When we brought Katniss home for the first time as a puppy, she weighed 9 pounds and easily fit in my lap, even though she smelled like a truck stop restroom.
As time went by, little Katniss grew into bigger Katniss, and she stopped growing at about 42 pounds.
Forty-two pounds, in my opinion, is not that big for a dog. It’s a decent size, maybe even a little small, but certainly bigger than a Chihuahua. But when that 42-pound dog has seemingly infinite energy and still insists on riding in your lap because she thinks she’s still a baby—let’s just say she seems a lot bigger than 42 pounds.
During car rides, Katniss barks at other dogs and demands near-constant affection, and whoever is in the passenger seat with her in their lap emerges blanketed in hair, likely quite warm from the beast’s body heat and has had their thighs pounded on more than Keith Moon’s¹ drum kit.
But not any more.
Growing tired of Katniss’ domination of all things, my wife wisely put Katniss in the back seat of her vehicle recently, and for the first time, Katniss actually stayed back there.
Yes, for once the biggest baby the world has ever known—to clarify, I mean Katniss, not my wife—did not get her way, but there was no meltdown.
No attempts to hop into the passenger seat.
No sad dog routine to gain pity.
No kisses for mom to try to change her mind.
Who is this animal?
My wife just aimed the air conditioning vents into the back seat, and Katniss stayed put.
Nothing with Katniss has been so easy since we potty-trained her more than two years ago. Don’t get me wrong: Katniss is a good—no, great—dog; she is empathetic, smart, trainable and athletic. But she also has difficulty with boundaries, especially since I spoil her and let her do 99 percent of what she wants. OK, 100 percent.
Sleep with dad on the bed? Sure!
Hop up on the couch to snuggle while dad is playing video games? Why not?!
Wake daddy up at all hours of the night just for a hug? Hell yes!
Let dad carry her around the house like an infant? Absolutely.
Ride in dad’s lap for the duration of any car ride?
¹Moon is the former drummer for The Who. Who? The Who—a band that was huge in the 1960s and ’70s that tours to this day, albeit with only two of the original four members. Please don’t make me have to go any further than that to explain who The Who is—if you still have no idea who they are, we probably shouldn’t be friends. Anyway, Moon was known for his incredible ability on drums, being both impossibly loud and impressively gifted. And he was also super rowdy. He once hid a small explosive in his bass drum on live TV, and on the final note of the song the band was playing, Moon set off the device, to the amazement of the crowd—and the rest of the band—and nearly permanently deafened a fellow band member, some have said. Why am I referring to him in the past tense? He died before he got old, to quote a Who song, from partying way too hard. Poor guy.