Our dog Ladybug is the worst-case scenario of what can happen when one skates through life on pretty privilege.
She is a hateful little thing. She’s yappy, snappy, selfish and rude.
She’s affectionate only to three humans, which is a sad state for my son, the fourth human living in our home. She considers him a mortal enemy. For two years, he has tried to get on her good side, but she berates him with ferocious barks and snarls each and every time she lays eyes on him, following him through the house to nip at his ankles until he is out of her sight.
Still, she probably hates him least of those on the list of everyone she hates. The list of those who do not please her is extensive — an endless list of the names of every human she has met, as well as all those poor souls she has yet to meet. The list of those she adores is short, comprising only me, my husband and our daughter.
Our kids’ friends, who visit our home in a near constant stream, are quite familiar with the hazard of entering Ladybug’s territory. They know that with proper forewarning, we will capture her to allow them a peaceful stroll through the house.
They all know where to find squirt bottles of water to arm themselves and hold her at bay. But rather than opting for protection, they usually grab a handful of treats to try, once again, to make peace. Most of our brave visitors have openly confessed that they hope to win her affection. They have patiently tested the jaws of petty aggression in attempts to tame the beast.
Ladybug gets by largely on her looks. She is a beautiful dog with a lithe, athletic body, a silky-sleek black coat, and the handsome markings of a miniature pinscher (though she is a mutt). Despite her horrible disposition, people want to be her friend. She exploits her pretty privilege for undeserved treats, compliments and admiration. Non-dog lovers admit they “like her because they like the way she looks.”
She is the canine version of the mean girl antagonists often seen in teenage dark comedies. When we temporarily housed a big, goofy, overly-friendly dog, Ladybug quickly charmed and assimilated him into her “mean dog” pack. From her, he learned to bark obnoxiously at guests, including his very own owner who had raised him from a puppy.
Ladybug does not possess the brain power or self-awareness to evaluate her privilege, and she’s quite lucky to be a dog, rather than a human. She’s fortunate that she will never have to go out into the world to forge a life of her own. She is smart, but her best skill is to spin on command, pirouetting until someone throws her a treat. This would not qualify her as a ballerina, as dance companies don’t throw bones at the dancers.
Ladybug will probably skate through life on privilege. Despite her bad attitude and obnoxious personality, she is loved by three humans, all with longer life expectancies than hers, and with the opposable thumbs needed to feed her and open the door for her.