There are really few things I care as deeply for, as I do for my dogs.
One of them I’ve known since he was 6 weeks old and the other 2 I’ve known for a little over a year. There are people who I have known longer than all my dogs have been alive and I would throw those people into a burning building to save any of my dogs. I’m not going to talk about how important animals are and I’m not going to talk about why dogs are better than cats, although they absolutely are. What I’m going to talk about is one of the most heart-wrenching things that happens to me and my partner too regularly.
Orbison Pedro III is a 26 lbs., tan, terrier mix. He has a curly tail, he loves food more than anything in the world, and he enjoys passing the time staring out the window. He’s willing to share his toys, even at the dog park. But he grew up as the runt of the litter and he’s used to being picked on. He is resilient. He never lets down. He never stops being who he is and he doesn’t apologize for it.
Soto is a mid-sized, black, Australian shepherd with brown legs and white paws. She’s unbelievably gorgeous and her personality matches. She loves being petted and purrs like a cat, but we love her just the same. She will steal your food anytime, anywhere, no regrets. Soto loves people, but if you’re a dog, she has no problem reminding you she is the one who gets the most attention and who is the most beautiful. No exceptions.
Pete is a husky. I don’t have to tell you how gorgeous she is. All huskies are beautiful. What you need to know about them is their personalities. Pete talks back. Pete guards socks. Pete lets you know when breakfast and dinner should be served. Pete is a fucking boss and she makes sure you’re aware. Pete doesn’t take shit from anyone. But also please, scratch her butt when she asks because she likes it.
Usually, we describe dogs with words like loyal, obedient, loving, and playful. Some of these words I would like if they were used to describe me. But recently I’ve been wondering if my dogs are caring. Do they care about us? Probably. Do they care about each other? Maybe. Do they care about getting enough vitamins? Absolutely not.
I come to this questions because, while I feel and have seen my dogs exhibit not only the human qualities of sadness and love, but also understanding, they fight.
There are moments where they go black in the eyes and their lips pull back violently to reveal wolf-like teeth with purpose. The sounds they make are like war cries from warriors going all in. They attack swiftly and without hesitation. It’s as if their minds have temporarily gone blind, inhibiting them from recognizing the comrades they’ve shared a home with for more than a year. That’s almost 8 years for dogs!
Like anyone who cares about anything, as soon as said thing is in danger, hysteria ensues. They’re all about to kill each other and I’m an accessory to the crime because I’m just standing there letting it happen. Can someone tell me how hard you kick one of your dogs to stop it from murdering your other dog? Or cat or pig or whatever you have?
I sincerely hope that no one ever has to go through this. I hope no one ever has to witness, a couple of beings you love unconditionally try to hurt each other.
The only thing that gets me through it is realizing that they’re not going in to kill. If that were the case, someone would be dead already. It’s a matter of the pack. It’s a matter of who is the alpha, who is the boss. It’s a not so gentle reminder that they’re still animals despite the way they lick our tears and put their paws on our shoulders like they’re going in for a hug.
I will never stop loving any of them. I will never stop loving dogs. I will just do my best to do the best I can for them. Sometimes that means accepting their mistakes and moving forward.