Lucy showed a little attitude today, and for the first time since her arrival eleven days ago, I heard her bark. Cheryl from U-Dog arrived at the door with a bag of items I’d ordered, which she placed on the floor while I wrote out the cheque and she lavished attention on the dogs. Lucy and Charley were checking out the bag while making sure they got their fair share of attention, when suddenly Lucy bark-snapped at Charley. “Get outta my face you old fuzzball!”
Poor Charley! She was so surprised that she, social butterfly extraordinaire who would NEVER leave a room when a visitor was present, slunk off down the hall and into my office, where I found her feeling sorry for herself on the sofabed awhile later.
The dynamics between Lucy and Charley have interested me from the beginning. Charley sulked and showed a high level of anxiety when I brought Lucy home - enough to press every guilt button I have. But she exhibited no negative behaviour towards Lucy. And that was remarkable - Charley is usually the dog I have to watch a bit with newcomers as it is she who will growl a warning when another dog gets in her face, and it is she who is sometimes a resource guarder if others come around her dish when she is eating. This time, there had been none of that – Charley showed not one iota of irritation towards Lucy, and in fact on several occasions recently has gone up to Lucy and poked her long collie nose into Lucy’s mile-wide puppy-filled belly. This merely resulted in a nonchalant look from Lucy as if to say “Yeah, I got knocked up, so what?” For all intents and purposes, they almost seemed like.....friends. So why the bark-snap?
Did Lucy smell the treats in the bag even though they were in sealed foil packages? Was Lucy just asserting her “I’m going to be the princess here, and I want to get all this visitor’s attention” attitude, now that she has adjusted to her new environment? Is the honeymoon over? Was Charley muttering something under her breath about “I’m gonna send you home with this woman, you intruder you!" Who knows what was going on?
And that wasn't the end of Lucy's lip. After Cheryl left, I took the dogs into the back yard. Lucy had a two-bagger dump, and when I opened the back door to reach for an extra bag, Allie the cat managed to slip out between my feet. With one very full bag in hand, three dogs underfoot, and a cat on the loose, I tried to stay calm and catch the mischievous tortie. As she hopped up on the garbage can to give her greater access to the top of the fence, I grabbed her with my one free hand – and immediately Lucy decided to get this meowing, fighting feline by repeatedly leaping up at her like a five year old on a new trampoline, and bark-bark-barking. Hurriedly I stuffed Allie back in the house –apparently cats indoors are fine with Lucy (Allie can literally walk all over her with no reaction), but cats outdoors are fair game. Crisis averted.
And this evening, the dogs are flaked out on the living room rug, as if Lippy Lucy was merely a figment of my imagination. Allie, however, has decided to keep her distance.