By Clayton Dean
My name is Hershey Dean, and I have a problem: My parents recently got a new dog—a bigger, crazier, louder dog who is never quiet, never rests and, worst of all, never lets me rest. Truth be told he’s really more of a cross between a cactus and an over-caffeinated child always bouncing around the house. They decided to name him Trouble, and boy were they spot on. No really. I’ll say that again: His name is Trouble. Over the coming months my dad will continue to recap his adventures in this column, but for now, this is my version of the Trouble with Trouble.
My life used to be great. My owners, Clayton and Karin, had three sweet kids, and they had me, Hershey. I’m a Labrador retriever and shepherd mix. They would tell everyone about my super sweet disposition, even if I did tend to sleep a lot. I had loads of my own toys, some of which I never even used; I had several extra-fluffy beds and the run of a sprawling house. The kids adored me. They’d spend hours dressing me in Redskins jerseys or glamorous dresses, doing my hair or otherwise scratching my belly and feeding me treats.
I tolerated the dressing up and having embarrassing pictures posted to Facebook. If those were the worst things I was ever going to have to put up with, well, it was worth it because my every other need was catered to—food, attention, walks. I even trained these people to clean up after me in the park. Life was good—no, great. But I was wrong. There was a worse thing to come. One day I came home to find a new dog “dog-spreading” across my bed. He was a giant. He smelled. He drooled. A lot. He was a boy. The worst part? He’d never leave me alone. I’d lie down to sleep, and he’d decide he wanted the bed. He’d come over and bark. Not just a gentle woof either, but a shrill, high-pitched whine like when Clayton watches the Nationals in the playoffs. It got to be so bad I’d sleep in his crate just to get some peace and quiet. Clearly the situation was becoming intolerable.
Channeling my inner Frank Underwood, I realized, with the right mindset, that having Trouble in the house could be viewed as a good thing. “What? The trash was eaten? It couldn’t have been sweet little Hershey. It MUST have been Trouble.” Or when a sock gets nice and chewed and accidentally left in Trouble’s bed, he gets the blame. Over time, like the McCoys and Hatfields, we’ve gradually come to a détente. Sure—when he wants my toy, I give it to him. But when I sleep on the sofa at night, he shoulders the blame. So yes, my brother Trouble is a real pain, but I’ve slowly come to love him. A little.
Catch up with the first six parts of this series.