Friday, January 16, 2015

Two Dog Night

Let's see what happens when we put two Brittany Spaniels (back when they were still called spaniels) together in one back yard, one considerably younger than the other.

It happened in the mid-1980's, when my Aunt Susan brought Libby over for us to dog-sit while she went on vacation. We didn't think Cinnamon, fairly docile and going through middle age, would mind. Libby, however, was about three years old, getting spoiled and full of puppyisms. Either this would work or it wouldn't.

Libby bounds into the backyard to meet Cinnamon, and immediately these two girl dogs sniff each other out. Then they kiss... on the snouts... several times. Many dogs are territorial, but not Cinnamon. She doesn't mind the birds eating her dog food. We watch as the pair explore the yard with Cinnamon sniffing Libby's behind more than a reasonable amount of times.

"Cinnamon, I think you've smelled enough," the Queen Mother groused.

Despite friendly beginnings, Libby managed to wear poor old Cinnamon out. Our dog would find a place in the shade to lie down, and Libby would run over to her, licking her and trying to get her up. Cinnamon would get tired and growl back. Still, she did her best to keep her visitor entertained, letting Libby roughhouse with her as they wrestled and chewed each other on the mouths.

Libby always managed to jump on me and cling to my legs whenever I had to go out back to tend to her or Cinnamon, or get something else done out back. My aunt's dog had considerable leg strength. I can still remember her jumping several feet from a sitting position to kiss the Queen Mother in the face.

"Don't say the word 'walk' around her unless you intend to walk her," my aunt wrote in her instruction note. "She understands!"

And she can also spell. Grandfather Francis had to say "w-a-l-k" in front of us until Libby figured out how to put letters together and perk up her ears. But we didn't really have to take her out. She got more than enough exercise from annoying Cinnamon.

Cinn was probably glad to see her cousin leave and get her yard back, where she could roll around in the grass, chase squirrels, and bark at Champ next door without having to worry about the in-laws.

Some time later, when we brought Cinnamon over to my Grandfather and Grandmother Francis' for a visit, Libby didn't feel like repaying the favor, and we ended up separating the two before barking turned to biting. So much for family.

No comments: