Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mutts and Moonlight

Moonlight affected Bert like no other dog. After he was gone Sam and Lucas kinda settled into a routine where unless there was a seriously bright moon they weren’t going to get too terribly jacked up about the whole thing. It’s the brightness where there ought to be dark thing that really gets to them or at least that’s my theory. Because they can see when they usually cannot see they think they do see. Even when there isn’t anything at all there they’ll go to the window, look out, and wow, I can see!

Bert couldn’t see worth a damn on his best days. Most dogs, unless you own a sight hound, are not long range visual creatures. Oh, but I do so happen to own a Sight Hound and that would be Sam. Greys hunt by vision so along with Bert’s sense of smell and hearing, Sam packed a good set of eyes. Between the two they were deadly to small mammals. If you’ve never witnessed two predators hunting as a team you cannot truly appreciate the power dogs have. It’s an awesome thing, really, and as someone who wants to live with large dogs for the rest of his life I realize with that power comes responsibility. Yet once Lucas arrived the older dogs were getting into their dotage and Lucas never really learned to hunt with a sense of proficiency. It’s just as well considering his size because he could bring back elephants.

I suspect Lillith was left by herself for hours on end and she never really learned to socialize until she arrived here. At first I thought she was just a little shy but as it turns out Lillith’s comfort zone looks a lot like mine in that she would rather be by herself. I’ve gotten her trained to stay in the same room with the other two dogs and myself and she seems to really enjoy our company. Lillith loves Lucas. They are constant companions and although she’s given away twice again her weight Lucas allows her to wear him out. She gives Sam kisses even when he snarls at her and I think this is her way of letting him know she cares about him even though the one and only time they tied up fighting she nearly cut his throat. My sweet little baby girl can and will defend herself with extreme prejudice and Sam is elderly. He hasn’t attacked her again. The chick in the pack is strapping and packing and it’s a good idea to remember that she is only small in relative way.

But the moon, remember we were talking about the moon? We were actually talking about the full moon and Lillith has discovered, much to her delight and to my dismay, that she likes moonlight. Last night I work up to discover her standing on her back legs with her nose against the screen, looking out over the silvered landscape. Bert did this, many years ago, and I remember the silhouette of his peaked ears against the backdrop of the night. As he aged Bert liked going out late at night less and less, as this also happens to most of us. Lillith reminded me of another dog as she stood looking out into the night and I felt an urge, a compulsion, to release her into her chosen element.

Lucas went with her but I knew he would be back soon, and he was. I left the back door open to the night, knowing it will teach her not to stay in all night, knowing that this is a bad habit and I need to break it, but I also know this is a part of who Lillith is; she likes this. And she likes it a lot. Lucas comes in and puts one of his massive paws on the edge of the bed and then, finding no resistance, puts both his front paws on the bed. He leans over and snuffles me. It’s far too warm to have him on the bed but this is something Lucas likes. I move over and a hundred pounds of dog takes over half the bed. Bert-like, he has to turn around three times before dropping like a rock.

Lillith is my smallest dog but she’s still pushing over fifty pounds. That size of mammal in the dark is fairly safe. I am not worried about coyotes or owls getting her and I’m decently sure there isn’t a feline out there willing to cross over the fence to tangle with the Pibbilated Princess of mine. Before a predator of any size moved in or around my territory it would have to make certain, really certain, Lucas wasn’t close by. Lucas is much bigger than any coyote I have ever seen and size matters in canine fights. No, Lillith is safe in the woods and she has back-up not too far away. I drift in and out of sleep but I know she isn’t back yet because I can’t hear her breathing.

All three dogs have very distinctive breath patterns. Sam is old and he snores mostly. Lucas is large and breathes like a sleeping dragon. Lillith is a light sleeper and when she has dreams she has a little yelp. Lucas, in those odd times he is actually a floor dog, snores loudly but has learned I’ll elbow him for snoring on the bed.

Sleep has over taken me when Lillith returns, wet from rain or dew, but very excited about something. She kisses and wiggles her way closer to me and Lucas tries to push her away with his nose but he isn’t serious. They trade nose rubs, greet one another with affection, and Lucas goes back to sleep as Lillith squirms around a bit. It took her a couple of months to be this aggressive about asking for attention or getting on the bed and it’s still fairly rare. I’ll have to wash the sheets, again, tomorrow, but tonight there is a little girl dog who wants to get up close with her dog dad.

In a few seconds my wandering daughter is in a deep sleep. Lucas has returned to slumber also, and now I can hear Sam over on his blanket, snoring softly. From the open window moonlight floods into the room and I fight off the urge to go to the window and look out, just in case there is something, or someone, to see.

Take Care,



  1. It was a beautiful moonlit night here in north Alabama last night too. My latest addition to the dog family, a girly girl chipin, has settled in well too. But I swear, she sometimes aggravates Rambo to distraction.

    Ah, the girl dogs -- I'm finding they are indeed different than the guy dogs!


    1. It is a totally different form of energy, Girl Dog power, is.

      But I must say I really like it.