Tuesday, November 17, 2009

He's Not The Puppy Anymore

For days after we brought Bisou home, every time I called “puppy, puppy!” Wolfie would appear, panting and wagging his tail, expecting something wonderful—food, or a game outside, or a training session. It took a while, but now when I call “puppy, puppy,” he no longer stirs. He knows I don't mean him.

I don't feel especially bad that at age three and 95 pounds he no longer thinks of himself as the puppy. But I watch him watch me throw balls for Bisou, and teach Bisou to sit, and praise Bisou for waiting before plunging out the door and I think, what have I done to Wolfie?

Is he jealous of the little red dog? He only seems to be when we come home, or when company walks into the house—then he insists on being touched first. Not that he snarls at Bisou. He just puts his big body between the person whose affection he covets and the wriggling puppy, and he gets what he needs.

The huge disparity in size between him and Bisou limits how much they can play together. For a play session to happen, Wolfie has to be lying down. Then he and Bisou will face each other on the rug, growling and moaning and yodeling at the top of their voices, taking turns chewing on a single bone. When they're done, he gives her face a thorough wash.

I still take him to herding lessons, though his teacher says his performance has fallen off a bit since Bisou entered the scene at home. I still make sure that he gets to chase balls on a regular basis. But there's no question that the amount of time and attention he used to get from me have decreased. There is, after all, only one of me, versus three of them. It is a zero-sum game.

What does he get in exchange? He gets somebody who tries to wrest the ball he's just retrieved out of his mouth. Somebody who speaks “dog,” albeit with lots of grammatical errors. Somebody who thinks he's the cat's pajamas.

I hope he's o.k. with that.

6 comments :

  1. I'm not sure Wolfie would appreciate being the cat's pyjamas?!

    Lovely. I was feeling quite sad for Wolfie, but smiling by the end.

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  2. I do feel sad for Wolfie because his only outlet for excelling is working with you on herding, otherwise he's just taken the backseat to the new toddler. He was the apple of your eye and now you have another. Maybe he and Mr. Ed need to bond more closely. Or he can come live with us but we don't have fields to roam or goats to herd.

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  3. mrb, or, since I have two eyes, I could have two apples....

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  4. this is something i've been wrestling with. with boscoe in his decline, we are considering a puppy. riley needs more exercise and needs someone to play with.

    that said, boscoe takes up a lot of time. a puppy would take a lot of time. would riley get lost in the shuffle? i'll be interested to hear how wolfie works this out.

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  5. Don't you need three eyes or did I miss your third eye? I believe you, of all I know, might have it.

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  6. Laurie, it IS a lot of work, and you have your hands full with Boscoe. On the other hand, I've heard that if you get a puppy when the older dog is 9 or older, it may be too late to have an effect. How old is Riley?

    mrb, oops, I forgot about the third eye. That one belongs to Lexi, of course.

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