The first time Greta met Bailey, Bailey greeted her with bared teeth, a lunge to the end of the leash and a serious growl. The next time Greta encountered Bailey, Greta greeted the other dog with open jaws and a lunge that would have landed her in District Court on assault and battery charges if I hadn’t grabbed her collar—she was off-leash at the time—and pulled her back. It was fairly clear the two dogs didn’t hit it off.
About Bailey. She’s a Heinz 57 dog, but the main breed seems to be boxer. She was a rescued dog, and was about to be put down because no one was interested in adopting her. Older dogs suffer discrimination similar to that experienced by some older humans. Most people want a cute little puppy, and they overlook the good qualities—prior potty training and reduced destructive chewing—that a mature dog may have to offer.
Bailey is still here among the living because the owner of Josie and Juno, Greta’s play friends, was a volunteer at the Carroll County Humane Society, http://www.carr.org/humane/. She volunteered to find Bailey a good home rather than see her put down, and you can guess the rest. The good home she found was her own, and that meant Josie and Juno had a new pack member. Bailey and Josie eventually worked out an accommodation. No accommodation was necessary for Juno, the roly poly English lab who loves every dog and every person and doesn’t have a hostile, territorial thought in his head.
Greta does not appear to be concerned about how Josie and Bailey resolved issues of canine rights and pack status. But Greta does think of Juno as her best friend, the one she can chase a squeaky toy with and run circles around down at the park.
“Look,” I said. “As long as you can’t be trusted not to attack Bailey, you will be on your leash and Juno can chase the squeaky toy at his leisure.”
Greta put on her faintly worried expression, the one Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers do so well. http://www.akc.org/breeds/nova_scotia_duck_tolling_retriever/. But what she didn’t do was mend her ways.
“All right, Greta. You don’t have to become Bailey’s new bff. All you have to do is live and let live. For example, if you meet Bailey on a walk, just pretend she doesn’t exist,” I said.
It’s not working out. We have met the trio on walks several times since Bailey became part of the pack. Juno follows his old greeting protocol, first lying down, then jumping up to run joyously to Greta, tongue hanging and tail waving. Greta, meanwhile, has raised the fur behind her neck to the canine equivalent of Homeland Security red alert. She glares at Bailey. Bailey stands stiff-legged and glares at her.
Juno invites Greta to playtime. She would love to go with him, but I can’t risk letting her off the leash to run around because of the danger that she’ll turn the innocent play into a full attack. So, Juno alone gets to fetch the squeaky toy and bring it back, crunching it in his mouth to make it squeak.
If Bailey is the Palestinians, Greta is the Israelis. We need a peacemaker. President Carter, where are you? http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/presidents/jimmycarter
(c) 2011 by Donna Engle