Tyger Linn is more vocal than her sister, Lilith Magnolia, and hardly a sound does her cousin, Greyson Charlotte utter, except in dire need. Marco Ladakh seems to be a little mouthy at predictable times, but his is noise to make a point, not actual words, like Tyger Linn uses.
Tyger Linn has a different bark depending on who she is speaking to and why she is speaking. The Squirrel Bark is easily recognizable for it’s the highest pitched and loudest. Tyger Linn has laid claim to dog head high and below and the Squirrels know it. Never before has it been as dangerous to be below the lowest limbs and Tyger Linn has brought a level of lethality to the woods that the Squirrels have never seen before. Tyger Linn is deadly serious about hunting.
Marco is trying to learn what he can from his little cousin but he lacks the mobility or the ground speed. What he’s really missing is that hair trigger sprit that Tyger has developed that flings her off the ground and into action with flawless execution. A squirrel was just outside the backdoor two days ago and as Tyger rocketed out of the door and down the steps in one bound, the squirrel zigged when it should have zagged. There are no second chances. There is no second place trophy. The other three dogs alerted at the action but no one got near Tyger Linn when she was making the kill. I tried to take a venomous snake from her and she looked at me as if I had just spoken Adele lyrics in Latin while whistling through my nose. My smallest little girl has a feral sense about her betimes. I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to like it the way I do.
Tyger has a bark that alerts me that Greyson Charlotte is, once again, on the bed, where it disconcerts Tyger Linn no end. This is three of four short, sharp, barks, nothing serious, but really, get down from there. Greyson would be allowed to stay on the bed, but she likes to get on the bed and chew things. Shoes mostly.
Back when Bert was alive no human being and no other animal got within sight distance of the house without Bert telling me, and everyone else in the Area Code, about it. The dog had a hammer for a voice and wasn’t afraid to use it. Now, someone can be on the porch before anyone here knows it. I have no idea why this is. But I can tell when Tyger Linn is barking at a person, too. She’s very loud at people and her barks are very fast. She also positions herself as close as she can to one side of the action, flanking. Bert was more of a full throttle head first brawler. Tyger Linn looks for an angle.
My Lilith Magnolia has finally come to believe that Tyger Linn is here to stay. Lilith the Aloof has never bonded with anyone but Lucas, the Beloved, and I don’t think she ever will again. I’m not sure it will ever be the same for either of us. But she has accepted Tyger Linn as a packmate and they do play, some.
So all of this was brought on by Tyger’s observation that my computer bag and gym bag were on the sofa next to me. She sat there, looking at the stuff, and looking at me, and suddenly, here comes Lilith, who would normally get up on the loveseat next to Tyger Linn. Well, instead of curling up and leaving room for her sister, Tyger plops down and stretches out as long as she can, and looks at Lilith as if to say, “I was here first, so there” and Lilith looked a little putout that she had no place to lay.
I moved the stuff on the sofa to one side and invited Lilith up, and she accepted and curled up next to me. That’s the one thing I can say about Lilith; she is the most polite dog I have ever met. She would never get up next to me without me asking her to and she would never do something like block Tyger Linn. And of course, once Tyger Linn realizes that Lilith is going to cozy up to me she stand up, cocks her ears and barks. Once, high pitched, shrill, and in a word says, “Bitch!” but that’s all. Tyger Linn, for all of her hunting skills, isn’t going to go head on with Lilith and we all know this to be true.
It’s been a year now. Last year on this day I went down to Dr. Harrell’s office and picked up a little brindle pit as a foster but I knew the first time I saw her I was going to keep her. It has not be easy. Tyger bit me the first week she was here and she meant it, too. She’s clashed with Lilith but not seriously, but she did clash with Sam when he was alive. She never really took a shot at Lucas, I mean, really, but she never got along well with Tanya Rose.
All in all, Tyger Linn has been a hell of a lot of trouble for such a small little girl dog.
So begins the second year of Tyger Linn Firesmith. There isn’t a way to describe how it feels to have lost so many dogs in one year, Sam to old age, Lucas to sudden illness, and Tanya to her madness. I never envisioned inheriting my sister’s dogs in the manner I did, but that’s what family is for, those unexpected times when you get more dogs. Tyger Linn has survived being bitten by a venomous snake and that’s something only Lucas the Beloved has done out here at Hickory Head.
I want to thank Michelle down at the Lowndes County Shelter for posting that photo a year ago today. It changed my life and it saved Tyger Linn’s.