One recent Saturday morning when I was out of town our lawn service came by. My husband let Pepper out while one of the men trimmed things up with a weed eater. She went berserk, my husband reported, attacking the weed eater with fearsome barks and low lunges. The yard man had to turn it off. With great difficulty, my husband lured her back into the house, where she barked and stared menacingly from the front door.
When I returned home, after a joyous reunion, it was time for a serious conversation.
“Peppy,” I began, after she had settled into her favorite chair and I was petting her, “I heard that you were a very fierce dog with the weed eater on Saturday.”
“Yes,” she admitted, pleased. “I was a very fierce dog. The weed eater is just like the vacuum cleaner, except outside. It is an enemy. I tried to scare it off and was quite successful until I was tricked into coming inside” (this final bit said regretfully).
“Dearest Pep,” I replied. “I appreciate your valiant attempts to defend our home. But you need to leave the weed eater alone.”
“What?” she cried. “Why?” She leapt out of the chair, agitated, and grabbed her favorite fish toy, which she shook in her mouth like prey.
“People say you need to choose your friends wisely,” I observed. “But you must also choose your adversaries with care. You understand the vacuum, having observed it since you were a tiny puppy. But you’ve only seen the weed eater once. Consider this: it might not actually be an enemy.”
“It’s true that I understand the vacuum,” she conceded. “More than the weed eater” (quietly).
“Fight the good fight against the vacuum for now,” I encouraged.
“Maybe I will focus on the vacuum for now,” she agreed, possibly because I was giving her belly scratches.
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Image of weedeater from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image of vacuum from http://www.123rf.com/