Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's Not Easy Being A Puppy In A House Full Of Old Dogs!

In our house, it's becoming a geriatric ward for older hounds in the last few years. Hawk is twelve and a half and really showing his age. Blueberry turned eight this year, and while she doesn't seem like an old dog at all, she has definitely left her puppyhood behind. Lilac will be fourteen in a couple of months and my husband and I believe she may outlive us all.

Then there's Bunny! When we went to adopt another hound last year after Treat passed away we expected to find a hound around four years old. That is the magical age when the greyhound brain finally grows in. I wanted to continue doing nursing home visits and possibly READ, and that meant I needed a new canine partner. We went to the adoption kennel and came home with an eighteen month old puppy instead.

I worried while we waited for Bunny's spay surgery to be done that possibly we'd made a mistake, and yet she'd seemed so calm the whole time we were there. Blueberry hadn't been crazy about her, but she hadn't hated her, either. Her tolerance was the closest we came to her approval of any of the greyhounds we met that day, and Bunny had completely won us over. Still, I worried about how our two older hounds would handle her. The day Bunny arrived home, however, I realized we had nothing to worry about. She was remarkably good with Hawk and Lilac. Hawk started eating again and Lilac tolerated Bunny sharing the big dog bed with her. Bunny was careful around them, and respectful of their status. Things in our house began a new routine.

Even with her wonderful behavior, however, Bunny is still a puppy at heart. There are times when she just needs to play. Usually a brief session of chasing her toys before bedtime suffices, especially if Husband is willing to play a bit, too. For months, Blueberry refused to play with her, even though it's something she enjoyed a great deal before Bunny came here. However, lately she's given in and actually played, much to Bunny's delight.

Of course, now that Blue has consented to play on occasion, Bunny wants her to play more often. This seems to be a bit of a bane to Madame Blueberry's existance. Most of the time, she's a good sport about it, and I have to admit, I greatly enjoy watching her when she does consent to play with Bunny.

It starts the same way. Husband goes into the bedroom, leaving the gate down and Bunny runs in to hide one of her toys on the bed. Soon, she's running back and forth from the living room to the bedroom, one toy at a time.

Bunny: Bluuuuuuuueberry! Come on! Don't you want to play?

Blueberry (yawning): Oh, I don't know...

Bunny (running back to the bedroom): It'll be fun!

Blueberry (looking to see if anyone is watching): Well, maybe once...

Bunny (nose to nose with Blue now, tail wagging like a little flag): Oh, I knew you couldn't resist! It'll be great!

Blueberry: You can't catch me! (She takes off running at top speed for the bed at this point.)

At this point, the chase is on. They run to the bedroom. I have no idea exactly how it happens, but they manage to unmake our bed and change it into something that's almost unrecognizable. The carnage is something most people can only imagine. There will be dog toys strewn everywhere, along with pillows and the blankets all shoved up in a lumpy mountain near the head of the bed. At this point, Husband or I go in and tell them to get off the bed, then we remake it into something that we can at least crawl into and find a place to rest our heads later.

At this point, Bunny usually tries to get the game going again. She will dance around, sometimes emitting a little bark, carrying a favorite toy to try to taunt Blueberry into playing again. Just to amuse her, Blue will jump up and run into the bedroom. Usually this sends Bunny racing to the toy box, looking for something to start the game over with. Choosing just the right toy can be difficult, however, and usually by the time she returns, Blueberry has found something better to do on our bed besides mess it up. She will artfully displace the pillows and make herself a nest amongst them, settling down with a sigh as if she is more exhausted than any mere mortal can possibly understand. Amazingly, she has the power to instantly fall asleep after she lays down inside her creation as well. No amount of puppy cajoling will convince her to move from her spot. This leaves Bunny with only one thing to do as well. She'll just rest up and dream about next time.

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