Now we have one of each again in the Condo Commune: small, large, brown, black and yellow. I’m talking about dogs, of course, not people. And our condo isn’t really a commune — it’s just that my husband and I own one unit; my sister owns another; and my mother owns the unit across the hall. (The fourth is owned by someone totally unrelated, but we try to make her feel at home, since she’s been here longer than any of us.)
We lost our smallest white dog, Abby, to old age. She was Mom’s faithful companion. Abby slept on or under Mom’s bed, depending on the time of the year and whether she was due for a bath. It’s been an adjustment for Mom. She misses her little lapdog, even though Abby was too old to hop up on Mom’s lap. Besides, Mom always has a book on her lap.
Our smaller dog is now Charlie, our puggle. He’s our empty-nest dog. When our son and daughter-in-law and their dog returned to Alaska after their visit a few years ago, our condo unit felt empty, and HighGuy and I both felt the loss. So we adopted Charlie — already potty trained, and already done with the chewing phase. A good choice.
Charlie made friends with Abby easily enough. They basically ignored one another or tolerated one another with equanimity. Now and then, Abby would inspect Charlie’s ears, and Charlie would sniff her hind quarters. But making friends with Tucker was a different situation.
Both dogs are males, and both of them were territorial. Charlie knew where his home was and he wasn’t about to give up too easily. They snarled at one another, circling with their hackles up. But before we knew it, they were great friends and gamboling in the back yard with one another.
Tucker, being a black Lab, had the upper hand, so to speak, and now and then would run roughshod over Charlie. Charlie, being the resourceful older dog, had a solution: he nipped Tucker in the underbelly, maybe even on a tender part, and Tucker got the message loud and clear.
I have a mental image of the two dogs, resting at the top of the steps next to one another, their tongues hanging out because they’ve been running up and down the stairs — and Tucker’s paw is draped around Charlie’s back as if to say, “We’re best friends.” I wish I would have had a camera. It was a classic pose.
And now we’ve added another dog. Jake is my sister’s boyfriend’s dog. He’s a yellow Lab — the dog, not the boyfriend. My sister, LisaLouWho, is seeing Keef, so nicknamed by her granddaughter, Gracie. Keef can’t leave Jake at home in the kennel all the time, so he comes to LisaLouWho’s — to spend time in the kennel.
Jake and Tucker have not had a great time of it. They’ve snarled and growled at one another, and even had an all-out fight. So Keef and LisaLou have to keep the two dogs separate for the time being. Jake comes in with his kennel and goes into one bedroom, while Tucker cools his heels in the other bedroom. Once Jake is settled, then Tucker can come out. When it’s Jake’s turn, Tucker goes into the bedroom with his chew toy.
Jake has been neutered, too. The thinking was that perhaps that would settle him down some. Or not. Both dogs just need to be socialized more. Charlie goes for walks with me in the morning, and we see all kinds of people and animals. He’s not nuts about cats, but for the most part, Charlie likes to meet other dogs.
In fact, just yesterday, I let go of the leash because he was so insistent about seeing another little dog on a leash, and I wasn’t moving fast enough. Sorry, it was icy. Charlie went scampering over to see what other dog was claiming the park as his, and the two circled one another with their hackles up. I made my way over and stomped on Charlie’s leash so the other dog and his owner could continue their walk.
The other dog was a smaller furball — one of those breeds that sound like you’re swearing or sneezing or both. His owner had told me before that his dog wasn’t very social. I wanted to inquire why he had chosen that time of day when children would be walking through the park on their way to school, but I filtered that snarky question. On this encounter, we both commented on the icy walking conditions, and went our own ways.
If left to their own devices, the two dogs may have gotten past their hackles and sniffed each other’s backsides. Who knows? But I digress. Tucker and Jake will both have to grow up some, and perhaps, someday, they’ll decide to let it go. Until then, we can always tell when it’s Jake’s turn to go outside.
We hear him first. LisaLou opens the door upstairs and Keef is at the door to the back yard. Jake comes like a streak of lightning. It sounds as if he’s running on the walls and then taking the stairs six at a time. I swear, he goes from zero to 60 in two seconds. And then he’s outside, doing laps along the fence. I think he must stop at some point to actually do his business. But I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him at rest.
And speaking of resting, I have a dog on my couch with his head on the armrest, silently pleading with me. It’s time for our walk.