Charity begins at home

I lined up my dogs and explained about the new model of caregiving that would henceforth exist in our house.

“All relationships from now on are transactional.” I explained “not relational. It’s sort of a new version of ‘sing for your supper’.”

We bark all the time, they thought

“Sing” I said “not bark. It’s a metaphor for what we give to each other in our new transactional relationship. I take care of you and going forward, I expect you to pull your own wait.”

No problem they were thinking, more tugging on the leash.

“Not that kind of pulling” I explained.

“Here are the new rules:

“Every day we renegotiate our contract. No more long-term commitments.When you want to eat, you wait till I want to feed you; and when you want to walk, you will need to hold it until I want to walk you. I will decide if it’s worth my while.”

Wait one second they growled at me.

We give hugs and kisses endlessly. We warm your bed for you, keep your pillows rumpled for you, and tell you you’re the best.  We don’t live transactionally, we do it all day every day.  We are relational.  We also, in case you haven’t noticed, can’t feed ourselves or walk ourselves. We won’t be able to survive.

“Good point” I said. “But this is how all relationships, including charity ones, work these days. You have to adjust. You dogs need to learn to fish.”

They stopped growling and looked at each other while collectively tilting their heads as if to say what’s she talking about?

“You know” I explained. “Give a dog a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a dog to fish and he eats for life”

She’s gone mad, they thought, lying down and putting their heads between their paws to show compliance.

Suddenly, as a group, they rushed me, knocked me over and kissed my face till it dripped.

“Okay. Okay.” I said.  “Being cute and full of love is nice and all, but I am not sure it’s enough for me to change my mind about our new transactional relationship model.  I will get back to you tomorrow” I said while burrowing my nose into their sweet-smelling fur necks and rubbing their soft velvety ears.  “Maybe love is enough.”


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