Sunday, June 25, 2006

Master of his domain

Butch's blindness hasn't diminished his determination to protect "his" property. He seems to know immediately when a strange dog comes around, and he makes sure the new dog knows not to mess with his yard.

Since yesterday afternoon, the biggest yellow lab I've ever seen has been hanging around my next-door neighbor's yard. He's an enormous, muscular, fully intact male and seems to be attracted to my neighbor's girlie dog, who is following him around with a big doggy-smile on her face, as if her handsome prince has finally arrived.

It isn't unusual for Kadi to wake me in the middle of the night, but Butch rarely does. At 4:00 a.m. this morning, though, he nudged me with such an urgency that I was sure Nature must be calling him on the Red Phone. Nope, that wasn't it. Stranger-Dog was back, and Butch's urgent need was to go outside to bark at him. At 4:00 a.m. When all my neighbors were sleeping.

As soon as I figured out what Butch's game was, I began trying to get him back inside the house to end it. He couldn't see my waving arms, obviously, and he couldn't hear my whispers because of his barking. I didn't want to yell his name. If there was any chance that his barking hadn't disturbed the neighbors, I didn't want my yelling to wake them. (Besides, if I didn't yell his name, maybe they wouldn't realize which neighborhood dog was being the nuisance.) Finally, he stopped barking to take a breath, and I called out one word: "Treats!"

That did it. Maybe he thought that was a way to back down without losing face. "Okay, Big Guy," he might have growled. "You lucked out this time, because I don't want to miss out on the biscuit, but you and I both know I coulda kicked your ass."

After that, we slept until it was really morning, and then I let Butch and Kadi outside again. Stranger-dog was still there. I didn't see him when I first opened the door, but Butch took off running toward the fence as if his tail were on fire and started up the fierce barking all over again. When I put on my robe and stepped outside, the first thing I saw was our little fig tree shaking wildly. On the other side of the fence, Stranger-Dog stood perfectly still, watching the action intently but apparently not too disturbed about it. Then I saw Butch. He was behind the fig tree, barking furiously, and wiggling for all he was worth to scratch his butt on the fence. Whoa! I bet that intimidated the big fellow.


  1. Your Butch reminds me of my Max, right down to the speckled tongue. Blindness obviously hasn't affected Butch from doing what a dog is suppose to do...guard his domain, and take names of who invades his territory...I'll bet he is an alpha boy, with his calm assertive energy (I've read your blogs about this lovely dog)...good boy Butch!!

  2. Wonderful story Velvet and love the photos, great dogs. Makes me miss mine so much.
    Wonder why *big guy's* owners let him out to wander in the early hours.

  3. That's a great story. I love the second happy dog photo.

  4. Butch has spunk - and smarts (goes for the treats when invited!).

  5. Gems: Will you post some pictures of Max soon? It's hard to say whether or not Butch is the alpha dog. Kadi lets him eat and drink first, but other than that, she pretty much controls his life. She manipulates him off the sofa if she wants that spot, and she's "tattled" on him his whole life.

    Sandy: It's obvious that Stranger-Dog has been well cared for, so I suspect he slipped away from his nice home in search of LOVE.

    Duly Inspired: It's nice to see you here. Yours is the first blog I ever read, and I've seen plenty of good dog stories there.

    Annie: I don't know how smart it is to pick a fight with a big dog he can't even see, but I will give him credit for spunk.

  6. I wonder if other dogs can tell he's blind? or at least there's something "wrong" with him?

    That 4 a.m. behavior sounds a lot like Spot, I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't see the Thing To Be Barked At until it's too late. In my case it's usually the crazy neighbor cutting grass that I don't see. And Spot won't come in for me when he's all excited, I've had to resort to threatening to call Grandma to make him come in. Just the name Grandma sometimes works! But it's embarrassing to stand there yelling "You want me to get Grandma??".

  7. our new dog weighs about 6 pounds, sometimes dogs come in our yard even if foxey is in the house she barks and scratches at the door like she want out if i open the door she runs backwards as if to say , "do you think i am crazy?"

  8. Janet, you'd think the fact Butch has no eyes would give other dogs a clue, but I'm never sure if they can tell or not. My daughter's little Lucy was waving a rope toy in front of him this afternoon, as if she knew he'd play with her once she got his attention.

    Patsy, that's hilarious. Sounds like Foxy has some street smarts.

  9. Velvet, I posted a picture of Max, he is the red dog...Gabbie is the one with the evil smile on her face;)I'll bet Butch has chow in him also. I've read that when God was painting the sky blue, the chows were down here on earth licking up the spilled paint, kind of a cute thought.


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