Monday, August 20

Because love and fear go hand in paw

Where have I been?


I went to North Carolina to visit my dad, then I flew back and drove 5 hours to eastern Washington to visit L for her birthday weekend.  Now I'm back at the office.


During my trip, I got to visit the dog, Liam.  He is what some might call the "apple of my eye" – he is adorable, playful, and has the most curious pair of eyes I've ever seen (all of these, of course, are qualities I look for in an apple).   Liam is about a year old now, and still acts like a puppy most of the time: he enjoys a good squeak ball and has yet to learn that I am not to be chewed on.


Since my dad is such a smart (over-analytical) man, we generally talk about Liam in terms of dog psychology (or, as I like to call it, dogcology).   For example, when he jumps up on the couch and stands over us, that is a sign of dominance.  Licking our feet would be a sign of submission.   We try to encourage the latter, but Liam doesn't always take the hint.


One night when I visited in March, we were laughing about how cute he is when I suddenly said: "You know, if he was any other animal, we wouldn't think it was so cute that he was trying to bite us.   'Oh, that's just the tiger, don't worry about it!'"  We all had a good chuckle as we gave birth to the idea that Liam was actually a wild predator plotting to kill us and take over the house.


During my visit last week, we continued the joke.  I asked my dad why we don't like having wild dogs or cats around, and he replied that wild dogs are a threat because they can get rabies and kill or injure humans.   "So… they're basically a natural predator?" 


"I guess you could say that."


"And we like to keep them in our homes, just for fun."  I entertained the thought of a rodent sterilizing and training an eagle to keep in its home.  "They're just waiting for the right time to strike."  We laughed and imagined all of the possible schemes in Liam's head.


Things got a little more serious the next day when we watched as Liam and the older dog, Lily, were "playing."   Ever since he arrived, Liam periodically attacks Lily in an attempt to establish that he is the dominant dog.  When she gets tired of this, Lily shows him who's boss by throwing him to the floor.   We stop them about half the time, when we don't like the noise or get annoyed on Lily's behalf.  This time, however, my dad and I tacitly agreed to watch the entire sequence unfold: two 70 pound husky mixes, teeth bared, wild-eyed, biting each others' flesh and tossing each other around.


Later that day, I commented to my dad: "Liam could kill us if he wanted to.   It would be pretty easy, too."


"I know, he could," My dad responded with a smile.


I thought, with the logic behind my strange joke, about people who are afraid of dogs.   Maybe they have a reason.  "Well… let's just make sure Liam keeps very clear on who is feeding him."  That night, I opted not to encourage Liam to sleep in my bed.


The Ambiguous Blob said...

The thing about domesticated dogs is that they are eager to please humans- not to eat them.
Wild dogs are all about survival and don't give a shit about human companionship. If you're in their way, you're going down!
Oh, and I NEVER worry about my toy poodle attacking me. He's only 5 pounds, after all.

Joshua said...

Yeah, though supposedly huskies don't have the same loyalty to humans that other breeds of dogs do. They are more pack oriented, which is why in high school we couldn't get one.
The shelter said it would just run away. I got a border collie-shelty mix instead. He barked at fallen leaves.

Dropout! said...

"(all of these, of course, are qualities I look for in an apple)"

Hee. So true.

Boo on the title, though. What, are you trying to get a job at Cat Fancy or something?

kat said...

I don't normally comment here. Nor do I have anything great to comment now.

I'm just glad you didn't vanish into blog-obscurity.

Ryan said...


pink jellybaby said...

i think people often forget that dogs are descended from wild animals and they still have all of the instincts that go with that. If they feel that someone is challenging their place in the pack or threatening them, then they will defend themselves in the only way they know how.
this is why it annoys me every time things go crazy becasue a dog attacks someone