The first time I actually noticed my being duped by another animal was near Victoria. Jon and I had come into town to watch the Branagh Hamlet; we had also heard that California sea lions were hanging around one of the local parks so that too was a must-see. There was quite a gaggle of onlookers and I was absorbed by these giant creatures who dwarfed the fool in a wetsuit swimming far too close to them. I felt a rubbery thud against my heel, lowered my binoculars and turned around. There was a dog, who was panting and telegraphing his desire to have me throw the toy he'd heaved at my foot. Naturally I obliged and went back to the sea lions. A minute later, a second thud. I threw again, this time a bit farther away. Then a third round. My arm was tiring. When he interrupted my field biology reverie the fourth time, I heaved the kong as far as I could, saying "Now that's the LAST time!" and muttering under my breath, "I wonder who that silly dog belongs to." A woman stepped forward from the throng and confessed, "He's mine but he often pretends he doesn't know me when we're out. (deep breath and a sigh) He likes to pick up women."
Even my beloved Jewell played me. Although they are positively loaded with virtues, Skyes are not noted for their obedience. Jon's crazy dream was to have a dog who would play fetch with him. After much coaching and even demonstration (far too embarrassing to explain), she deigned to fetch the ball one sunny Saturday. Having demonstrated that she understood the concept, Jewell never fetched another one. And until the finality of her decision sunk in, someone - not Jon, The Throwing Arm - had to go repeatedly and retrieve the rotten ball.
Robertson Davie's novel, Fifth Business, takes its title from theatre. The term distinguishes the stars of the cast from the supporting character ("fifth business"), whose functions are to observe and advance the action indirectly.
It's important to understand one's relative position whether on stage or in the cosmology. Mine is not at the centre.