When Kate came to the rectory door in her cute and clean snowsuit, she had no idea what she would encounter. Two large black Labs, each one weighing much more than she did, surrounded her at the door, whirlwinds in black, swirling around her, licking her face, tasting her snow suit, pushing against her little body, and letting the girl know at once who rules in this house. Moses gave her a few good kisses, but when she began to cry, he quickly and quietly withdrew to the quieter world of the living room sofa. Zoe stayed with the girl to keep an eye on her, and to play with her.
Within a couple of minutes, Kate’s mother and I were settling down to work at the dining room table. Kate’s large bag of toys, snacks, and blankets was set on the floor. That lasted for less than a minute. Zoe charged the bag, threw her muzzle into it, and began to empty its contents onto the living room floor: blanket, toys, blocks, treats, water bottle. Kate cried, with little screams piercing our ears. Her mother repacked the bag, and placed it on the table near us, presumably away from Zoe. But there was a problem. Kate wanted her stuff. She cried. So the bag was set on the sofa next to her, but zipped closed to keep dogs out. Moses got the message, and withdrew yet again, this time to the quiet of the bedroom. Zoe accepted the challenge. Kate pulled a small blanket out of her bag; Zoe ripped the blanket out of her hands, and ran around the living room, trailing the blanket from her mouth. Soon the blanket was wet with saliva. Then Zoe dropped the blanket, because Kate had pulled a wonderful-looking toy out of the bag. Kate held the toy in her hand for a few seconds. Zoe lurched across the room, grabbed the green dinosaur from Kate’s hands, and began to test the toy’s strength. Kate shrieked. Zoe had already pierced the dinosaur with her canines, but I took the wounded dinosaur from Zoe’s mouth, and replaced it into Kate’s bag. Then the little girl pulled out some wooden blocks to play with, each with a letter on it. One block lasted no longer than ten seconds, before it was split by Lab jaws. Another one met a set of teeth chewing into it to enjoy the flavors of the little girl. Now Kate was sobbing. So her mother put the toys back into the bag, and zipped it up. Zoe waited patiently for a few moments.
Kate’s mother made a mistake. She gave the girl a granola bar to quiet her down. Zoe loves granola bars. So they shared the bar, the girl and Zoe. Or rather, Zoe tore the whole bar from Kate’s mouth, and quickly devoured it. More screams. I told Zoe to leave the child alone. And she did, for a few minutes. But then Kate decided to walk across the living room towards her mother. Another mistake. Zoe was on her, letting her know in whose room she was walking. The girl could not move without being out-maneuvered by a creature about twice her age, twice her weight, and more than twice the woman she was. Kate was as dominated as Zoe’s brother’s had been in the litter, when I first saw the pup at 8-weeks old. Kate returned to the sofa and pouted. She had been utterly controlled by a dog.
In time, Kate may remember the adventure, but probably not. Surely it is difficult, even humiliating, for a human being to learn their proper place in the scheme of things--especially from a mere dog. In time, Kate will think, “I am Woman,” and she may feel utterly superior, not only to some of us, but to all “dumb animals.” Zoe will turn gray, and in her time she will go the way of all flesh. Zoe will receive her eternal reward, and crowned with glory, we trust, for teaching human beings to be a little more humble, and not to take ourselves so seriously.