(Today’s Chronicle story is provided by a guest writer.)

They’re here! They’re here! I hear them on the other side of this door. Mom! Come open this door! I’ll keep shouting until you open up. You never come to the door fast enough. I like it when they come. Mom always shouts back for me to be quiet, but I won’t. It’s my job to monitor this door and announce arrivals, and I love it when we have company.

There are four of them that come together, but I particularly like the two Short Ones. Their hands are really close to the ground, like me, and I always smell lots of different stuff on those little fingers, like peanut butter and apples and cracker crumbs,, and sometimes I get in a quick lick and wash off a few bits before they laugh and back away. Sometimes they squeal and say NO!, but I don’t think they mean it, because I can usually get close and take another swipe. The key is to be patient.

MBhighchairAh, excellent. They’re going straight to the table. The strategy here is clear: Wait till they all sit down, and they never notice if I just creep underneath there, hang out quietly between all those shoes, and wait. Everyone drops stuff, but the two Short Ones are the best droppers who ever eat at our house. Everything they eat lands on the floor, and big pieces, too. And look! It’s those sliced things in boxes. I LOVE the crust on those things, but there’s other good stuff on them, too. Cheese, sausage…I’m drooling a little bit under here, waiting for it. Hope no one notices.

AND now’s my chance. The Shortest One is dangling her slice right down at my eye level. She’s talking to her mother, but I read this as her signal she wants me to have some. We share stuff a lot. (Sometimes it’s my idea, sometimes it’s hers.) Just a quiet step forward and THERE. Got my teeth in it, and it’s CHEESE! My favorite!

Now, just to back away carefully, very carefully. Oddly, the Shortest One won’t let go. Now everyone is shouting, I’m not sure what the ruckus is about, she invited me to take it, so I’ll just stay focused and keep my teeth where they are. Now the Shortest One is swatting at my nose, but not hard, it’s more like a pat, really, and people keep shouting, but some of that soft cheese is sliding into my mouth…OW! Mom’s got her hands around my jaw, prying it open. She’s telling me to Drop It! But Drop It never applied to cheese, is how I see it. I’m holding on…holding on…OW. Couldn’t hold my jaw shut; it was bite her or drop the pizza, and I can’t bite my Mom.

The Shortest One is crying now, and Mom said mean things and shooed me away from the table. Is this fair? The Shortest One didn’t want the pizza after I turned it loose, but they won’t give it to me, either. All that nice smelly cheese. Sigh. I don’t understand; she held it down there like she was serving me my piece. It all seemed so clear.

These Short Ones are harder to figure out; just when you think we’re friends, they scream and snatch stuff away. They pull on your ears, and step on your feet, and laugh at the look on my face. It’s exhausting, and humiliating. I need a nap.MBnap

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