Sunday, September 13, 2009

Age and Wisdom Meets Youth and Beauty

A year ago when Bunny came to join our family, I was a bit surprised by her reaction to Lilac. Lilac is the oldest hound here in our house, and she was a brood mama to two litters of puppies. Usually, when she meets young dogs, she gives them a bit of discipline (one deep, serious bark, and I have no idea what she says in that one bark, but the youngsters always take it seriously) and then goes on her way, ignoring the young dog. She tends to avoid puppies and young dogs, perhaps because she feels she is done with that sort of nonsense now.

Of course, as soon as Bunny came here, she made herself completely at home. She made her introductions to Lilac and Hawk and after a tour of her new castle, the little princess needed a place to lay down. She looked around at the various dog beds scattered across the floor and decided to lay right next to Lilac on the big orthopedic dog bed. My husband was shocked. I was shocked. Lilac was stunned. Another dog was laying down next to her?! She didn't growl or curl up a lip, but she did make a departure from that particular bed after a period of polite tolerance.

Lilac has never gotten after Bunny, save for an unfortunate incident where Bunny didn't see her foot and stepped on it in passing. She hasn't encouraged Bunny to be close to her either, though. Hawk took her under his wing for a little bit, playing with her before he just got too worn out to keep up with her and letting her follow him about. Blueberry ignored her completely, although I suspect that she was playing with her in secret, just not when we could see her sink to such a low. However, it was Lilac that Bunny really wanted an in with.

She tried joining in when Lilac would pounce on a toy. This always resulted in Lilac dropping the game and going to lay down. Bunny would try pouncing on it again to try to get her interested, but it was always a no go.

Bunny continued to try to lay down next to Lilac on the dog bed. Lilac obviously did not know what to make of it. I suspect their conversations were brief.

Bunny: Oh, you're laying on this big, cushy bed again!

Lilac: Yes, yes I am! It's good for my old bones.

Bunny: I'm really small! I'll just curl up over here on this side.

Lilac: You know, there's another bed that nobody's using over there...

Bunny: Yes, and there's nobody there to snuggle with!

Lilac: Exactly! And this bed was made for stretching out... Hey, what are you doing?

Bunny: I'm getting comfy!

Lilac: (sigh) I'll just go stretch out over there then.

Bunny: Two hounds can fit on this bed!

Lilac: Nevertheless...

One thing that Lilac has always done since we brought her here is pick up a toy (usually a Mother Bunny bunny or tribble), shake it and then try to carry it outside. Over the years we've had many arguments about whether or not she needs to bring her bunny outside. Heaven forbid that we interrupt this ritual, however! Everyone in our house knows that Lilac has to at least bring it to the back door. Bunny saw this as a divine opportunity.

So, one day as Lilac grabbed her bunny and started to get ready to go outside, Bunny ran over and grabbed the other side, starting a game of tug of war. Lilac was so stunned that she lost her rabbit! Bunny pranced around the room victoriously. She had won. It wasn't the stuffed bunny that she wanted, though, it was Lilac's attention. Since that day, Bunny often tries to get Lilac to play before we go outside. However, for Lilac, it isn't playing. She growls ferociously at Bunny, who dances around her with the other side of the rabbit in her mouth. It's no contest, really. She can always take the bunny from Lilac, but I discouraged her. It seems a bit too much to ask of the old lady dog to let the puppy win.

Surprisingly, Bunny seems to have realized it on her own as well. Recently, I've noticed that she doesn't try to take the bunny from Lilac, but instead wages a brief race to pick the bunny up. I'm pretty sure she lets Lilac win. And, in return, Lilac seems to have decided to tolerate having Bunny close to her. It seems like a fair compromise.


  1. Omigosh, that is so cute! They're lovely dogs. I don't know much about hounds, but it sounds as if they have huge personalities.

  2. Wonderful entry Houndy! It sounds, and looks, as if Lilac and Bunny have come to accept each other in thier own way.

  3. Very good post! We are seriously considering adding a 3rd dog to our "pack" and it is interesting to see how things work themselves out in other families.

  4. PS I tried to do the 4th photo thing but it didn't work out very well. However, thank you for thinking of me!


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