
I was at the center, like a cranky sun.
Just because I'm postmenopausal doesn't mean I'm post-cranky.
I'm still a woman.
Anyway, to stay on point, I started to worry that all of this intergalactic travel would mean that Peach would need to go to the bathroom, which created its own problem. I was too tired to get up and take her out, but not tired enough to go back to sleep and just forget about it. In fact, I have been known to wake up at night and not go to the bathroom because I didn't want to wake Peach, because then I'd have to take her out.
In other words, Peach's bladder trumps mine.
And isn't that the way, with pets?
And owners like me?
I'm not a boss, I'm a people-pleaser.
And now I'm a pet-pleaser.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Look for Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella's new book, "Best Friends, Occasional Enemies: The Lighter Side of Life as a Mother and Daughter," coming Nov. 22. Visit Lisa at www.scottoline.com.