Well, that’s the name that the shelter tagged him with when I adopted him, so Melvin it is.

A friend gently suggested to me that I was in serious need of some psychiatric help. And not to wait until next week. Warped, dear friend, is not necessarily a bad thing. If you live alone, warped can be an interesting way of life and nobody’s there to put a damper on you as you exhibit your very own idiosyncrasies. I’m here to say, I’ve still got all my marbles, they’re just a little more scattered than yours.

She thinks I’m deranged because I stop by McDonald’s on the way home from work to get Melvin some chicken nuggets. Well, he expects a treat when “Mama” comes home after leaving him alone all day. I feel guilty for leaving him by himself so long and maybe I do overcompensate just a little bit.

I walk in the door and announce, “Mama’s got you sum-tin.”  Yep, it’s baby talk and he loves it. He understands that and responds by melting all over me and generally having a fit to see what’s in the sack that he knows is just for him.

So, I have a spoiled dog. Sue me, Suzy! 

See, you don’t think nearly as much of me as he does. He hangs on my every word, depends on me completely, loves me unconditionally and lives for my return every time I go out the door. He knows when I’m sick and he knows just when to comfort me and make me feel better. He has a way of nestling his head on my neck and pushing that is definitely a doggy hug.

He doesn’t ask much in return. Just a little food and water and some hands-on attention when there’s a storm brewing. 

The one thing that he is the hind part of a donkey about is my laptop. He hates it when I power up. I’m online a lot because … well, just because. He will cry like a baby and issue forth a weird sound like a moan in a cemetery. He can keep up the pitiful performance until I give up and crook a finger at him. That’s his signal that he can jump up in my lap.

Once he’s in my lap, it’s like a whole personality change. He’s all sweetness and light. Can’t tell me he doesn’t know what he is doing and hasn’t planned the whole scene. Manipulative little fur-face.

My little home is also occupied by two cats. When Melvin came to live with me he immediately laid down some ground rules — his house, his toys, his food and HIS MAMA. 

Alpha male firmly established, he is ruler of the roost.

At first he did not allow them on the bed at night. They are lucky he allowed them in the bedroom. He has softened up somewhat, he will now allow them on the bed IF they stay away from mama.

Melvin, unfortunately, is not a guard dog. There is no stranger. He loves everyone and wants everyone to love him. Maybe we could take lessons from this little fur-face.

“Melvin’s” rules of ownership:

• If I like it, it’s mine. 

• If it’s in my mouth, it’s mine. 

• If I can take it from you, it’s mine. 

• If I want it later, it’s mine. 

• If I want it now, it’s mine. 

• If I chew it up into pieces, they’re all mine. 

• If you want it, it’s mine. 

• If I saw it first, it’s mine.

• If I ever had it, it’s mine. 

• If it’s broken, it’s yours!

DALE LILLY  is Lifestyles editor, aka, Gilded Lilly, and can be contacted at lifestyles@desototimes.com.

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