I know it’s been a month since our last bark and I’m real sorry. It’s not that there wasn’t stuff to bark about. There was too much going on.
The girls got here a month ago. It was the first time we took in two dogs at once. Mama and Shiloh were scared to death and were practically glued to each other. Mom figured they would get more confidence over time and gradually they would want to join our pack.
Things were going pretty well the first week until Tess got too close to Mama and Shiloh growled at her. That was a BIG mistake.
Crazy Tess launched on Shiloh like a heat seeking missile. The noise was awful. The rest of us dogs ran for cover. Good thing dad was standing right next to Tess. He picked her up by her scruff and tossed her in the mud room. Mom checked Shiloh out real good and noticed there wasn’t any spit on her. Tess didn’t even grab her fur. It was just Tess trash talking.
For the next two weeks it was like walking on egg shells. Every time Tess walked by, Shiloh would growl or show her teeth. Guess what Tess did? Yup, she pounced on Shiloh and roughed her up. Still no spit or injuries, just lots of drama. A couple of times I whispered to Shiloh that she shouldn’t growl at Tess. I guess Shiloh didn’t believe me or didn’t care because she kept doing it.
Finally mom said we had to call in the sheriff. Oh man, I knew it was serious when our trainer, Matt, had to come out to fix things. He’s the one who showed mom how to teach us manners. It’s because of Matt that I come when I’m called and Tess can heel off leash.
When Matt arrived I quick got in my place and kept my head down. For once his visit wasn’t about me. Tess and Shiloh were in the hot seat.
Of course Tess acted like she was the perfect dog. She lay down at Matt’s feet and didn’t even look at Shiloh. But I heard mom tell Matt all the details and it didn’t sound so good for Tess.
Matt said first we had to get Shiloh to stop provoking Tess. Then we had to get Tess to behave herself no matter what. Good luck on that piece, I thought to myself.
Matt put the training collar on Tess and took her down to see the hens and alpacas. Tess behaved herself real well, until she decided she was finished with the lesson. A quick reminder from the collar and Tess remembered the lesson wasn’t over till Matt said it was.
Then we were all back in the house waiting for somebody to act up. Pretty soon Tess started strutting and Shiloh raised her lip. “Quit!” mom and Matt yelled. Tess quick lay down and Shiloh put her lip back where it belonged. Poor little Shiloh. She seemed so surprised to learn she couldn’t make faces at the bully.
When Matt left he told mom she had to get a training collar for Tess and work her everyday. He said whenever Shiloh growled or raised her lip she should get a loud scolding with a finger shaking. Matt figured Shiloh was such a fragile little thing a strong verbal correction would fix her bad behavior.
I’d like to say it only took one visit from the sheriff to get everything working again, but it wasn’t quite that easy. Tess had got in the habit of being a bully and she paraded around with that big tail of hers high in the air. Mom was constantly telling her to knock it off.
Gradually Tess began to look forward to her training. She danced with excitement when mom put the collar on her . As Tess began to pay more attention to mom, she paid less attention to Shiloh.
In the meantime it finally dawned on Shiloh that growling at Tess was not a good idea. They still give each other the stink eye, but we haven’t had any fights now for nearly two weeks. Whew!!
Last night me and mom sat out in the yard and listened to the evening birds. She kissed my snout and thanked me for staying so calm while Tess had her outbursts. Mom asked me if I was sorry we brought Mama and Shiloh into our pack.
I thought about that for a long time before I answered. Life would certainly be easier without the new dogs, but how can you not want to help a couple of mutts that were treated so mean?
“I’m not one bit sorry,” I said.
Pretty soon me and mom were talking about the dog souls we’ve lost from Asherpark – Darcy, Codie, and Nellie. Each one was difficult in a different way. Each one brought something special to Asherpark. We still miss each and every one of them.
Mama and Shiloh are the most needy dogs we’ve ever taken in. They’re a long term project, but we’re up for it. There’s plenty of space at Asherpark. We can all get along if we try.