Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Continuing Adventures of Rocky and Boris

Rocky and Boris are still trying to work out their relationship. (Here's a little backstory in the off chance you aren't up to speed.)

I've always had dogs. Boris is roughly the same size as the other dogs I've usually owned, so I said this morning that he was a "medium" dog. My wife corrected me: "No, he's a large dog."

I granted her the point, saying that he was about the size of my usual dog, so it's what I'm used to. She looked at me and shook her head. "No, that's a median dog."

(I walked over, kissed her, and told her that I knew there was a reason I married her.)

Boris is many things, but he's never been an alpha male. He has been known to stand up for himself on rare occasions, so he isn't an omega male, but for the most part, he isn't even a beta. He's an iota; maybe a pi.

It's actually kind of cute, watching Boris and Rocky: it's been a long time since Boris actually frolicked like a puppy, but he does. And considering that Rocky is less than half the size of Boris, you'd think he'd be a little more intimidated. He's not.

When Boris has a chew toy that Rocky wants, some of the most fascinating tugs-of-war ever seen occur. At one point, I made a sound that caught Boris' attention, and he sat up and looked at me. With Rocky dangling off the chunk of rawhide in Boris' mouth, growling, back paws barely touching the floor.

Boris spent several years getting pushed around by Tasha: she'd eat her food, and then however much of Boris' she wanted, while he'd just stand back and let her. She was the boss. So when it's dinnertime, if Rocky decides to push his face into Boris' bowl, Boris just stands back and watches him eat both bowls of food.

Rocky may push him around, but they're friends. If they're in the yard and the neighbor's dogs come running up to the back fence, Boris will stop whatever he's doing, stand up straight, walk over to the fence and firmly sit down, watching them.

He isn't smart enough to know that there's no way the other dogs can get to Rocky. He just knows he's going to protect his little buddy.

So, here's how Monday started. I stumbled out of bed, put a spoon of canned dogfood in water, nuked it for 30 seconds to loosen the gelled bits, stirred it into a slurry, and added a little less than half to a bowl of puppy chow, and the rest to a bowl of dog chow.

Rocky, at this point, is bouncing around like a squirrel on meth, so I put his bowl down first, where he leaps on it like he hasn't seen food in a week. Boris somewhat sedately walks over to his bowl and starts eating.

I start to heat water for tea, and glance over, to see Rocky eating Boris' food, as Boris sits a foot behind him looking morose.

I picked up Rocky with a stern "no!" and put him by his food again. Boris huffed and went back to eating.

There followed a vaudeville routine. I looked around, looked down, and Rocky had pushed Boris aside again. Push Rocky over to his food bowl. The water starts to boil. Dash over to the stove. Snap "Rocky!" Take the water off the heat. Pull Rocky out of Boris' food.

Finally, it entered my sleep-addled mind that either I stood right there until Boris finished eating (and I had to get ready for work), or I had to separate them. So I picked up Rocky in one arm, his food in the other, and went over to the back door. Put down Rocky to slide the door open, put his food on the porch, go back to Boris's bowl and pick up Rocky, and put him out with his food.

I made my tea, went to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, and came back to the kitchen to see that Boris had finished eating, and Rocky was at the door literally vibrating with excitement.

So I opened the door, and a little beige streak shot past my legs aimed directly for the empty food bowl. I picked up Rocky's half-full one, carried it over and set it down. Picked up my tea, and turned around to see Rocky frantically licking Boris' bowl.

And Boris calmly eating the puppy chow.

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