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Saturday, December 16, 2006


My senior RR, Sabu (9 almost 10) is the big brother to Cooper who has been home going on two months. His nose was CLEARLY out of joint for the new family member, especially because the new family member didn't really want to listen to him telling him "no". They've been going out separately to do their business, unless I've had extra time to supervise them or take them to the park to run together. So play time has been almost entirely spent with Sabu getting bowled over by Cooper. Literally! To complicate matters, Sabu has soreness and stiffness from an old back injury that we effectively treat with supplements. Sabu's soreness has caused this alpha male to be vulnerable - a role with which he is clearly not comfortable. The boys are almost matched in terms of weight - around 95 pounds each - but Sabu carries his weight in his body whereas Cooper carries it in his bone structure - and lower. In short, Sabu is no match for Cooper physically - even if he were completely healthy. So it's been a challenge to take turns with the dogs, and I've been hoping they would learn to play more nicely together since the beginnning.

Last week we had a breakthrough: I was outside in the yard with both dogs and of course, Cooper was trying to get a jousting game going. To my surprise, I saw what can only be described as Sabu TEACHING Cooper how he wanted him to play with him: he would snap and run at him when Cooper grasped his back - and drop his front end and run when Cooper went airborne to joust - effectively causing him to sprawl on the ground. A few times of this, and the dogs were doing more of the open mouth, neck thing - and then chasing each other. Sabu is funny: he is still pretty agile from all our years of running together, so he is quick: darting to and fro - while Cooper is like a steam engine: big, powerful and coming right at you! He has taken more nose dives - and is such a good sport about it - that it is funny.

ANYWAY! Today we are decorating our Christmas tree and so I supervised the dogs outside together this morning to get them tired. They came in, had breakfast and were laying around and so I let them outside again while the kids and I got started on our tree. They were tired of jousting and were just sniffing around the yard when I left them. I went back a few minutes ago to check on them and found Sabu, with toy in his mouth, trying to get Cooper to chase him. This would not be significant except Sabu basically has ignored any toy or fake bone I've bought for him over the last 6 years (except for this groundhog toy which my little parrot learned to mimic and drive him crazy but that's another story...). So as they were chasing each other - BOTH like puppies with tails wagging, front legs on the grounds and bums in the air - I finally, FINALLY smiled! They like each other! Whoo hoo! When Sabu turned around and saw me, for the first time since Cooper's come home I saw playfulness in his eyes instead of worry. So. It's all good here in West Michigan. Just wanted to share this story for those who might believe in their hearts that their existing canines will come to like the new one; but don't see any evidence right away. Here's hoping the bonding continues....


At 12/16/2006 5:33 PM, Blogger Debi said...

YEAH! What a breakthough! It's great to the dogs bringing joy to each other. Young ones keep us young, don't they? I love to hear how the dogs teach and learn from each other. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

At 12/17/2006 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Know it's a big relief in your heart that the adjustment is being made. Sabu is such a handsome guy and we don't like it when our "first borns" feel unhappy. Glad the relationship is forming! And I just love the pictures :)

At 12/17/2006 5:10 PM, Blogger Patti said...

That's wonderful news. It seems like it just took Cooper a bit to learn how to play differently. Hopefully your Christmas tree will stay upright:)


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