Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Of the Treaty I Struck, and of a Discourse on Eating Squirrels Instead of Monkeys...

Permit me to share with you a truth about dogs: We are not ones for drama, for prolonging events, for creating suspense. This is for people. And cats, I suppose. For us, a good story has a simple, succinct beginning, middle, and end.

So while it amused me to engage in the cliffhanger device the Man so often falls upon in a feeble attempt to generate interest in his chittering, I cannot admit that I feel any great desire to follow his example. Well, not all the time anyway.

Forgive me, then, for leaving you in medias res, as they say. And allow me to remedy any sense of drama or suspense you might have been feeling since last I left you, when I was protecting my pack from two oncoming killer German shepherds.

(Although if pressed, I’m forced to admit you should have had none of these feelings from the outset. With me, well, you know where you are with me. If it were the Man writing this, who knows what would have happened? One hopes, I suppose, that he would have saved his children, and then, given his luck, ended up being eaten by the dogs.)

(I’m sorry. I need a moment to savor that image.)

It has been some time since I had to fight two dogs at once, particularly two German shepherds which, in the interest of sparing them further humiliation, I shall provide with nondescript pseudonyms. Let’s call them, oh, Adolf and Eva.

In a fight where the odds are against you, I find it is always beneficial to engage in psychological warfare, and to use misdirection as time and the situation warrants. You may feel free to adopt my methods as follows, should you ever find yourself in such straits.

In this particular instance, I was able to perform a quick and (if I say it myself) nimble sidestep to the right in front of the children, establishing a skirmishing line. It can be challenging enough on four legs, but I was compelled to do it on three, with my left rear leg, er, deployed, marking the ground in front of me in a wide arc that I regret—but only partially—went a little too wide and spattered the Man’s pantleg (and my, did he dance!)

Then, I Postured. This involved crouching into spring mode while simultaneously raising every hair on my body and announcing myself with authority.

“Death greets any who dare cross the Yellow Line!” I barked.

And the dogs stopped. Several feet from the line. The Posturing worked.

While the Man muttered incomprehensibles to the Woman (something about an Invisible Fence at the edge of the walking path?), Adolf and Eva stood just feet away, growling and muttering their Teutonic threats. Then they began to sniff where I had marked (misdirection accomplished), being careful only to extend their snouts slightly. Clearly they were afraid to come no farther.

Finally, the alpha of the pair, Eva, spoke to me in our Common Tongue.

“We guard this territory, Trespasser,” she said.

“Kill kill kill. All other dogs die. There are fleas in my brain. Kill kill!” Adolf added helpfully. He was by far the older dog. I suspect he suffers from a form of senile canine dementia. I addressed only Eva.

“I claim this territory on behalf of my pack. If you wish to continue to guard it, you do so at my sufferance,” I growled.

“And who are you to claim this place we have guarded for so long?” Eva demanded.

“Kill kill!” Adolf muttered.

“I am the protector of this pack, and in particular of the Queen Baby, the Girl, and the Boy. We now reside in the house behind you and will—“

Eva cocked her head. “You live in the house?”

“We have just arrived,” I said.

Eva shook her head, then glanced back at Adolf (“Kill kill!” he advised. I gather he is not much of a conversationalist when he is off-duty.) Then she looked at me. “But—but even we have never been permitted in the house. No dog has ever lived there!”

“Well, I am like no dog who has ever lived,” I replied.

“That’s right!” The Queen Baby cried from behind me. Did I mention she is perfectly fluent in my tongue? I did raise her from a puppy.

And from there, we began to treat with one another, as dogs of good will can do when they choose to reason together. We exchanged a few pleasantries, Eva complimented me on my Rottweiler build and coloring (inherited from my father).

“Your people come from the Fatherland,” she said. “Then we are near to kin, First Dog in the House.”

And so, with a new name to add to my other, I closed the distance between them. Adolf backed away, watching as I led the children toward our new neighbors. Eva and I formally saluted one another, each of us nose to tail, and naturally the Man had to break the mood with inane chatter, which I shall transcribe for your amusement:

“Hey, you know kids, your grandfather once told me why dogs sniff each other’s butts. Once upon a time, every dog in the world came to a card game—you know, like in those velvet paintings I like so much. Anyway, as they came in through the door, they each had to hang their butts, tail and all, on a hook, then went in and took their seats. Well, in the middle of a big hand, some smart-mouth dog—who was losing—yelled ‘Fire!’ and all the dogs ran out of there. In the rush, they just grabbed whatever butt was on the hook and put it on. So to this day, dogs sniff each other’s butts, hoping to find their own.”


“Is that true?” the Queen Baby asked me.

“Of course not,” I said, when I had finished my salute. “Now stay by me and I’ll take you inside for a fine game of throw-the-squeaky-toy.” I turned to Eva. “I to my work and you to yours, Guardian of the Territory. I trust when my pack is outside, you will protect them as well as you watch these grounds.”

Eva stiffened in salute. “Your pack is my pack,” she said, which was the correct response. Then she sniffed at the Man, who had fallen some distance behind us. “And the monkey?”

I hazarded a bit of sarcasm. “Oh. Well. Him you can have.”

In the moment, I had reckoned without Adolf who, upon hearing this, took me literally and with a sharp cry of “KILL!KILL!” threw himself at the Man.

I confess I was tempted. I mean, he seems so to enjoy the spectacle he makes when he is the object of injury. In some backwards primate way, it occurred to me that he might appreciate the moment of drama and suspense, even if it was his last.

But he does have his uses, and it would be such a lot of mess to have to explain, and so I dashed to save him. Once again.

It was a brief tussle—not even a fight, really. Adolf is an old dog with bad hindquarters, so a simple neck-hold sufficed.

When I released him, I said, “Stick to squirrels, my friend. They have a nutty flavor, nothing so gamey and stringy as this fellow.”

“Kill,” Adolf said, by way of agreement, and promptly left. Eva nodded to me once more (I think she likes me), then followed her friend.

And we returned to the house.

You see? Simple, succinct, beginning, middle, and end. None of this suspense business.

And so we reside, safe and warm, our borders well-protected. And the Man is yet deeper in my debt. I should like to redeem that debt one of these days, and suggest that he keep his big banana-eating mouth shut for a while (no more than a year or so). But he seems never to understand a word I utter.

Perhaps the Queen Baby will deign to tell him for me. I must remember to ask her when next we speak.

Your Humble Servant,
Blazey, First Dog in the House

Subtitled: "Blazing on with Blaze(y)!
Quite the dog the Man has here that does such an astute job of protecting the family -especially the little Queen! And they speak the same language too, huh? Incredible good fortune for all concerned. Oh, and also -Welcome back!
In which we leave the in whiches behind...

Thanks for the update.
Great story!
Oh, there was plenty of suspense in the beginning there, Blaze, what with tangents and parentheticals and all :)

Great story!
I'm glad that all is well in the new house and that a peace treaty was negotiated. Of course, I'd expect nothing less from Blaze. Hope your pants weren't "dry clean only."
Haha. I love it.
How smart of you to go to battle on an empty bladder.
Admirable job of putting "Kill Bill Adolph" to the ground and do I sense a bit of attraction between you and Eva?
Blazey, you are the best.
I need not tell you how heroic you were, First Dog in the House; you are well aware of your hawesomeness. I only request that you give us further updates as warranted, said request made by me knowing full well that I am unworthy to sniff your butt.
This and the previous post were both simply awesome, wonderful, magnificent stories. Thanks so much for sharing your stories from Blaze's point of view!
Ah, thank you for finishing the story Blaze. I'm so glad all is well.
Yay for Blazey!

I am truly gratified to learn that all is well, and especially to see how beautiful all of the children are! Clearly, you have done your job thoroughly and well.

I hope you write again soon - you and your family both are tremendously dear to us! :)
That was wonderfully inventive and funny :-) I'm here via Hilary's, congratulations on your post of the week mention!

Can I just add that throughout the two posts I was completely distracted by the thought that you honestly considered not bringing your dog with you? Holy moly, dude, I choose not to believe that part!

The rest I believe whole heartedly.
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