Buddy – A Series of Adventures — Ruling the Roost

“ARRRRR—CRASH—-Thump—ARRRRR—Yip Yip!”  I run to the living room.  You spun yourself right off the couch and Angel scolded you to settle down.  You can’t be whacking your leg.  You should know better, dear, than to argue with your sister.  Surely by now you’ve learned your 60 pounds of non-stop athleticism and hunting dog energy is no match for a 15 pound blonde hair ball dust mop.

Especially now.  Angel knows there is something gravely wrong.  She knows you are hurting.  And she is most certainly going to step up her duty of controlling the house to protect you the best she can from more injury.  And Buddy, I’m sorry but even if that means snapping at you when you get a little too wild.  Or a little too anything.  She’s been in charge from beginning, remember?  So just chill, and all will be good.

I’ll never forget our first few weeks together—how about our first few days that hot July of 2004!  Mere days after I brought you home to meet the ‘other’ man in my life, and your two Lhasa Apso sisters who were just over a year old, the family was turned upside down.   The trauma and drama of a not so civilized separation of my betrothed and I, sent you, me, and the girls packing for a week–basically living out of my truck or with friends while waiting for the dust to settle and him to evacuate the house.

That in itself was a seriously insane introduction to the family.  I know you thought it was all your fault, but truly it wasn’t.  The marriage was in trouble before you arrived.  It was something cultivating for a long time, and it just happened to come to a head that week.  When we finally were able to return home, it was much better, much quieter—in your estimation anyway. Clearly, you didn’t mind being the only guy in the house.  But the girls were uneasy, wondering “where’s dad?” and “why is that big dog still here?”

A storm was a-brewin’ and we didn’t see it coming, Buddy.

Remember those next few days?  What fun as you explored your new yard.  You could run circles on grass, we would play Frisbee, and then a new man came over and helped me build your training table.  Those were some good days.  The girls would lounge around on the patio and watch us.  Especially Angel.  In fact, Angel would come over to us from time to time, and check you out up close, sometimes with a subdued little growl under her breath.  When you would bound off to get the Frisbee with all your spunk and excitement, she would jump back and hide behind me, ever so softly commenting to herself.  When the training table was completed Angel and her sister would climb up it and sit on top.  She would stand in your way, daring you to pass her.

Little did I know she was forming some opinions.

You were so sweet and fun to train.  So curious, so willing to please.  Remember how much fun we had on that training table with the pigeon and the feathers?  What a natural ability you displayed!  Until that bird figured out how to get out of that small dog kennel. We worked off and on for hours as the girls watched.  Angel stayed so close.  Sometimes, she would creep up closer and watch your every move, then retreat over to her sister Sunny Girl, and give her a nudge or a push.

Something was clearly going on.

Those early days were a true test to see how we could survive not just outside, but in the house too, especially in determining where everyone would sleep.  You sure weren’t fond of your kennel at first.  The girls had the run of the house and you felt you should too.  But honey, you were such a wild child—you still are—and we just couldn’t have you tearing through our small house with all that adolescent energy. What a perfect opportunity for me to start establishing new ground rules for the whole family: everyone goes to kennel at night. Living room and upstairs is off limits to dogs.

That was not a popular change in the house.

Angel became more protective of her toys.  She would take away Sunny’s toys.  She became easily aggravated with your toys.  She would inhale her food, then push Sunny Girl away from her dish and take hers too, then head to your dish. What a perfect opportunity for me to start establishing new ground rules for the whole family regarding mealtime:  Everyone gets split up to secured areas until they finish their food.

That was not a popular change in the house either.

But we worked through it.  It seemed we were all getting used to each other; the girls were less pouty or missing their dad, and it felt like our world was really turning around for the better, all things considered.   We would enjoy sitting outside first thing in the morning; fetching, playing, lounging, having coffee.

Sunny Girl loved to sit on my lap in the morning on the lawn chair, remember? And you would come bounding up with your tennis ball for me to throw.  Angel would be pacing around, trying to stand in your way.  That one morning, each time I would throw the ball, Angel would take a step or two closer to you, as though she wanted to intercept that ball, holding back a growl.  You would completely ignore her, and run to me and Sunny.  Once you dropped the ball at my feet, causing a stir with the lap situation.

After your abrupt and excited visit I stroked Sunny’s soft blonde hair, assuring her it was all ok.  You stood close by, very innocent and apologetic looking.  You didn’t mean to do anything wrong.  It was all good.  It’s a beautiful day.  The sun is out.  We are enjoying this blessed day.  Life is good…..we’re a happy family and……

ARGHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!GRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!TEETH!!!!!!FUR!!!!! GRRRRRRRRR!!!!! TEEETH!!!WRYTHING!!!!SNAPPING!!!!!!HEAVY!!!!!! PAIN!!!!!!  Instantly—Panic—Pain—OhMyGod—ANGEL!!!!! ARGHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!  GRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!  Jumping up—kicking—jumping—squirming–biting! WHERE ARE YOU BUDDY??

Angel had crawled down under the lawn chair from behind me and jumped up out from under it to my left and in one quantum leap pounced on top of Sunny Girl on my lap, with the intention of killing her!  They instantly become an entangled fur ball mess of teeth as I am trying to pull them apart.

Finally I spot you. There you are, hiding under the training table across the yard, completely terrified.

Angel is jumping twisting and snapping as I jump up and hold a squirming yipping Sunny Girl up as high as I can over my head, they are both all teeth and vicious, and I am in the middle Oh My God, I can’t stop her, I can’t stop them! Oh lord, my arm is burning I’ve got to get Sunny down and somewhere safe—the pigeon cage!!

I make my way to the cage on the picnic table with Angel pulling on me,  jumping, clawing and snapping at her sister with all her worth, and Sunny viciously defending herself the entire time. Both dogs screaming bloody murder in dog language, I throw Sunny into the cage as she fights to get free and lock the door, Angel jumps up to the table baring teeth and clawing on the cage, Sunny doing the same from the inside, and I pull Angel down to the ground yelling “NO! NO!” and push her away from the table repeatedly while the kennel dances across the top of the picnic table from Sunny’s futile slamming about with counterattack moves.

My heart is pounding, my vision blurred, body throbbing, and an eternity of a minute or so passes.  Angels fury finally subsides.  Sunny Girl is growling and gurgling in the pigeon cage, but is slowly calming down.  And you, sweet boy, you are still under your training table across the yard, scared shitless, thinking “I’ve been sent to live in a house of crazy mean bitches!”

Shaking head to toe, I take a big breath.  I look down at Angel.  She has bright red streaks in her long blonde coat.  Oh no….I turn and peer at Sunny through the cage.  Same thing.  Oh no! My arms and hands feel hot.  I glance at my left arm—covered with bright red and oh my god my wrist is slashed open, pumping more of the same!  I quickly lift my hand high over my head, folding it down toward my wrist, holding my thumb down tight to my arm to close the gash, and pace in circles.  My face is pulsing hot.  I don’t feel so good.  The neighbors are not home.   It’s 7:30 in the morning.  Do I call 911?  Who can I call?

Without hesitating I call the girls dad. After all, he is a doctor.  He arrives instantly and with one quick glance takes me to the hospital.  I’ve been pummeled with bites and scratches.  Eight stitches and a cast later, I am home.  I graciously thank my “soon to be X” for coming to the rescue.  He helps me to the back yard.

And there you three are.  You, and your sisters.  Quiet as can be.  He lets Sunny out of the cage.  Angel is spread out on a canvas chair and ignores her.  You, just sit quietly under the swing.  He checks over both girls for wounds that may need attention. They are fine.  I am slowly falling asleep on the swing from the medication I was given.  It all seems so surreal.  I have lucid dreams of demon dogs taking over the house.

From that day on, our world would never be the same.  That day marked the beginning our household having a Ruler of the Roost.  Apparently, renegotiation is not an option, once the winner is declared.  I learned many things after that day.  The dynamics going on between the girls that I just didn’t see.  Things like female dogs get to a certain age and then need to define where they stand in the pecking order.  Two female dogs of that same certain age must determine who is the dominant of the two.  Two Lhasa Apso sisters of the same certain age, especially if still in-tact, should never be in the same household, because their breed are more serious than most about being the dominant dog–and there can be only one.  And finally, things like don’t ever get between two dogs that are having that dominance discussion.

Just our luck I brought you home smack dab in the middle of that time, Buddy!  So sorry!

You tread lightly and with great anticipation the next week after Angel and Sunny Girl went to visit the Vet for an “overnight fix”.  That kept things calm for the next week.  From time to time you “nosed” my cast, and leaned on my side looking up at me, as if to say, “sorry, wish you would have gotten under the training table with me.”

And yes, the household has remained normal the last decade, without any re-occurrence of that fateful day, but indeed, Angel has continued to be the governing force of the family ever since. She is our Ruler of the Roost, and steps up when needed to make sure everyone keeps in line.  She is my back up when my word doesn’t seem to be enough.  She is our weather alert, visitor alert, “something fell or is not right” alert, and “not when mom doesn’t feel good” alert.   And now, as she lays at your feet, clearly she has decided to keep a close eye on you and be your alert during your most difficult time, dear Buddy.  RulerOfTheRoost

Take my advice, Buddy, and listen to the Ruler of the Roost.

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Comments

  1. So many memories you have with these special dogs…your family…I love hearing your stories 🙂

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