Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Guard Dogs

In case you didn't know, we have two dogs. Or DOGS! when we are upset. Their names are Tasha and Molly.

Micah got Tasha about a year ago from the Dumb Friends League. She's a Belgian Malinois and looks a lot like a shorter haired, smaller cousin of a German Shepard. She is still getting used to me and I think resents that I have invaded the space of her Daddy but overall tolerates me. She's about 2.

Molly is the dog we got together in January. She's an Australian Cattle Dog/Collie Mix. We think. She's pretty much black and has a weird left eye that looks "off" somehow. She's also from the Dumb Friends League and is close to 2. She ADORES Micah. LOVES HIM.

She and Tasha are good sisters. When we got Molly Tasha calmed down and has taken the role of alpha dog/big sister remarkable well. The girls play together well and I think make great companions. They get into trouble together as well and like to hog attention from whoever pets.

Molly likes me. Until Micah is around. Then she doesn't know I'm alive. Which is fine. Micah exudes "lover of dogs" while I am mostly background noise.

They both tolerate Kylie. She says she hates them but when she thinks no one is looking I've caught her stroking Molly. Molly knows that the pets are there, she just has to beg for them whereas Tasha goes looking for pets elsewhere.

The remarkable thing though, to me, is how well BOTH dogs have taken to Lulu. She's 4. She's pretty much a danger age for dogs. She's small and delicate and sometimes doesn't remember to be gentle. I once saw her squishing Tasha's face in every direction while Tasha just sat there and let her. I was in awe.

You see, when I was married, Brian and I had a dog named Kenai for MANY years. She was a mostly dim Black Lab/Beagle mix who did not like children despite the fact that we had always had one when she was around. She bit Kylie more times that I can count and we finally had to give her to the dumb friends league when she started taking warning nips at my then 9 month old baby. So to watch a dog not only allow but enjoy a child is, well, new to me.

Tasha in particular understands WHO Lulu is. She sees her as a smaller human and therefore a higher order member of the pack. She also recognizes that there are lots of gentle pets and belly rubs to be had for the dog that is gentle with the little one. She routinely "checks" on Lulu in the middle of the night by going into her bedroom and gets very concerned when she cries or fusses. She constantly checks on her and occasionally gives a delicate lick. She'll obey the general commands given by the little one in hopes of a treat and likes to watch over her.

This is the image I walked into after my shower this morning.

Tasha guarding Lizzie while she slept.

Notice the paw gently by the little girl's face? As if to make sure any movement would be recognized. I don't know how they would be as guard dogs. But they sure watch over my baby when no one is around.


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