Staaaaalk….staaaalk….staaalk. Skitter, skitter, skitter, GROOOWWWWLLLLL!!!! Nuzzle, nuzzle, nuzzle. So begins another day in Dog Battledome.
Our near-hoard consists of three dogs – two twee little Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and one…rectangular Cairn Terrier.
For those of you that don't know the breed, Cavaliers are basically Golden Retrievers stuffed into a little 12-pound box of cuddly awesomeness. They LOVE to snuggle - even if this means squiggling under the covers and giving you an affectionate goose in the middle of the night in an attempt to get as close as humanly (caninely?) possible. Or placing their ladybits far too close to your face for comfort as they drape themselves over your head in an effort to sleep next to you on your pillow. Precious, I tell you.
Our third dog is not a snuggler. His jumping-onto-the-bed days are long behind him. To form an appropriate mental picture of our Cairn, first picture a cute tan Toto dog. Now balloon that sucker up to a … healthy 35 pounds. (Cavs: Um, can you leave some for us? We thought you were, um, trying to lose weight? Cairn: LAY OFF MAN, I’M STARVING!!)
Now that we're one animal shy from a camera crew and professional organizer showing up at our door, Husband has firmly put his foot down to declare that no more animals come in until one goes out. Which leads to how our third dog came into our house in the first place a year ago. At the time, our Cairn was 11 years old and looked like he was on his way out. He sat, he lolled, he generally looked cantankerous. His nickname became the Grumpy Old Man.
Cav1 had been with us for a good six months at this point and become quite attached to Grumpy. She LOOOOVVVVVED him. If she had opposable thumbs, she would doodle “C+G 4evR” in her notebooks and have a neighbor’s dog pass him notes that read, “Do u like Cav1? Check yes or no.” Grumpy did nothing to encourage Cav1’s affections, but this made her love him even more.
We started to get worried when Cav1’s love took a turn into Stalkerville. She would sit at the window and watch with particular intensity when Grumpy would go out for a walk. When we had to take him to the vet one day, Cav1 freaked. She ran laps, she whined, she whimpered. Girlfriend practically boiled a rabbit. Since Grumpy looked to be not long for this earth, we decided that we needed to get Cav1 a friend to preserve her sanity on the fast-approaching day when Grumpy went to live with a nice family in the country.
Enter Cav2. He quickly became the Yin to Cav1’s Yang, the peas to her carrots, the Fred to her Ginger. She looooooves him….and he loves her right back. These two crazy kids give each other good morning AND good night kisses. They snuggle on the couch and watch reality TV together. They anxiously monitor our windows together and bark in unison at any passing cat, dog or stiff breeze. (And Grumpy? Has a new lease on life. We think he realized the Monty Python implications of Cav2’s entrance and decided there was no way we were throwing him on the cart. “I feel fine….I think I’ll go for a walk. I feel happyyyyy!!")
Cav1 and Cav2’s relationship is not without its troubles. They fight. A lot. A typical fight goes like this:
Cav2 crouches and tracks Cav1’s movements.
Cav1 realizes she is being stalked and freezes. Swivels her head 360 degrees for intimidation and gives Cav2 a “bring it” look.
Cav2 rears back slowly, slowly, slooowwwwly and…..POUNCES!
Dogs rocket around the house, chasing each other ferociously (skitter, skitter, skitter).
Cav2 executes a flawless leap and takes Cav1 down by the neck.
Much growling and flailing ensues as they engage in MORTAL KOMBAT!!
Dogs realize that we are watching them, perk up and wag tails enthusiastically, thinking that a W-A-L-K may be coming.
Dogs are momentarily disappointed by the lack of W-A-L-K and retire to their separate corners to regroup and retool war strategy.
Dogs forget that they just attempted dogicide and engage in copious amounts of doggy love.
Lather, rinse, repeat. For 8 *$%(@#$% hours.
And Grumpy watches it all with a little smile.