Pay Me!

It took me about 15 minutes to stop being mad. Then I pouted for a few hours. Then I was over it.

Kali on the other hand was over it as soon as her morning meal was served and with no residual pouting. Like most mornings after she eats she approached me like Oliver Twist approached Mr. Bumble in the workhouse and – with her eyes – said, “please sir, I want some more”. But no display of anger or seemingly any memory of the argument that had happened less than 30 minutes before.

It started much like all our other early morning walks which goes something like this. I get up around 6:00 AM and Kali follows me downstairs. She goes outside and does her business (which involves creating yellow spots on the lawn), she comes back in, we go upstairs to get her little brother Smokey from my daughters bedroom, and we return downstairs to prepare….. “THE FOOD”. Then the dancing begins, the grunting, the pleading, the heavy breathing, and the desperate eyes fixed on my every move. THE FOOD is prepared, the two bowls placed next to each other just outside the kitchen door, and Kali and Smokey chow down now oblivious to my existence. I’m ok with it…

Maybe it was because this particular morning we didn’t get Smokey up, I didn’t prepare THE FOOD, and I changed up the routine. Or not. But on this particular morning I thought it would be fun for me and Kali to walk before THE FOOD. Get a head start on the day. Burn some calories before the meal. Carpe Diem! Right?

So off we go. A beautiful summer morning in Northern California. Clear skies, warm air, and, at 6:00 AM, the streets and trails practically to ourselves.

About five minutes into our early morning walk Kali stops and sits. “Come on Kali, walk. Let’s go”. Nothing. “Kali, come on, walk“. Nope. Her eyes tell me, ” I want food and I know you have some in your pocket”. Kali is in “training” and along our walks we do training and she gets “paid” for good performance.

Me: “KALI – let’s go, WALK”.
Kali: “Pay me”.
Me: “I’m not paying you to sit”.
Kali: “Pay me”.
Me: “No, follow the rules and you get paid”.
Kali: “Pay me or I won’t move”.
Me: “This is extortion. We’re going home”.

Somehow we make it home without biting each other. I try to rise above the anger and am marginally successful. Kali looks at me adoringly with unconditional love. I feel small. Great – now besides anger and frustration I get to add guilt to the range of emotions I’m experiencing.

We go upstairs to get Smokey. I prepare THE FOOD. The dogs eat side by side in harmony. The dogs come back in and cuddle and play kissy-face. I drink my coffee and pout.

Kissey Face


Me: “Kali, I didn’t get what I wanted out of our walk this morning. I got up extra early, I didn’t get Smokey up specifically because I wanted you and me to have a special morning, just you and me on the trail on a beautiful summer morning. I’m so happy you are in my life. I know I can’t fully appreciate the challenges of transitioning as a stray and coming half way around the world. I need to be patient with you like you are with me. I need to work for you as hard as you are working for me.

Kali: “Pay me”.

I love this dog!



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