We got him as a little pup from the SPCA. Charming was SO excited that we had our first dog that he instantly claimed responsibility for Barkley. He was the one that went to obedience training with us, took Barkley on walks/runs, let Barkley sleep IN his bed with him, made sure he was fed, let in and out and LOVED! Glory did pretty good with attention when Charming was on EOW visits with XI, (She stayed home to work mostly, that and her social life!) but we all knew that Barkley was Charming's dog even though he has always been our family dog! Charming moved out after 2 years and Glory handled the loving and a lot of the maintenance care for Barkley, just not the walks/runs. She moved out in two more years. It is now 2+ years since, and coming up on three. Everything changes with time.
Barkley was in heaven when everyone was here for the holidays! He didn't actually seem to irritate anyone during that time too, imagine that?!
I started thinking about the differences. Charming & Glory (Then) vs Mystery & Jabber (Now), and how Barkley is interacted with by each 'team'. Then Barkley had attention that included speaking to him kindly, petting him, caring for him and interacting with him of their own free will. Now Barkley gets let into the house without a word after Daddy or I holler to the kids that are downstairs on the same level that Barkley is (and that much closer to hear him barking outdoors?) to let him inside the house. Now when one of them speaks to him it is usually in very negative tones and only for the purpose of demanding something, directing something, or because it was absolutely necessary to interact with him for one reason or another.
If you don't need him, then why would you consider him? He's nothing but a pain in the butt that you have to bother yourself to get up and let him in when you could have been relaxing. Bother yourself to reach into the bag of food and get 3 cups of his food out and into his bowl, and then geezo-peezo he needs water too! Ugh! Oh, and the bowl apparently cleans itself because we don't know how to do it. There's a boot tray under the bowls to catch 'debris' and that gets moved when we are compelled to sweep and mop the floor weekly, but cleaning out the tray is something that we need to be directed to do every couple of weeks or so. So, maintenance is mandatory, but only when told to by the adults. Why would you do it otherwise?
Barkley doesn't come to YOU when he wants something because he knows (yes, has evolved and learned) that you will ignore him 98% of the time unless you are told by an adult to do the same thing that Barkley wanted you to do in the first place. Barkley isn't dumb! He'll come upstairs and drop his signals so that we will call to them (downstairs and closer) to do it! Sometimes Mystery forgets and thinks she's an adult. Yes, perfectly normal, but she gets reminded some of the time that she's not. Usually in the form of Daddy shouting HER name for maintenance for at least a week!
"Then" he was loved, got attention including addressed warmly and was physically healthy (plenty of exercise). "Now" he's ignored or groaned at, spoken to harshly and given one or two word directions, and getting very heavy and unhealthy because he gets so little exercise. One thing that I will say that I feel bad about is not walking him, but he wasn't trained well by Charming. Charming trained him to respond to him and Barkley doesn't even begin to go for walks the same with anyone else. He's horrible! Pulls and pulls, darts around and pulls, doesn't come to you when you let him have some slack and you need to call him back. And he's big! I'm sure he's at least my weight, and he has four legs on the ground to stand his ground against me! If he wants to go smell that hydrant then by gosh he's going to! That alone severely limits the efforts to take him for walks and he has to get his exercise running around our back yard.
I will add here that there have been periods when both Mystery and Jabber have allowed him to sleep in their beds with them. Mystery has a queen sized bed and got tired of kicking him off the bed because he'd just sneak back up. Jabber liked having him sleep with him until he found a tic in his bed one day. Please! Don't wash the dog, right?! Just kick him out of bed!
Every now and then Jabber gets ambitious about Barkley. Takes him for a walk while riding his skateboard, plays ball-on-a-rope pulling with him. It might last a couple hours one day it might last for a week that he keeps it up. Barkley is happy for a week.
I feel bad for our dog. If Charming had a place where he could have a dog we would let him have Barkley ONLY because Barkley would be so gosh darn happy and healthy too is my guess! It almost happened about 2 years ago and then fell through. We'd never get rid of him though and that's not what we were trying to do. I just wish that the people in our family would try to be nicer to him and treat him with kindness. Talk to him kindly, pet him, smile at him and let him know that he's loved and appreciated.
And then it hit me. They consider Barkley and I on the same level. Think about it.