Tonight, we had our first real knock-down, drag-out dog fight in the house. And it's not at all what we expected.
Ever since Kirby's been living with us (or at least since he's gained weight and become healthy) we always kinda worried that he and Dozer were going to go at it someday. Those two jealous boys circle each other all day, with suspicious sidelong glances and low guttural growls. It's classic pack male behavior: jockeying for status, testing each other's limits. I've pulled them off of each other several times, but it's mostly all sound and no fury. A lot of snarling and shaking of heads with no actual violence being perpetrated.
So... of course... leave it to Miss Polly to show them both how shit goes down.
Kirby wasn't even involved. He was resting his old bones out on the cool floor of our back sun-room. He lays there sometimes when his coat gets too hot for him. Fortunately, I'd closed the door on him and trapped him out there, cause I think he might've come running when the commotion started.
LeeAnn asked me to get a toy and play with Dozer a bit. She'd been meaning to take him for a walk all day but it's been kinda crappy and drizzly out and she gets tired more easily lately (just entered the 6th month of the pregnancy, after all.) So I took a squeaky-plush lamb (once Dozer's favorite toy) down from the kitchen pantry and we started playing on the living room floor. A little keep-away, a little tug of war, a little dining-room fetch—your standard doggie roughhousing.
Miss P was upstairs somewhere, probably snugly nestled in our bed, down under the covers where she spends most of the winter. (Those of you with chihuahuas will understand.) But she heard the irresistible bleating of the squeaky plush lamb and came jingle-jangling down the stairs to investigate.
I'd like to say that I didn't cause what followed. And I'd like to say that my dear sweet (normally) level-headed wife didn't put me up to it. But that would be a lie. See, we've always thought it would be cute if our dogs would play tug-o-war with each other.
Yes, we know there's a size-and-strength imbalance. And we know that—while they share a grudging camaraderie together—Polly and Dozer haven't always been the most civil dogs to each other. But dammit, it's just so darn cute to see two dogs pulling on opposite ends of a squeaky-plush lamb toy. So I tried (persistently, for about 5 minutes) to feed them each an opposite end of the toy.
Polly was interested (ears up, tail wagging, eyes big) but more than a little scared to take hold. Dozer was relaxed and playful, but he didn't really want anyone else on his toy. When she finally grabbed, he let go and she turned with it to dash. ('Ha ha! It's mine' she undoubtedly thought.)
Then Dozer lunged at her.
It went down quick and nasty. Dozer made his feeble growl and a lunge. Polly turned on him and absolutely punked his beta-dog ass. All twenty pounds of her latched onto his silky brown cattledog ear and bit down hard. Real hard. Dozer was crying out like a girl. Polly was latched on, shaking (and scratching the hell out of my arm which I'd somehow gotten in there, in a futile attempt to break them up.) She was only on him for about 10 seconds, but the way he was crying? Must've felt like a lifetime.
LeeAnn was upset. Dozer was bleeding. Polly was shaking. And I was laughing. Damn man. That little dog can really mix it up.
Polly's got these little black dots on the knuckles of her forepaws. We call them her 'prison tats.' And tonight they spelled L-O-V-E.