Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dog Pack

Abby Sniffing Phoebe
In the last summer I was in NJ, my cousin moved in with my mom for a few months. Her marriage had ended, and she needed to square up some things until she found a new place to live. She brought along with her two dogs, Phoebe and Gabby. Phoebe was a Saluki mix. She was fun to watch and had a rare combination of speed and endurance. She was probably the fastest dog I’ve seen other than the greyhounds at the dog-track. She could also hang with me on a 3mi run in the middle of summer without any ill effects from the heat. She was a sweet dog, but not very bright.

Gabby, on the other hand, had no redeeming qualities and was dumb, disruptive and destructive. She agitated the other dogs resulting in their snapping at her and flashing their teeth at her. Gabby also chewed on furniture and rugs. My cousin eventually moved to an apartment that didn’t take dogs so Phoebe and Gabby stayed behind.

I found that one dog is not enough. Unless one spends time with the dog almost all day, then the dog will become lonely and will need a second dog for companionship. Two dogs are just right. They keep each other company yet the dynamics between them doesn’t distract them from being pets and companions to the owner. With three dogs, things start to get a little complicated. The dogs start to jockey for position in the pack and continually challenge each other. Things are still manageable, but the dogs start to lose themselves in the pack and spend less time with the owner.

When we had five dogs, things were nuts. There was confusion everywhere. Andy and Phoebe were in competition for the bally in games of fetch. Abby kept trying to assert herself as the alpha. Often she would do this by humping the other dogs. It got to the point where she tried to hump my leg a few times. I had to give her a spank for that. Not a big spank, but just a little one.

Meanwhile, Gabby was running around snipping at the other dogs and causing a few fights to erupt. Normally Gabby could quell the fight by lying prone on her back completely submissive to whoever she was bothering.

Father reverted back to a state of confusion. He grew agitated and snipped and snarled at everything that moved his way. This situation was untenable. We had to thin the pack. We put an ad in the paper to give away Gabby. Thankfully, a retired couple adopted her. It would have been an assured death if we had dropped Gabby off at the animal shelter.

Our younger cousin took Phoebe in. I hated to see Phoebe go, and had I no dogs, she would have been a wonderful companion. She was sweet, loyal and athletic. She was a fun dog, but in this situation, she was not a good fit. I was able to see Phoebe from time to time. She took well at my cousin’s and grew to love her.

I have no idea what happened to Gabby after she was adopted. I couldn’t stand that little shit.

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