Sunday, April 24, 2016

Peace in Our Time

Friendly tug-of-war: Ellie (L), Dasher (R)

Soon after we rescued Ellie the Incredible Walking Dawg from a shelter last January, we experienced a lot of joy tempered by one terrible incident.

When I came in the front door following one of our first walks, Dasher the Wonder Dawg was visiting. Now, Dasher is a member of our pack, but Ellie didn't know that. Big old Dasher, in his sloppy, always friendly manner, came speeding down the hall toward us to give his best greeting, and maybe suggest, "Hey I want a walk, too!"

The rescue dawg didn't know what Dash Man's intentions were. She might well have encountered some mean canines in shelters (including one high-kill) after she lost her original family because of an unexpected death. Anyway, as Dasher reached us, Ellie went into attack mode, biting him hard on an ear and drawing blood. It was not quite as ugly as when Mike Tyson bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear in a boxing match, but it was close.

The saddest thing is that I believe Dasher placed some of the blame on me. For weeks, he didn't want to come back in our house, and he shied away from me as much as from Ellie. Wouldn't even let me pet him or play ball with him. And I missed that terribly, for Dasher had been a good bud.

Thank goodness, we have attained peace in our time within the past month. And rather than a fence being an obstacle it has been the peacemaker.

After seven years of wanting a backyard fence, I finally had Lowe's install one. (Got a good deal because the home builder behind us let us use his privacy fence as the back portion of ours.) I still walk Ellie twice a day for a total of 3 miles or so a day, but now I also can just sit in the backyard with a cup of coffee and let the dawg roam or sunbathe (or chase birds away from our feeder -- but never mind that; they return).

The magical fence and New Best Buds Forever

And I am happy to report it has become Dasher's backyard, too. I had the gate installed over on his side, and he comes over with a ball or one of the grandkids' teddy bears in his mouth, and wants to play, or even go in the house for a treat. Now here is the real break-through: Dasher and Ellie both chase the ball. And when a teddy or large sock is the object, they play tug-of-war.

The wildest sight of all is when they have a stare-down and then start chasing each other around the yard, and sometimes play-growling. Thank goodness, it is all play, even though their tussling does make me nervous because Dasher the pure-bred yellow lab is at least 50 pounds heavier than the rescue mutt (a retriever/coonhound?), and I worry about the possibility of her getting hurt.  But she is all-in with the rough and tumble, so I guess I will just be the referee if need be.

Anyway, isn't it refreshing that old animosities can be put aside so dramatically? Don't you wish people and nations could do the same?

                                             © Robert G. Holland  2016

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