Monday, April 9, 2007

Sally's Nemesis

This weekend we dog sat or our friends Katie and Ben. Actually, it seems like everyone we know was dog sitting this weekend -- a kind of special Easter penance for those of us who didn't make plans to go out of town for the holiday. Our charge was Emmy, a three year old golden lab whose genial personality totally makes up for her lack of smarts and her ability to eat anything that might resemble food. Seriously. Once she ate a diaper. Emmy has always been one of my favorite dogs and was one of the reasons we got Sally. I was very excited she was coming to stay with us. I thought she and Sally would have a great time together, romping and playing in the back yard. Sally loves other dogs and the people at daycare are always commenting on how well she plays and shares with others.

Of course, none of those dogs ever come to our house and touch her stuff.

Sally was not pleased when she pulled up in the car with Ryan Friday afternoon and saw Emmy sitting on the lawn. Her look was somewhat like mine any time anyone says "staff meeting." Kind of a resigned disgust. She knew Emmy was staying -- and now she just had to grit her teeth and hope it would all be over with quickly.

Emmy looking mean

All that night I tried to get the pair used to each other, giving them the equal number of treats and head rubs, letting them sample each other's food, and making it very obvious both had fine places to sleep. But Sally wasn't having any of it. And so she did the one thing any princess would do when faced with an unjust situation -- she withdrew.

Starting Friday night Sally acted as if she couldn't bear to be in the same room with us and that dog. If I had food to offer to both of them, she let Emmy have it all. She wasn't going to stoop to sharing. If we went into the bedroom, Emmy would follow and Sally would stay in the living room. If we were in the living room lounging
on the couch, she was in the dining room -- glaring. It went so far that I was sitting out on the front porch reading, Emmy was on the grass, and Sally was on the back lawn.

We thought the ice might thaw if we took them on a dog friendly outing -- fishing. But when we tried to get them both in the backseat, Sally wouldn't get in the car. Then she got in, and sat in the front seat. When I tried to push her into the backseat she became immovable -- It was like her stubbornness had glued her to the seat. Finally we settled on a compromise, she sat on the floor of the passenger seat -- I sat Indian style in it. And off we went.

When we got to the river the differences between the two dogs became even more apparent. Emmy jumped out of the car and straight into a side stream. Sally looked at her like she was nuts. Ryan said the last time he took her fishing Sally actually got in the water -- swimming out to him. Well, that breakthrough was thwarted the minute she saw Emmy get in. After all, she was working very hard to be the anti-Emmy. They both enjoyed the sticks in the area -- but whereas Emmy would bring one to be thrown, Sally mainly enjoyed putting them in a semi-organized pile. Finally Emmy settled down next to my chair, while Sally roamed through the grass, always about 20 feet away, spying on us.
The only picture with both of them in it

We finally got in the car to go home, once again with Sally in her uncomfortable and somewhat dangerous spot in the front. Emmy didn't seem to mind -- she had the whole back seat to herself. Then about halfway down the canyon a heaving noise came from the back and a noxious smell filled the car. Emmy had gotten car sick. We rolled down all the windows and tried to make the best of it while Sally looked at both of us with a "I told you so" stare on her face. I think I could hear her cluck her tongue as I cleaned out the mess later.

The rest of weekend was equally icy -- except for one moment yesterday afternoon. I walked out on the front porch to see Sally on her back, trying to get Emmy to play. It was one of those golden moments you only see in dog food commercials. I heard music. My joy was short lived though -- because of the look now on Emmy's face. It was confusion, mixed with fear, mixed with a large dose of spite. The ignoree was now the ignorer and she wasn't going to let the opportunity go by. I think I saw her toss her head and snort as she turned and walked away.

Emmy went home this afternoon, and now things are back to normal. All treats once again belong to Sally, as does all attention. Right now she is sleeping at my feet with the look of a contented queen.

Although it may take some time for her to ride in the back seat of the car again...


Amanda said...

Sally learned sharing from Luke.