Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Scenes from a dog park - 5

There's no snow on the ground yet but the grass is semi-frozen and the dogs' feet make crunchy noises as they trot on it. The dogs are off on a chase while a small group of us owners are standing around as Jenna talks.

"When people see two packs of lions fighting it out, they don't say, 'Oh look that one there started it so it's a bad lion.' No way. Instead they look at the lion that started the fight and think about what a powerful beast it must be to take on another lion for its land or females or what have you. So why is it that when two dogs fight, the one that starts it is a bad dog? And that's only if you can tell which one started it. Sure sometimes it's obvious but sometimes it's just two dogs giving each other the stare down and one of them goes first. Are dogs supposed to know to follow the same rules as people? As if that makes any sense."

Some in the group agree, some don't. The ones that don't agree figure that it's just something Jenna would say because she herself has a fighting dog. She didn't want a fighting dog, as she tells everyone, but that's what she got and like any good parent, she fell in love with it despite its faults.

So, its first fault, she says, is that it liked to fight. Its second fault, which was only a fault when taken into consideration with the first fault, is that it was a Chihuahua.

"Now maybe you know dogs or maybe you don't know dogs," Jenna has said, "but if you know dogs, then you know a lot of Chihuahuas have a tendency to be little scrappers." She felt that whoever bred those fierce manners into such a pip squeak of a dog sure had a sense of humour although if you ever got on the receiving end of an angry Chihuahua's exertions, you might not think it so humourous.

Hugo, Jenna's dog, was not your typical fierce little Chihuahua, though. He had something about him, a bearing that usually came with much bigger dogs, like ones that were twenty times his size. He didn't skitter around and he didn't bark much. His walk was steady and his gaze was confident. He was very kingly.

Hugo didn't just go beserkers after every dog he saw. In fact, he was, if not friendly, at least tolerant of most dogs. He only made very particular enemies. Maybe a dog would give him the wrong look, not act subservient enough, bark too much or smell funny and then Hugo would launch into an attack with the ferocity of a mini tornado. But, even with all the energy Hugo could muster, he usually could get no further than the end of his short leash which Jenna kept a tight grip on whenever any of his known enemies showed up at the park.

But that was then.

These days, Hugo off leash or not, usually just stays close to Jenna regardless of what other dogs are around.

Hugo's last fight happened when he had just turned eight and that was about a year ago. He was off leash and Jenna didn't notice the Husky and its owner come into the park. Hugo noticed, though, and Hugo didn't like what he saw. He noticed as the owner let his dog off leash and watched as the Husky walked over to a patch of grass and started munching on it, munching on piece of Hugo's grass no less.

Maybe it was the pale blue eyes. Maybe it was too hairy. Or maybe it was some signal only a dog could sense, like maybe the Husky was telling Hugo to stop staring and mind his own business. Anyway Hugo did his usual thing and walked directly up to the Husky and kept staring at it. The Husky continued munching on the tips of the tall grass and didn't seem to notice Hugo. But of course it must have. Hugo was barely 2 meters away and giving him the evil eye. Maybe that's what bugged Hugo so much - that the Husky didn't acknowledge him, the newcomer didn't acknowledge the king. Whatever the reason, Hugo, ran at the Husky with his fiercest attack.

When Jenna looks back on that day, she says that the thing that Hugo did that made him lose the fight was that he barked. He ran at the Husky and for the first time ever, Jenna heard him bark before he got to his victim. At the bark, the Husky looked up and as Hugo lunged in, the Husky opened his mouth and scooped up Hugo in mid-leap. The Husky tossed Hugo up into the air and caught him again. Then he tossed him up into the air and caught him again. He did this three times before he heard his owner scream at him to drop Hugo. But the Husky thought Hugo was a fun toy. It squeaked.

Later, when Jenna checked, she couldn't find anything physically wrong with Hugo. He still walked fine. And when they got back home, Hugo still ate up all his food and as usual looked to Jenna for more. He even slept well enough except for a couple of dreams where he shuffled and made snorting sounds.

But nevertheless, as Jenna would soon find out, Hugo was a changed dog. The next day and from that day on, Hugo lost the spirit to fight. He became more subdued in his play with his few friends and he shied away from his enemies. And when his enemies saw that Hugo was no longer interested in them, they were no longer interested in Hugo so all of Jenna's worrying about fights soon disappeared.

Jenna still thinks the Husky tramautized Hugo somehow. After the incident, she had brought Hugo to the vet but the vet could find nothing wrong with Hugo even though he still managed to charge Jenna $364 for the visit. Jenna says that Hugo's spirit was broken that day when he got tossed around like some squeaky toy. She says he was humiliated and just couldn't get back into his fighting spirit.

I don't tell her this but I think Jenna is wrong. I think she's wrong because when I see Hugo in the park with the Husky, even though Hugo doesn't leave Jenna's side now, Hugo still watches the bigger dog. He's watching and he's learning and he's planning and one day, when he gets it all figured out, the king will return.

1 comment:

Caveat said...

Ha ha ha.

The Husky 'trained' him to cut it out.

The super dominant dogs rarely get into fights because that's beneath them. It's those insecure guys in the middle who are always jockeying for position. It's because of a lack of leadership in the family structure.

It happens a lot with little dogs, which is why people think they are all 'nasty and yappy'. It's pretty hard to be stern with one of those little guys so they are easy to spoil and mollycoddle.

Trust me, I know. I have 3 wee ones who play me like a violin - when I let them - which I do occasionally because I like to see their faces light up when I 'get it'.

Some obedience training and being treated like a dog now and then works wonders!

It's great when you write up these tales. They're always fun to read.

I'm still laughing over the skunk ones, they were hilarious!