Did I create the monster?

I have a mantra that I tell Willow The Best Dog There Is™ almost every day.

You’re the puppiest pup of all the pups who ever pupped.

You’re the doggiest dog of all the dogs who ever dogged.

You’re the willowiest Willow of all the Willows who ever willed.

You’re the BEST — DOG — THERE — IS. Yes, you are.

And Willow is the sweetest, gentlest, most regal and dignified dog you’d like to know.

Her little sister, Dejah Thoris Princess of Mars, is something else. I’m more likely to ask, suspiciously, “What are you doing, Dejah?” or “Put it down, Dejah,” or, the old standby, “Dejah, NO!”

She is a mischievous devil who sticks her nose everywhere and often can be seen prancing triumphantly around the house with a sock she has retrieved from the laundry basket, a piece of paper I left too close to the floor, or today’s newspaper carelessly placed on the couch instead of the recycling bin. A month after we brought her home as a puppy seven years ago, she underwent emergency surgery after eating too many pebbles, bits of mulch, twigs, dead leaves and other miscellany, and she continues her nosy ways to this day.

Would Dejah change her ways if I showered her with a mantra more like Willow’s? Or is Willow just a regal animal and Dejah a devil, to begin with?

I suppose there’s only one way to find out …

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