This story took place a few years after my mom’s Great Britain trip. Thinking about how much I loved teasing Abby brought back this memory of when I teased Father and how the contrast between those two was so stark when it came to teasing. I was living in NJ at the time and was back down in NC vacationing sometime in the summer. I was in the kitchen alone with Father, only that Father didn’t know I was in the room with him. I was around the corner by the door leading to the patio and Father was almost at the boundary between the kitchen and the breakfast room with his back to the kitchen. I sneaked up behind him and quickly but lightly grabbed his hip area. It scared the hell out of poor Father. He tensed up, reached his head around and put his mouth on my hand. I was damned close to being bitten. Father immediately released his mouth from my hand and in a seemingly simultaneous sequence of events, he dropped to the floor and rolled on his back, prostrate and in fear.
That was the only time Father ever physically confronted me after he moved in with us, and even before, all he did was bark at me and run away. He never made physical contact with me when he was mad at me. This was a dog that believed in a strict hierarchy. It almost comforted him the order it brought to his life. He knew I was the alpha, and he would never ever knowingly challenge me. He was so pitiful the way he was laying there, the way he displayed total submission to me. I knew Father was startled and further realized that he didn’t like teasing or roughhousing. He was scared. Scared in the thought that he was being attacked when I grabbed him, scared of the idea of what I may do to him for his aggression to me.
I don’t know what was going on in my head thinking that it would be OK to tease Father like this. I didn’t expect he would bite the shit out of me which he nearly did. I can still feel those teeth bearing down on my hand right now. I made a mistake and needed to ‘kiss and make-up’ with him. I reached down, rubbed Father’s stomach, told him he was a good boy, and loved him. He started licking me, jumped to his feet and was back to his ebullient-self hopping around.