Mucci knows certain things.
Of course, on any given day, most of these things are likely to be replaced (however briefly) by “BIRD. BIRD BIRD BIRD.” Or “SQUIRREL!” Or, on occasional days when Dave takes him down a certain street in their neighborhood, “POOOOOODLE.”
(Dave doesn’t like when that last one happens. Or at least he didn’t that one time in the dog park. Apparently the Lady With The Hat yelled at Dave. Mucci tries to remember that. It’s easy when the Lady With The Hat walks the puppies and Dave does that particular sigh.)
A thing that Mucci knows: his Dave speaks almost entirely in different varieties of sigh. There are sighs that mean “Mucci, please go out to the back yard.” Or other sighs that mean “Mucci, you did a bad thing.” Or, most of all, the sighs that mean “Mucci, please come snuggle me on the couch.”
Mucci’s very good at snuggling. He’s proud of it. Which meant when Emily started competing with him for Dave-snuggling time, Mucci was not very happy at first. He’d try to nose in between them. Or give signs to Emily that obviously she was doing it Wrong.
But then Mucci realized that Dave seemed to like Emily’s kind of snuggling too, even if she was less furry than Mucci. And then when Emily started snuggling Mucci himself? He admitted total defeat. Or at least a very pleasant truce.
A thing that Mucci knows: now, he likes Emily.
For efficiency’s sake, Mucci tends to divide the people of the world into two categories:
People Who Are Not Dave.
However, it’s come to his attention over the years that Category 2 needs to be subdivided. So there are People Who Are Not Dave, and People Who Are Not Dave Who Have Names.
The first members of PWANDWHN were Aaron and Jack. Aaron came first, and then Jack started coming with him. When Mucci met Jack, Jack was quiet. Jack did not have a doggie. And he did not have a mommy either. Mucci is not a mommy, but he is a doggie. So he decided then and there that if Dave was okay with it, he would be Jack’s doggie sometimes too.
Dave is okay with lots of things. But sometimes what he is okay with is not entirely predictable. So obviously Mucci has to test things first, to see if they are Okay, or Not Okay. Like ‘Spreading The Paper Towel Roll All Over The Kitchen Floor’: Dave was not okay with that. Or digging many holes in the lawn to figure out just where he’d hidden that bone: Not Okay. (Though he liked the man that Dave brought to fix the lawn. The man smelled like bacon.)
At first, Dave was also Not Okay with Jumping Up To Greet Emily When She Came Over. But Emily laughed, and hugged Mucci, and so Dave decided that that was Okay.
Emily is also a Person Who Is Not Dave Who Has A Name. She smelled like cat at first. But she also gave Mucci treats, and let him sleep on her feet sometimes.
Mucci remembers things. He remembers People, and he remembers Times. There was the Time Before Dave. He doesn’t remember it that well; he thinks there may have been a farm. And some People Who Were Not Nice. Then there was what Dave calls the Shelter. That was where he met Dave. He jumped up on Dave that first time too. He got some paw-marks on Dave’s nice suit; Mucci knows now that Paw Marks on Dave’s Suit: Not Okay. But that time, Dave did not care. He just smiled at Mucci (who wasn’t Mucci then), and said “Okay, you win, come home with me.”
Some of the People Who Are Not Dave are good, and some are bad. It is Mucci’s job to protect him from the bad people. And from what Mucci can understand, that is Emily’s job as well. Sometimes Mucci has to bark at Dave to tell him about the bad people. Sometimes Emily barks at Dave too.
Dave goes away for a while sometimes. That’s when The Dog-Sitter comes; Mucci likes him, but he misses Dave. But Dave always comes back. And these days, when he comes back, he smells like Emily. Mucci likes that smell.
Dave gives Mucci treats; Dave gives Emily treats. Today he gave Emily a lot of treats. So obviously Mucci had to examine these treats. These treats were very tasty; but when Emily saw that he had eaten the treats, she started to bark. She smelled like Dave smelled when he was scared.
Mucci has decided that eating Emily’s treats was Not Okay. Especially since it means he had to go to the V-e-t. (Definitely A Person Who Is Not Dave.) And be fed some nasty stuff. But mostly, it was Not Okay because it made Dave and Emily sad.
Mucci does not want Dave and Emily to be sad.
When Mucci came out of the V-e-t, Dave looked at him and sighed. This was a sigh that meant, “Mucci, you have done a bad thing that you should never ever ever do again.” But Emily knelt down and hugged Mucci. She hugged him very very tight.
Mucci usually likes rides in the car. But this one is very very quiet. When they get home, Dave lies down on the couch. Mucci decides that this is one of those times when he should sleep on the floor by the couch, even *though* he also has a nice comfy doggy bed. Sometimes Mucci needs to sleep where Dave sleeps, even if Dave sleeps in ridiculous places.
Then Emily comes into the living room. She pets Dave, in that way that only she can, because she has hands and not paws. Then she pets Mucci too.
Mucci is very glad that Emily is not mad at him. Because Mucci is pretty sure that though he is Dave’s Dog, he is also Emily’s Dog Too. And that he will be Emily’s Dog Too for a long long time.