Since I have been writing more lately that means there has been less mutt petting, which means there have been various forms of protest, pack hierarchy discussion, and cold nose interruptions. This usually means I stop what I am doing, put down the insurrections, pet the mutt’s ears, or just toss them all out of the house. A Coalition of the Wagging has developed between Sam and Lucas, where they both arrive at the same time and demand that I either stop what I am doing, or put up with wearing the better part of two hundred pounds of canine, one of which is growling at the other.
Bert isn’t interested. He’s seen what bringing power to the throne will do for the dogs who dare, and he just soon not relive that part of his past. At an early age Bert was certain he was going to overthrow the monkey slave and reign over the household, but he discovered that monkeys have opposable thumbs which open cans of dog food, and can body slam dogs who really want to find out who is running the show. Bert and I used to play hard, and I mean really hard. I went to work once with a gash on my face from where Bert pawed the hell out of me, and honestly, it was one of my fondest mutt memories. Roughhousing with Bert was great exercise and it taught me a lot about how canines think when they play, and when they are not playing. There are some very good reasons we did not leave the trees until we tamed fire, discovered projectile weapons and invented can openers.
But Bert has retired from that sort of thing, and now when he wants to be petted he comes and tells me he wants to be petted, and I stop whatever I am doing and we sit for a while and commune. Bert is low maintenance. Once or twice a week of one on one time is all he asks, and I make sure I stop and seek him out, to spend some time with him unasked, and undivided. Bert has better judgment than the other two dogs, and he knows it. When Bert barks at something, I reach for a gun. When Bert barks, when he really lays it down, whatever is happening is serious, and I would rather put my faith in Bert’s bark than any security alarm on the market.
Sam and Lucas? Eh, not so much.
Sam is needy. One day I plan to watch all three of the director cuts versions of Lord Of The Rings Trilogy and pet Sam. I suspect he will nudge me with his nose when the credits roll after The Return Of The King. Sam craves pettings like tweens crave homosexual vampires. Sam craves pettings like BP craves lies. Sam craves pettings like Face Book craves to release your most personal information to the highest bidder, or a third rate hacker. Sam has found an ally in Lucas. The theory is this; if they both show up at the same time wanting the same thing then by virtue of Doggie Democracy, and the fact I have two hands, then two dogs ought to be petted.
Ever notice in dogs or people, those who benefit most from a certain form of government are those who advocate it most strenuously and those who would suffer from its effects are those most philosophically opposed to its sanction?
Compressed air, sold by the cans, is my brown shirted shock troops.
Bert won’t flee from me. Ever may come, he’ll stay. Once Sam knocked over a chair and it make one hell of a noise, and Sam ran like hell, and hid. Bert came straight to me, as if no matter what happened, he would rather face it with me than without me. If I scold Bert, and he will sit there and take it. Sam will cower down, and Lucas runs under the table. He hides there when I’m mad at him. Bert is the only one who comes out to face what might happen, because he is the only one who truly trusts me. Sam is damaged. He never will be whole. Lucas is getting there, but this isn’t an overnight process. Being abandoned, being turned out, being left to die on the road, being labeled ”stray”, isn’t overcome with a kind word and some food.
The next time you raise your voice or hand to a dog, or a child, or another person, you think about this. I can not fix what you screw up.
Both Sam and Lucas fear the can of compressed air. All I have to do is press a button and both will flee my office. The first time I used it Bert came to investigate the new form of punishment, ignored it because he got petted, and the other two assumed it to be Demonic. Just reaching for the can will clear a room of excess mutts.
I’m on the 1-800 line with the people who sold me the lawnmower, last week, and suddenly it hits me. I hang up, pick up the can of compressed air and head towards the shed. It might be wasted time, I have no idea, but I do have an idea, and Bert pads beside me, just a little distant that usual because the can. All of the dogs know what a gun is, and what it can do, and what it sounds like, and only Sam is truly gun shy. Bert doesn’t like the noise but the gun only comes out when it has to come out, and Lucas sees Bert being brave so he’ll stay close.
I blow the carburetor out with the can of air, and the mower cranks on the first pull, and I’m suddenly back in the lawn less- than- indifference business. Bert likes this, Sam is terrified by the sound of the mower, and the puppy Lucas, torments Sam because he can and get away with it right now.