Friday, January 11, 2013

Pack of Trust

Last night I was reading a book. I was laying down. My dog, Emmylou, was my pillow. While I was reading the book, she was destroying a rawhide bone. Both man and beast were contented.

I gave her the rawhide about 15 minutes beforehand.  And for the next ten minutes after, she was besides herself with it. She clutched the rawhide in her jaws while pacing around the interior of the house. She then took it outside, but that only lasted for one pass around the backyard. It was obvious what she was doing. She was showing off her prized possession. Even more, she wanted somebody or something to challenge her for it. 

At first it was just simple pacing. But by the time she had her made tours of inside and out, she was getting bored of simply showing it off.  That's when she started up with her high-pitched whistling through her nasal cavity. The whistling is grating on the nerves and quite effective at getting someone to focus on her.

That would be me. And since Emmy had no dogs to challenge her, I got down on all fours and began to slowly approach her. 

Now there are many things that I cannot do well in life. Like dancing. Trust me friend, you don't want to see this white man's overbite.  

Playing the role of a dog, however, is something I somehow excel at.

I'm a keen study of behavior. It doesn't matter if its humans or animals, it just comes naturally to me. I probably should have been an anthropologist. Or a dog-thropologist. Huh, what's it pay? 

Anyway, it only takes a few minutes of meeting a dog (that doesn't want to immediately rip my head off) to get insider their pack of trust. It starts with the non-threatening visual contact, then cautious posturing, which gives way to the obligatory sniffing, and finishing with feigned boredom and darting eyes that break contact as soon as its made. Repeat, etc... A couple minutes of this and I'm no longer that funny looking human, but an even funnier looking canine who's been accepted into their pack of trust. 

I've been in Emmy's pack of trust for nine years now. I rescued her from the Humane Society when she was about a year old. She's some sort of lab mix, very friendly and loves attention. She's also a somewhat neurotic and may or may not suffer from anxiety/depression/OCD. --  Prozac Nation 2.0 

So back to last night: Emmy was playing hard-to-get with her rawhide. Even after parading it around, all she wanted to do initially was to play with it. When I'd get near, she'd get all growly and such at me, then break it off and wag her tail. Then I'd pretend I wasn't interested, and then she's shove the rawhide back in my face again. This went on, back and forth, for a few more minutes until she was satisfied that she was the alpha dog. For the moment. That's when she started chowing down on it.

At this point, I began reading a book and used her as my pillow. Of course, I was only using the book as a ruse to make her think that I was reading it.

She took the bait. Within a couple minutes, she had forgotten about me.  I waited until she was well into gnashing that thing into a bloody stump before making my move.

As they say on TV, please do not try this at home. What you're about to see is the true sequence of events as they unfolded and were caught by my phone's camera. 

Emmy's settled in, mouwing down on that rawhide. Look at the hyper-extended jawbone! Amazing. Meanwhile, the pack of trust is in full effect. Brady's apparently no threat to her busy work.

Emmy's all CRUNCH! SNAP! RIP! She has no clue what Brady's scheming.

Emmy: Oh no, what's this?
Brady: Groaaaaaaaarrr!!!

Hey Emmy, who's alpha dog how, huh?

Yeah, pretty good.


  1. The look on her face in that last pic is priceless. Too funny!

  2. you have too much time on your hands....