I have a 55-pound, semi-hibernating nemesis


It’s official. I have a nemesis.

Over the years, I have romanticized the notion of having a “nemesis” to call my own. You know, that one individual you are in constant conflict with, and drives you to both achieve new heights, and also be in a constant defensive state of mind because you respect that individual’s abilities, as well.

At one point in my life, I imagined my nemesis to be a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher for the New York Yankees. The one who always came in to the game in the bottom of the ninth inning to face me in my Baltimore Orioles uniform with the game on the line, and the crowd silent in anticipation.

As I got a little older, and realized that my amazing Wiffle ball skills in the backyard did not necessarily translate into Major League success, my imagined search for a nemesis turned toward boys chasing the same girls as me, or reporters chasing the same stories or other people wearing “Ghostbusters” outfits and trying to chase down lost spirits who ...

But I digress.

No, I recently reached a conclusion that I am battling my very-real nemesis in an epic struggle for what’s remaining of my sanity. And my nemesis is named Guinness.

And she is my dog.

Guinness turned 6 years old recently, an age that should translate into her becoming much more relaxed and basically enjoying a very “chill” existence. You know what I mean — the puppy stage of eating shoes and zipping around the house at 248 miles per hour is gone, and the days of sleeping wherever she happens to land and cuddling up against you on a cold winter’s night has arrived.

Let’s just say that part of that is right.

She has certainly slowed down significantly. She is much lazier than Bailey, her older pug sister who seems to still have the energy she had as a puppy, and has become a furry landmine of sorts, as she tends to just plop down for a nap wherever she seems fit and causes me to play steeplechase over her prone body several times a day.

But I’m growing wise to her tricks.

You see, I’ve realized that Guinness does not necessarily sleep 22 hours a day because she is tired or worn down. This is not a case of a dog simply winding down the old biological clock and enjoying the finer things in life via sleep. No, there’s something much more nefarious at work here.

I’ve come to the indisuputable conclusion that Guinness sleeps 22 hours a day to best maximize her two hours of controlling the world.

My breakthrough of insight into the dog’s strategy originally came when I started really considering what happens in my home in the middle of the night. I typically fall asleep with one of Bailey’s little legs digging into my forehead while Guinness presses her body weight tight against my legs. It is indeed as uncomfortable as you might imagine, but it’s become routine now.

When I wake up in the morning, Bailey is usually either pressed against me under the covers or hidden under pillows at the top of the bed, and Guinness is in the exact same position against my legs as she was when I closed my eyes. But other things have changed over the course of the night. The little pee-pee pad laid out on the bathroom floor is usually covered in, well ... it is covered. The bowl with clean water is empty. I can’t prove this yet because I haven’t set up a video camera or documented it beforehand, but I swear my wallet is missing cash every morning when I leave for work.

There is definitely stuff happening.

There are also brief interludes during the day when I witness her stored energy come to light. If I open the back gate to take the trash out, I often find myself reaching at a blur of a dog making her move toward freedom. Drop a piece of a potato chip on the floor? I am forced into an instant decision — honor the sanctity of the 5-second rule and make my move, or respect the fact that I have become somewhat attached to my fingers and allow the fallen chip to just disappear into the mouth of the creature that was snoring like a grizzly bear with sleep apnea only moments before.

As I’ve said, I have become pretty attached to these fingers over the years. The dog wins.

And she is winning more and more of these battles over the years as she lulls me into a false sense of security with her sleeping habits. I’m not caving in to my nemesis yet, mind you, but I’m pretty prepared to say she currently has the upper paw.