A hush descended. The tension in the room was increasing but nothing was happening. The two combatants were still as statues, sending almost invisible signals to each other. The signals proclaimed loudly for all who could interpret them that the winner would take all. Every now and then one of them would look away from the other whilst altering, ever so slightly, a part of their stance; a barely moved lip, a flick of an ear. The other would respond in kind but remain staring at the opponent.
Watching them was nearly unbearable and there was a longing to break the pressure, relieving the anxiety of knowing this altercation could erupt into a fully-fledged fight. If a fight ensued, blood would flow. The grumble had been bubbling up in the background for weeks and now was the time for it to come to a head. Much more was at stake than the prize that lay between them. Who would be the victor? Who the loser? Loving them both, it was horrible to watch.
After fifteen minutes the muscles on the back of the younger one began to tremble, and then relax. Simultaneously he lowered his head and eyes in a canine bow of supplication, jumped off the sofa and left the victorious top dog. She watched him for a few seconds before delicately picking up the prize of the raw hide chewy and devouring it noisily.
Phew! It was over. I let out a huge sigh of relief knowing all was now right in the world of my long time companion, Rosie, a Chihuahua and recently adopted Dougal, an Australian Silky Terrier.
|Mum and Spot, 1953|
Many dogs have come and gone in my life since then, providing me with love, comfort and friendship. Every one of them has taught me something about dogs and, more often, about me. I only hope I made them as happy as they made me.
Now, the proper hierarchy of our new pack is established - me as pack leader, second-in-command is Rosie and Dougal is the newbie. The two dogs are happy knowing their place in the pack and peace will reign until Rosie gets too old and is challenged by the underdog. No blood was spilled in establishing the natural order of our canine world and all the tension has disappeared.
Now we are a proper pack. Yea! Let the fun begin.