Each morning Bodie has done his business outside, no problem, even sleeping through the night. Bless his little heart. He is fed afterwards but for the last two days in a row, without warning, he has left me a present in his x-pen. The early morning gift has now become a pattern, and not a pretty pattern; before I’ve even had my coffee. Yesterday I was determined things would roll differently. After the dogs ate we immediately ran outside. I vowed that even if it took twenty minutes we would stay out there. Which we did, staying out there for twenty minutes or longer. But nothing happened, business-wise. No, wait. Something even better happened.
Ever since Razzie growled at Bodie through the x-pen she has become a bit enamored with her new-found leadership status. While the eastern sky displayed a beautiful red-streaked sunrise over the neighbor’s house, Razz and Brodie fostered the beginning of a lifelong relationship. The two dogs “danced” for a full twenty minutes. Bodie dropped into a classic Border Collie down, a genetic behavior hard-wired into his little brain. His gold head was on the ground between his little front feet, his back feet curled unseen under him. Razzie came over to him, tail fanned over her back, her neck arched like a prancing stallion. She sniffed Brodie who jumped up and sprang toward Razz. Surprised by the pup’s audacity, she leaped backwards. They continued this way for several minutes, each becoming more relaxed and playful, Bodie yipping and Razz allowing the pup closer to her. Finally Razz went into a classic canine play bow, butt in the air, front feet down on the ground, tail straight out and wagging. Her eyes were bright and sparkling.
It is too early to allow the two to run loose in the small grass and concrete yard. Bodie is still too fragile. Over the next six months these encounters will grow stronger. One day I’ll remove Bodie’s long line and they can spend a lifetime playing together in the big back yard.
For now I’m thrilled that the puppy is slowly being accepted into the group. There are times I watch them and don’t get involved and other times I become like a human helicopter parent. Young puppies have not learned the many subtle cues and behaviors that are part of an adult dog’s life. They think nothing of jumping on an older dog’s back, a sign of dominance, or stealing sticks from an older dog. Razz is teaching him though and it fun to watch. When Levi was alive he hated puppies and he taught them how to behave quickly and painfully. Now my two girls are gentle teachers, as is Catcher. Still, I’m not taking any chances until I see Bodie respecting the other dogs.
But I can look in my crystal ball and see the three young dogs and Catcher playing in the late winter, frost-tipped grass. Today was Bodie’s first dance toward acceptance into the pack.