The two L’s, Lucas and Lillith, have developed a system for chasing that begins just inside the back door. Unfortunately for Sam and myself, this system precludes the safety and welfare of all other living creatures. The L’s both bolt out of the back door at the same time, each pushing the other and flailing around as if being first to the ground, if not landing on all four feet, is something that will be rewarded. I am very certain I have never rewarded Backdoor Bolting unless it involves a security system. I’ve learned to wait but Sam wants to compete. This is an eleven year old dog who’s got spindly Greyhound legs. It isn’t going to end well.
Holding Sam back makes him feel bad and makes him feel old and weak. If I hold onto him and let the L’s run he’ll chase after then and snark at Lillith when he catches her, as if to show me he can still dominate someone. The thing is this; he can’t. The first thing is I don’t let the dogs, any of my dogs, ever, “settle it among themselves”. The Bringer of Dog Food will start any fights than need to be started and he sure as hell is going to end any others that pop up. I don’t mind a snarl or a growl here and there but if there will be blood someone is going to explain to me why this is. Moreover, Lucas has now twice walked between Sam and Lillith when Sam was has tried to start a fight with her. Lucas simply walks between them, pushing Sam back as he does. He doesn’t growl and his hair stays down, but those ears go up and that tail has some spring to it.
I don’t think Sam is going to fight Lucas. I think he knows better. I hope he knows better.
I’ve allowed Lucas to interfere because he’s not being the aggressor. He’s merely giving Sam a larger target. Lillith seems to understand that Sam isn’t a viable toy and she does understand when the two older dogs face one another she shouldn’t be within fang range. Lucas is the one dog I have ever loved that has never started a fight. I once watched him face down both Bert and Sam in battle before I could stop it, and Lucas, who was still quite young, executed a slow fighting retreat that kept either of his brothers from getting close to him. Sam wanted to press the issue that day and got popped on his nose for being snarky after I told him to stop. Lucas got tagged by one of them in that, and his shoulder was bleeding but Lucas seemed to realize his youth and size was something of consequence. Not once in his life, no matter how young or how small, however, has Lucas accepted the idea that any other dog belonged closer to me than he.
I keep Sam in when the two L’s are playing outside because both are prone to high speed collision. Sam doesn’t like this at all, but I’ve tricked him into thinking it’s a plot so that he can get more ear pettings. Sam likes his ears being petted and will lean into it and make happy dog noises.
Sam will watch the L’s from the window and I can tell he misses being able to roughhouse like he once could. Sam and Bert played hard and forever. They grew old together, with each matching the other in loss of agility and intensity. It wasn’t until Lucas arrived until I realized how bad Bert had gotten. I knew it was bad, but he had very little of the wildness he once had. Bert was a furry demon when we played in the yard. He nicked me on the face once, because I head butted him in his face, and it was entirely my fault. I could tell he wasn’t happy I was bleeding and I let him lick the blood away until it stopped bleeding. The next time we started playing he licked me on the wound, as if to tell me he wouldn’t do it again, and he never did.
I can’t have that sort of physical relationship with Lucas. There is far too much dog in there and not enough of me. We play, and we play hard, but I can’t toss him about like I did Bert. Bert knew if I could grab him I could flip him and pin him. I can grab Lucas but it’s like grabbing a mountain. I can’t lift him very easily and when he’s a mind to do it, he just pushes me back with his mass. This isn’t an average sized dog or even a average large dog. Lucas is muscle and he’s a full frontal assault brawler.
The cool part is I recognize some of Bert’s tricks in Lucas. Bert would stop, pretend to be acting his breath or put his ears up as if he heard something, and rush in if I tried to stand up or if I turned my head. Lucas hasn’t got the guile yet, but he knows what he’s trying to do.
Lillith is learning. She and I don’t play together very much because she is still very shy around me. She loves to be petted and she will come if I call her, but she rarely approaches me straight on. She will sit about ten feet from me and wait until I tell her to come closer. I think it’s her way of being polite. Lillith likes being asked. She will stand in front of her food bowl and look at me until I tell her it’s okay. There’s little stopping her once she starts eating, but I have to coax her sometimes.
Lillith and Sam will share sleeping space; body warmth is something they love. She tries to nuzzle Sam but he snarks at her when she does. This is Sam’s second puppy and the first one is still around. I think Sam wonders if there will be more, and I wonder too.