Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Little Girl Dog

Lilith is showing every sign on earth of being my dog. That may sound a bit odd but not every dog a person lives with is their dog. Some people never make a canine part of the family and just keep them as lawn ornaments. Some people keep dogs for reasons I cannot explain. Not taking a dog in as part of the pack is just plain wrong and it’s like keeping some rare and irreproducible form of art on a chain in the yard or out away from the house in a pen. I cannot be around a chained dog.  I just can’t.

But some dogs cleave to a person tighter than others do. Sam and I have never had that bond and he’s been with me for a dozen years, nearly. Lucas and I picked up on it after ten minutes. Bert and I grew into it and our relationship changed for the better after the divorce but Bert was always my dog. I think he knew what was going on before I did. And it does happen that way; sometimes you choose a dog, sometimes a dog chooses you, and sometimes you choose each other.

Lillith likes fire. I’ve never seen a dog with an attraction for flame before but the process seems to mesmerize Lillith as much as it does me. Even when it’s warm out she likes to sit beside the fire and watch. Moreover, she likes to play in the ashes. I’m going to have to put some tin up around the firepit to keep Lillith out of the embers. This is a strange little dog I have here. 

I’m not sure where Lillith lived before the rescue people got her but I am sure anyone who cares anything about a dog would have never willingly surrendered this little girl. I keep calling her little but the truth is Lillith is beginning to pick up some mass. She is nearly as tall as Sam and Lillith is bulking out more than Sam ever did. Still, Lillith is quite lithe and light. She’s more agile than Lucas and she can take him down at a dead run. Some of this, I suspect, is Lucas playing along with the game, but Lillith is a fierce hunter of the Wild Loki Mutt.

There’s never been a dog I knew who was as aloof as Lillith. Maybe that isn’t the right word. She will lie down on a blanket somewhere and that is where she will stay. The other two dogs and I will be in a different room or go from one room to another and Lillith stays put. I didn’t think too much about this, me being a Hermit and all, but then I thought “What if she doesn’t feel welcome here?” So I started calling into the room with us whenever she was away for too long. It took Lillith a while to start asking to be petted and when she did it seemed to make her nervous. She would approach me with great caution and tap me with a paw then back away and wag her body at me. An invitation caused her great joy and excitement. I started seeking her out and lying on the floor with her to get her used to the idea she was supposed to be affectionate with me. Lillith has come a long way and now she’ll even put both paws on me when I’m writing to get petted on a dog’s head. But she is so very polite about it.

Sam has never really liked any other dog except Bert. I think Sam tolerates Lucas because Lucas could dismantle him but won’t. Sam certainly isn’t as enamored with Lillith as Lucas is. Lucas is totally in love with the little girl dog I brought home. The two of them would make a great breeding pair if they were not both fixed. Watching those two at play is one of the things that makes life where I live what it is. Space for dogs to play is heaven on earth. Twice Sam has snarled at Lillith and taken up aggressive posture and twice Lucas has stepped between them, not pushing, not growling, not really asserting himself in any way except for that of proximity and mass. Oh hai I am the Loki Mutt and you are growling at my girl so I will stand this close to you until you realize how close to my mouth your mouth is and maybe those growls won’t come out of your mouth anymore. It’s the equivalent to a gorilla walking up with a bat in each hand during a domestic dispute.  If you really, really, really, want to amp up the volume then that’s just fine I’ll just stand here with enough force to kill you outright. Sam, twice now, has slowly backed away from the Moose Mutt.

Other than playing hard with Lucas, Lillith hasn’t shown to possess an ounce of aggression. She licks Sam on his face when he growls at her and she shows her belly to everyone who meets her. Lillith is a sweet tempered little girl. She wants to be rubbed on her ears and be held. This is a dog that will take a position at my side on the bed and lay longside next to me with her head on my shoulder.

So when someone sent me an email saying, “You’re going to have trouble with that dog later on” because Lillith is a Pit, it pissed me off. Lillith will give me as much trouble as my training of her allows me to have. I am the person responsible for her behavior. I am the person responsible for her attitude when something happens. I have been training dogs for a while now. I think I know what I am doing and I damn well do not need some apartment dwelling petless internet news addict to tell me the disposition of an animal living next to me. 

Take Care,


  1. I agree with your last paragraph 100%!

    I think Lillith is *exactly* where she has always been destined to be :)

  2. Our stupid government here (UK) made laws based on the prejudice expressed in your last paragraph! Pitbulls and pitbull types are illegal here! When will people learn it is the person that creates dangerous dogs and not the breed?
    Nice writing as usual, Mike. :-)

    1. There is no informed person on this earth who believes these dogs to be dangerous. I cannot believe the amount of haltered out there.

      And thank you!

  3. That shot of Lillith and Lucas laying together is worth a million bucks Mike :) She is where she is supposed to be and you are a loving dad. I truly believe in the thought that sometimes we choose the dog and sometimes they choose us.
    Your three are lucky and blessed to have such a caring home, and you in return receive the kind of unconditional love that only a pet can give. And we, your friends, your readers...well, we get a glimpse of beautiful, heart-felt writing that touches our soul. It's a win, win, win :)

    1. When Sam goes, and it won't be very long, I will start the search again.

      I keep wondering who I will find, or who will find me.

  4. Whoever does will be very lucky :)