Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Pack Mentality...

...can lead to some funny situations if you own a few dogs or more. Take suppertime for the dogs at my house. Each and every night the dogs get all excited before they are to be fed. All three of them go to the kitchen, whenever someone walks into it, in anticipation of being fed. As their bowls are being filled they prance around anxiously, unless I am feeding them and I tell them to sit (I have to do that several times before it takes hold as they are so excited). Then they chow down with abandon, well at least the two smaller ones do. Hexi the Dachshund just about swallows everything whole. Pepe (as in Pepe Le Pew, not as as if a Mexican name) gulps as fast as he can with a few crunches heard as he quickly chews the food. Sprocket, our old lady of a dog, takes her sweet time eating. She has dog bowl manners.

While Sprocket eats, you can easily see that the other two, both long since finished with cleaning out their own bowls, are anxiously awaiting Sprocket to finish so they can go to her bowl to eat whatever little bit she leaves behind. We have had Pepe for about 2 years now and he learned quickly from Hexi that good things await them in Sprocket's bowl once she has had her fill. This lesson took awhile though, Pepe used to try to run in and grab something right from the bowl as Sprocket was chowing down only to be snapped at by Sprocket. He learned his lesson for the most part, but now that Sprocket is so old she is slower than she was with a young Hexi years ago, and sometimes Pepe still makes an attempt that is sometimes fruitful for him. Hexi used to try but also learned her lesson after being thoroughly scared by Sprockets growls and snapping jaws.

The thing is the lesson was learned and is now being forgotten. over the past several months, Sprocket has slowed down a lot. She is about 17 or 18 years old by our best estimations. We got her when she was about 4 or 5 and have had her 13 years now. She is getting really old, and with old age comes the joys of the 'golden years', or so they are called. Both Hexi and Pepe have picked up on this big recent change in Sprocket's speed; and as I said Pepe still sometimes makes a dash for Sprocket's bowl, and he grabs a morsel before she can react. Hexi has seen this and has seen Sprocket slow down, and she has become more brazen too. I guess the pictures will show it all.

In the first picture above, Pepe and Hexi wait patiently for Sprocket to finish her supper; their own bowls, both quite empty, can be seen in the background. Sprocket takes so much time chewing her food as she eats though that Pepe and Hexi are soon beyond the limits of remaining patient as can be seen in the second picture. Not too brazen yet, but certainly wanting Sprocket to hurry up, finish, and get away from her bowl. Sprocket doesn't even notice, she never did when they were that far away. She really never cared unless one of them got really close to the bowl. Then she would tell them what for, and remind them who was/is the leader of the pack.

Of course, with food at stake Hexi, the canine vacuum cleaner of all things edible, can barely withhold her urges to get some more. She is a true glutton, and if we allowed her to do so, she would turn herself into something that would rival the Goodyear blimp for girth relative to length. She is no fool though, and she know that if she tries to get right into Sprocket's bowl, Sprocket will give her a quick reprimand. Yet when she sees an opportunity, she goes for it. She is no slouch when it comes to grabbing a morsel, and if you look closely at the third picture, you will see a morsel tempting her, almost as if calling her name and saying: "eat me".
So she starts to make a move, right through Sprockets legs. I can assure you, a move like that in the past would have wound up with Sprocket giving a snarl, a snap of her jaws, and Hexi soon on the run to the safety of the living room. As it turned out tonight, yes these pics are from tonight, Hexi was able to make it all the way to the fallen crumb, and snatch it up without Sprocket doing more than looking over at her. Maybe that was because of old age, or maybe because Sprocket was just about full; she finished her supper just a moment or two later, and then took her inevitable walk to the water bowl for a long drink. Once she did that, the remaining few bits and pieces in her bowl were open for poaching by both Hexi and Pepe.
As you can see from the final picture, they both pig out in mutual glee once Sprocket's muzzle had vacated her bowl. Funny thing is though, if Hexi or Pepe were to try to steal food from the other's respective bowl there would be trouble for sure; it's just at Sprocket's bowl where they dine in mutual satisfaction without guarding the food. By the way, any of the family can go to any of the dogs' bowls, while they are eating, and take food out of them without fear of reprisal from them. The dogs know who are the bosses. The pack mentality is a wonderful thing, and as seen, quite amusing at times.
All the best,
Glenn B
Dedicated to Milo, a good friend of Sprocket's, who is now in dog heaven eating steaks and taking it easy.

9/11/2001 - 9/11/2006...

CARPE DIEM, seize the day! Never forget this day, live by it; and always be prepared as best you can for whatever may come next; that way you will be able to make the most of any day when it comes, whatever it may bring.

They shall not be forgotten, at least in my lifetime: not they who perished, they who were wounded, they who fought so valiantly, they who responded with superhuman effort and care, not any of them. They will always remain in my thoughts, as will their families and loved ones. There is a special place in memory for them each and everyone of them even though I will never have known most of them.

As for the others, they will not be forgotten either. They are in my mind each and every day. They are the enemy, and maybe I hope beyond reasonable hope, but I hope to one day be able to do my part to bring at least one of them down. Carpe Diem.

All the best,
Glenn B