Sophie, a Pekingese Maltese mix, loves Duncan. Joyce, her companion, and I get along well and often spend long minutes chatting and catching up while Soph scuttles around and under Duncan, whimpering and wagging her little tail while she tries to sneak kisses from his cheek. Duncan, who has grown increasingly indifferent to other dogs and prefers the company of people, tolerates her adoration admirably, but he'd much rather Joyce dote on him than talk with me.
Sophie recently discovered the pumpkin treats I carry in my pocket. Although Joyce insists Sophie doesn't really like treats she likes mine, so tonight, rather than play with Roo, she rubbed against my ankles like a cat and rolled at my feet, her little paws wagging in the air. I obliged her and knelt down in the grass to rub her belly and slip her some treats, which she eagerly chewed up, licking my fingers for the crumbs when she was done. Duncan, fiercely protective of my attention, also loves the treats and kept trying to maneuver his way between us, reaching for the goods before Sophie could get them. I kept pushing him away and slipping her more treats, which caused her to wiggle and whine and dance circles around me.
Duncan has always been the jealous sort and when it became clear to him that I preferred Sophie to him, he decided to take immediate action. He turned his attention to Joyce and decided that she was a fine human, good enough to make his own. So he did what dogs do when they take possession of something. He stepped around Joyce while we played with Sophie, sniffed her calf, raised his leg and marked her ankle as his new territory.
Joyce squealed as Duncan looked up at her with a wide grin on his face, obviously pleased with his decision to make her his. Joyce squealed, and always a good sport (aided by the glass of wine she brings with her on her evening walks), laughed and shrugged it off while I chastised Roo and apologized over and over. She shrugged the whole thing off, kicked off the flip-flop and wiped her foot on the grass. I offered to clean it for her but she brushed me aside and insisted all was well and told Dunc she was flattered that he loved her enough to claim her.
Sophie, drunk on pumpkin treats and confused by the whole scene, seemed to think my pumpkins goodies were an even exchange for Joyce. She whimpered and watched while I pulled Duncan away and led him home where he was reminded that he has my heart and could never be replaced.