Buffy left me when she was two months old to become a family pet. A week ago, she returned home to me because of “family problems”. “Family problems” is something we are very familiar with here; this can mean too much hair in the house at shedding season, barking when the dog is at home alone for 20 hours a day, “doggy smell”, vacation time and we can’t afford to put the dog in a boarding kennel, the kids have gotten bored with the dog and would rather go to judo class, or any number of other reasons why the puppy that has grown up to be affectionate, devoted and loving can no longer live there. But my puppies are “family”, and they always have a place to come home to if they need one.
Buffy is a
Canaan girl, who is going to have her first birthday in a few days. She is a very outgoing and friendly youngster, with great self confidence and the desire to be everyone’s friend. She is very well mannered in the house, and although she is very energetic, she does know the limits and really behaves well. Her only problem is that her former “mommy” has decided that she really doesn’t want a dog.
She has had almost no experience with other dogs in the ten months that she has been away, so her first reaction to the pack here was, “Oh dear!!!” But that passed very quickly into “Wow! Friends to play with!!!!!” The trouble is that Buffy is not very well versed in the rules of dog play. Just as there are rules for what is allowed and what is not among the children in kindergarten, there are also rules about the limits of the use of force in dog play. Buffy’s current “playgroup” is Jenny and Lili, two seven month old collie pups. They are a bit bigger than Buffy, but collies are very gentle dogs and even when playing, they are dainty. Buffy’ though, is like a bulldozer – run and smash, grab (and on collies, with all that hair, there is plenty to grab), pull, push, and anything else she can think of doing. She seems to be trying to use up a year’s worth of energy in a few days.
Jenny and Lili are happy, playful and active puppies but this is overwhelming. They are too gentle to tell Buffy off in a way that would make an impression on her, so for part of the day, they have to be separated, just so that the collies can get a bit of rest.
Habibi, however, usually has no problems in being a disciplinarian. As the king of the dogs, he makes it very clear to everyone what is permitted and what is not, and how to properly play games in a dog-mannerly way. But Buffy has proven to be a real challenge.
Buffy fell in love with Habibi at first glance. She looked at him, and seemed to collapse in shock – “I have been waiting for you my entire life!!!” She follows him around constantly, bowing and licking and trying to get in front of him so that she can roll over and wave her dainty paws at him.
|"I love you!!!!!"|
Habibi finds this annoying. “What does this little pest want from me?” I can see in his suffering expression. “I love you, I love you, I love you!!!!” Is Buffy’s answer. No matter what he does to discourage her and chase her away, she is incorrigible – anything is acceptable from the one she loves. Growls, snarls, muzzle grabs, and rolling her over – all are accepted in the spirit of “More! More! Any sort of attention is fine! I love you!”
It is so reminiscent of a teenage girl with a crush on an “older” man….The time will come when Habibi will feel differently, there is no doubt, but for now it is just, “Leave me alone, kid!” as far as he is concerned. Buffy, though, is nothing if not persistent. It will be interesting to see who wins…