Monday, May 12, 2008
Sibling Rivalry of the Very Best Kind
Up on the hill, I sit on the bench watching Sadie, who is watching Belle and Charley make their way up the path. Sadie is always first to the top, followed by Belle. Eventually dawdling Charley, who gets easily distracted by every smell and movement and blade of grass, comes bouncing up with tail wagging and ears pricked and big laughing mouth.
Sadie is lying quietly a few feet behind the bench. Charley circles around, nudges her, and then comes up on my right - nosing at my arm for attention and putting her furry feet up on the seat beside me. I drape my arm over her and tell her what a great dog she is. She looks back at Sadie: “See, dork, I am Mom’s favourite!!!!”.
Within seconds, I feel a furry face pushing at my other arm – Sadie has walked up behind my left side and mimics Charley’s actions – nosing my arm, big speckled feet on seat, butting her head into me. “Hey, mom, look what a great dog I am! I love you best, y’know!”
Belle, who has been meandering around checking the ground for anything edible anyone might have happened to drop (she is part Sheltie, part Hoover) suddenly snaps to attention and does her robot-dog dance as she bounces over to me singing the notorious Sheltie song. “Yap, Yap, look at me, I am the princess, I am beautiful, ignore those two clowns, I am NUMBER ONE DOG!”
“Yes, you are all beautiful,” I tell them, but individually I whisper to each of them in turn “Don’t tell the others but I love you best!”.
And then the games begin – Charley playbows to Sadie and off they go, chasing and rolling and tumbling and jumping and barking in sheer joy. Little Belle isn’t far behind (and sometime in front, getting mowed over by her two bigger sisters), trying out the roles of cheerleader, referee, fan, and occasional athlete. I stand up and join in the fun – a fake sneeze sends them into another mad, frenzied spurt of play; a whistle calls them all back to me jostling and vying for my attention even though I have no treats with me today.
They are a happy bunch – I am so fortunate to have three senior dogs who have only known each other a few short months yet get along as if they have been best friends forever.
Oh, and a footnote for Belle’s adoring fans and other sheltie-lovers: Belle had a checkup with our holistic vet today who is really pleased with her progress. From a crippled old dog who could hardly walk when she came into rescue last November, she now runs and jumps and chases the cat (and her furry canine sisters) and has gained both weight and muscle mass. Her back right leg is still somewhat tender when stretched out but she no longer cries when her hind end is handled. After a brief acupuncture treatment for her leg and a spinal massage, she trotted over to the door and, with head held high in that very Regal Sheltie Attitude and giving us “the look”, told us it was time to go home.