When Lucas has done something wrong, well, when Lucas has been caught doing something wrong, he hides under the table. This is his retreat, his go-to place of security, and it is also where he goes when something has happened he doesn’t understand. When Lillith arrived he spent some time under the table trying to sort out what it meant to have a puppy in the house, but he adapted really fast. After a couple of days of unease they started playing together and now they’re inseparable. A better match I could not have hoped for and so far I’ve been very lucky when it comes to new dogs and the old pack.
Now there is trouble.
Lucas can’t sleep on top of me anymore. There just isn’t a position we can find where a dog that weighs over one hundred pounds can sleep on the sofa with me that doesn’t involve some discomfort on my part. I can sit up and he can sleep beside me that way, but as far as Lucas having part of his body on mine squeezed together on the sofa it just doesn’t work anymore. He has sharp elbows. His feet are the size of some of the smaller New England States. He’s a moose. And when Lucas shifts in his sleep some part of that mass shift too, and usually there’s a part of my body that doesn’t like it.
Sunday afternoon he was crowding me off the sofa, after keeping up me half the night with Lillith, so I shooed him off the sofa and that really hurt his feelings. I tried to get him to shift down to the end of the sofa, or in front of me, but no, he has to be between me and the back of the sofa, and partially on me. So off the sofa he went and under the table he goes, to show me that he’s wounded. It got worse because here of recent, Lillith has decided she’s a Daddy’s Girl Dog. She’s beginning want to spend time with me. Lillith has always a little aloof, but I think that has mostly sprung from shyness. Sunday, for the first time ever, she invited herself onto the sofa with me, and she fits very nicely at my side. Lucas came out from under the table to give me the same look a man might give his best friend, upon finding him in bed with his daughter.
Meanwhile Sam, who I cannot drag up onto the sofa, comes up and wants to be a sofa-dog too. If the new puppy gets up on the sofa then Sam wants to get up on the sofa. Yet Sam won’t. He’s put his front paws up but that is far as he will go, ever. So Lucas tries to get on the sofa and tries to lie down on top of Lillith, squashing his competition, literally. Okay, okay, everyone on the floor, no one up on the sofa but me, go lie down.
All of this is well and good, but now Lucas is refusing to play with Lillith. Lillith tries to Bitey face with Lucas but he hides under the table and looks like he’s just found out he’s been fired by the boss’s girlfriend. I put everyone on the outside and get back to watching the game. I fall asleep.
The human mind is an odd thing, a really odd thing, because when I wake up the game is in its final seconds. It registers with me who has won the game and how. The receiver was out of bounds because his hand landed there. But my mind also gives up on time and date. I see that it is six-thirty something and my mind tells me that it is Monday morning, and I am late for work. Panic sets in. I pick my cell phone up to call work and tell them I’ll be late and I realize that there cannot be a game ending and me late for work.
The dogs want in.
I go out instead and order is somewhat restored. The L’s play as if nothing bad has ever happened, but I do realize things are changing. Lillith is heading out of puppyhood and she’s trying to find her way into the pack. Her behavior is nothing short of her learning from Lucas. He has always positioned himself beside me, at every chance, and now she wants to be Lucas, too. Lillith is growing up to be who Lucas and I have trained her to be. Neither of us should be surprised at this. In fact, we both should be overjoyed. There are much worse things to have than two animals like Lucas.
The question is one of practicality versus position. It’s too big of a problem for me to let Lucas on the sofa and Lillith fits nicely, but I have to find a way to have a sofa dog without being crushed or uncomfortable. I can’t let Lucas feel slighted and I can’t let Lillith feel as if she isn’t a full member of the pack. All of this is exactly that; Lillith wants to me to assure her of her place and Lucas wants the same thing.
The question for any pet owner is one of what you are willing to sacrifice in order for your pets to be happy. I could just banish Lucas the Large from the sofa and let him pout while I cuddle with Lillith the Little. I could invoke the old rule which was no dogs on the sofa at all, but that seems unlikely now that both of them have discovered how comfortable it is up there. I think I might have to give up lying down on the sofa and just letting Lucas have one end and Lillith have the other. Oh, but to lie there and watch a football game on a very cold day is heaven.
I’m thinking about getting another dog. That does sound nuts given the current state of chaos, but what’s one more chaos? Sam is slowly entering his dotage and three dogs seem to be the number that works here. I know what happens when I start looking for a dog. It happens every time.