1. You genuinely want to sleep in your dog’s bed.
when your mom first brought home the new doggy bed she bought, you thought it was a new-age Tempur-Pedic mattress for yourself. You started eyeing it while watching TV and the more tired you got, the closer you inched towards it. 10 minutes later and — you’re not even sure what happened, but there you are, burrowed deep in the new dog bed. When your mom catches you she tells you you’ve ruined everything.
2. You’re not allowed to eat the food in the fridge; it’s for the dog.
You open your mom’s fridge to find an entire fajita station, cooked and prepared. “Mooommmmm….you shouldn’t have…” you say, reaching for the diced chicken. Out of the corner of your eye, you see your mom approaching. But before you can turn around to thank her she’s already diving, head first, for you. It all seems to happen in slow motion, but you can’t stop it. She lands on you, hard, knocks you down and then steps on your toes to make a quick grab for the diced chicken. “That’s for the dog,” she says sternly, turning the tupperware around to reveal the “FOR LUCY ONLY” written on it.
3. She’s never smiled at you the way she smiles at the dog.
There’s your mom on the day of your graduation, the time you called to tell her you got your first book deal…and there’s your mom with the dog. It’s strange; the smile on her face when she sees the dog is nothing you’ve ever seen in your life. “Mom? The corners of your lips are reaching…upward…Are you okay?” you ask her. “Oh yes of course honey,” she says, “this is just my real smile — I don’t think you’ve ever seen it.”
4. She doesn’t leave your dog passive-aggressive voicemails.
One time while the vacuum was distracting the SHIT out of your dog, you snooped through her phone. And aside for the curious dick pics — “Buster? Buster from 3b??? Is that you?” — you also noticed a blatant dearth of passive aggressive voicemails from your mom. Something which you can find in surplus on your own phone.
5. The dog is your Christmas card this year.
Every year you and your family send out a holiday Christmas card in which you and your siblings are featured prominently. This year, on the day of the planned photo shoot, you came home to find your dog sitting for a portrait because that’s what she chose for the Christmas card this year: a painted portrait of your dog.
6. A picture of your dog is conspicuously perched on her bedside table.
You look for the obligatory mother-(real human)daughter photo and — but wait, there isn’t one.
7. The lock screen on her phone is your dog.
When her friends catch a glimpse of it they’re all, “Awwwwww how cute! Oh and that reminds me, how’s Rachel doing?” “Who??” your mom asks, truly perplexed as to who they could be talking about.
8. When she’s on business trips, she face times the dog more than you.
Oh, she’ll call you, but that’s only because, out of you and the dog, you’re the only one with opposable thumbs. As soon as you’re connected though it’s “Let me see Lucy! Turn the screen to Lucy! Put it on speaker! Lucy? Baby? Can you hear me? Oh is her tail wagging? I bet her tail is wagging…” She does this for 3 hours straight.
9. The dog gets shotgun.
According to your mom, the dog is “more comfortable” sitting in shotgun. Right; as if the dog told her that. Then you remember the dog whisperer came over last night, which means this might actually be possible.
10. The dog can lick; you can’t.
When the dog greets your mom it’s pure licks, and your mom loves it. No — she revels in it. She resigns herself to the floor and lets the dog lick the makeup right off of her. But god forbid you do this and she threatens to send you to correction school.
11. No one in the neighborhood knows who you are; everyone knows your dog.
The times you have to go back home to walk the dog you’re always surprised by how popular she is. Well, that, or your mom just NEVER talks about you. You can’t walk a goddamn block with the dog without being stopped by droves of people — “Oh look! It’s Lucy,” as if they’ve never seen a dog before in their life. Heaven forbid I try and offer up some human-to-human interaction with a little “oh I’m the owner too…I’m the daughter of the owner actually…” and you’re received with a dirty, why-are-you-talking-to-me look.
12. When the dog went missing, she became suicidal.
One time the dog went “missing” — as in, she snuck over to the neighbor’s apartment. When you went home to help your mom look for her, you found your mom weeping into her pillow saying “I have nothing to live for” over and over again. “Ummmmm me?” you were going to offer, but then you thought better of it.