Lists · Ms. Jordan Underfoot · The Reverend John Henry

On Choosing Your Favorite Child

Having two dogs is like having two kids in a surprising number of ways. Near the top is the sudden moral requirement to choose your favorite: all families need a pecking order.

 Now we have the lady Jordan alongside The Reverand John Henry, we need to establish their order in our affections. So, let’s break it down into the relevant areas:

Friendliness

For us, the parents, John Henry and Jordan have their own ways of expressing their affection. JH likes to give us kisses when we come into the apartment and then to lie nearby, close but not too close. Jordan likes to run around a bit, wait for us to sit down, and then launch herself headfirst onto our laps. For strangers, Jordan is less keen. She will either try to nip their noses off, in the manner of her Chihuahua heritage, or simply slink away and hide under a chair. John Henry is far friendlier: he will leap around excitedly, trying to sink his claws into the nearest cheek, so he can pull visitors close enough to kiss them.

Meal times

Jordan eats first; John Henry eats longest. If Jordan stops to take a breath, JH presumes she’s done and steps in to finish off what’s left. For snacks, he knows he’ supposed to sit…Jordan takes her time in putting ass to floor.

Walkies

John Henry likes to walk; Jordan does her best to keep up, despite her dodgy old knees. Jordan will “go potty” as soon as she goes outside. John Henry has his preferred spots – and he won’t do anything worthwhile until he gets there. And he won’t bother going at all if it’s rainy, has rained in the last 24 hours, or will rain in the next week. And, in these days of personal responsibility, the issue of poop mass and density is vital. In this area, JH wins every time, making cleaning up after him quick, easy, and less generally shameful.

Leadership

So, it turns out that Jordan is a leader and John Henry is a follower. This is clearest when any kind of animal – including animated, puppet, or costumed form – appears on the TV screen. Jordan reacts first: she stands up, stiff and ready, and barks. JH leaps from his spot, dives toward the TV and shouts and yaps and yelps. More often than not, Jordan has lost interest and moved back to insisting her head is stroked and patted, leaving the boy to spin around, confused, not sure why he’s suddenly so excited. In the philosophical question as to “who is the fool – the fool or the one who follows the fool?”, we have come up with a definitive answer.

It’s early days in this relationship with Jordan Underfoot. So, we’re deferring a decision on whether she’s more worthy of our love than our furry baby boy. We’ll have to come up with a firm answer by the time of their next scheduled assessment. But, clearly, they both have room for improvement.

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