Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Butch and Kadi, host and hostess

It was interesting to watch Butch and Kadi while my house was full of company. The differences in their personalities were easy to see.

Kadi was tolerant. Just barely. She likes things in their correct places and takes comfort in routine, and it was obvious by her demeanor that she was a little stressed out by the disarray. Even though I’ve never seen her snap at a person in her entire 11 years, I felt nervous when the little ones played near her. She let them pet her, but she certainly wasn’t enthusiastic about it.

Butch, on the other hand, had an entirely different reaction, one that could be summed up by a single word: “PARRR-TEE.”

Once Butch learned to navigate around the extra feet, luggage, and air mattresses, he had a blast. He played so hard the first full day that he woke up in the middle of that night, tried to stand up, and screamed out in pain. I’d noticed him limping before bedtime and thought at first that he’d injured his foot. When he got up and moved around, he stopped crying and wasn't limping anymore. I couldn’t find any injury, so I concluded his old joints were stiff and sore and punishing him for exercising them too vigorously. Once I nipped his wrestling career in the bud, he was fine again.

Both dogs learned quickly that my two-year-old grandniece always traveled with a bag of chips in one hand. They followed her everywhere she went (giving me a clearer understanding of the phrase, “dogged her every step”), happy to clean up any crumbs that might fall.

Butch and Kadi also exhibited some pack behavior that kind of surprised me. They seemed to decide between themselves that the two smaller guest dogs were fine, but the large boxer was not. Inside or outside, they’d leave the poor boxer alone until she moved anywhere near me, then they’d slip into junkyard-dog behavior. Butch was just as nasty as Kadi was, snarling and barking as if he’d rip the boxer apart as soon as he figured out exactly where she was.

Often, when I sat down, both dogs lay by my chair, one beside me and one in front, their noses nearly touching at the corner. At night, instead of seeking out their separate favorite sleeping spots, they slept side by side near the foot of my bed. It made me feel good that they included me as part of their pack.

Now, if I can only keep them convinced I’m the alpha dog...


  1. Not a snowball's chance in you-know-where on the alpha dog thing Velvet!

    I love Butch and Kadi stories. I'll bet they were a little down too when all the guests headed home.

    I wonder what was up with the poor boxer???

  2. Creekhiker, Butch lets me be the alpha dog, but Kadi and I negotiate for the position at least every other day.

    Butch was a little subdued after all the family left. Kadi, who was observed giving them several disapproving looks while they were here, seemed relieved that she didn't have to mind the business of so many people and dogs.

    The boxer couldn't have been any sweeter. The only thing I can think of is that she's only about a year old, she was out of her element, and she seemed a little skittish and unsure of herself. Maybe that made Butch and Kadi feel unsure about her, too. The two little guest dogs, a shih tzu (I think she is) and a teacup-sized Yorkie, made themselves right at home and quickly learned to get in line when treats were dispensed. The Yorkie even growled and snapped at Kadi once over a bit of food on the floor. I loved it! Kadi looked so surprised.

  3. I guess guard dogs was the name when it came to you.

  4. Patsy, maybe they were guarding me, but you'd think the fact I was trying to pet the boxer would have given them a clue.

  5. Oh, Girl. You are not the Alpha dog. You might think you are, but no. Never.


  6. Robin, maybe not, but I'm the only one in the pack who can reach the dog treat cabinet. That ought to get me at least a couple of brownie points with Butch and Kadi.


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