I had an insight about our dog, Finny. (His actual name is Phinneas. That sounds very fancy, doesn’t it?) Finny does not quite consider me his mother or even his owner. Though well-meaning and sweet, he doesn’t listen to a thing I say. He drags me around by his leash when we take a so-called walk. In the Finny hierarchy, my husband, Jacob, is alone at the top and the rest of us are down here duking it out.
A couple of days ago, my husband came home from a trip. He reached out to hug me hello, and Finny jumped up right between us, put his paws on Jacob’s shoulders, and attempted to stick his tongue in Jacob’s mouth. Meanwhile I stumbled backward, recognizing that in my marriage, Finny is the other woman.
When Jacob goes to bed first, Finny lies next to him in my spot with the covers up to his shoulders. When Jacob drives, Finny likes to sit proudly in the front passenger seat. I picture the two of them motoring off together in a convertible-Finny’s ears tied back in a flowered kerchief. Finny is attentive and loyal, desiring only the glory of Jacob’s presence. His goodbyes are sorrowful. His greetings are ecstatic. In so many ways, he is the perfect wife.
It’s not that Finny doesn’t love me too. When Jacob’s not around he gives me commiserating looks, like we’re two girls left in the harem.
And when it’s time for dinner and then dish-washing, Finny knows who the sucker is. For that one hour of the day he loves me first and best.