So I’m fostering a Chihuahua that comes from an abusive home. She’s the sweetest dog. My Rufus kinda likes her. Enough to let her live in the house anyway. Petra’s older than he is and submissive because of her past and I’m sure that has helped him to accept her. She’s not all in his face like a puppy would be.
I’m a sucker for animals. No spoiler alert here. This is a well-known fact. I have a menagerie of four-legged creatures prancing through my house at all hours. I’ve been bringing home strays since I was in kindergarten and it hasn’t stopped since I’ve gotten older. If anything it’s gotten worse since I’ve started paying my own way in the world.
Petra is the last for a while though – I won’t foster any more after her. My new place is just too small. She’s very sweet and thankfully gets along well with Rufus, the current master of the doggy domain. They’re not BFFs or anything, but they don’t snarl at each other either which is good enough for me. My pets, all rescues, tend to run the house more than I do. Unsurprisingly my love for animals (a.k.a. “pushover-ness“) is a trait that my daughter, Sarah, is also afflicted with. Whether it’s hereditary through an active “can’t say no to those cute eyes” gene or a learned behavior from yours truly we will never know. The point is, she’s got it, too. Big time. Not only is she the next generation of what we call ‘bringer home of strays,’ but she actively (and against house rules) spoils the ones we already have.
For instance, she likes to feed the dogs French fries. Yes, yes, I know about the health risks and blah blah blah. I can almost hear their tiny little arteries slamming shut from the other side of the house, but it’s so hard not to let her feed them because they love them so much. How can we deprive these furry family members a little treat for protecting our house and warding off any evil mailmen?
We’re not quite sure what Petra went through before she got to us, but it’s obvious she was dragged through the gutter and is still a bit shell-shocked from it. When the opportunity comes to nab a free French fry she has no shame in gulping it down as quickly as possible. I mean, you just never know when the French fries might disappear. Sarah holds out a fry and Petra chomps for it so quickly she almost takes a few fingers with her (although in all honesty she’s missing a bunch of teeth so even if she did clamp down on Sarah’s hand it probably wouldn’t hurt). She’s a dog that knows that life isn’t one big living room rug to sprawl out and fall asleep on so you can’t really blame her.
The funny part is the effect it’s been having on Rufus. In pre-Petra times Rufus wouldn’t have touched a French fry if his life depended on it. Chicken yes. Roast beef, hell yes. French fries? Eh, not so much. Now, with this little Chihuahua competing for the leftovers, even those he doesn’t want, Rufus has had to step up his own game and show some spunk of his own lest he be dethroned by this overeager street dog.
I watch the games from the comfort of my chair. Sarah will start tossing French fries, one at a time, alternating between the two dogs. If you’re a dog owner then you can understand that dogs don’t quite understand the concept of waiting their turn. They both try to catch the fries in mid-air but with different motivations running through their heads. Petra, the scrappy newcomer, lunges because she wants it in her mouth as quickly as possible in case it disappears. Rufus, the old guard, springs up simply because he doesn’t want to share. More times than not they collide. Sometimes the fry bounces in the air off their noses for a few turns, sort of like a soccer ball being passed between players, as each dog jockeys for the ideal position to have it drop into their mouth. Other times, the fry falls to the floor which lets loose a melee of commotion as their paws slide along the wood floor, and what teeth they have (neither have many) click-clack crazily after their prize. They don’t fight. It never, ever gets mean. They just want that damned fry!
Sarah barely notices. She’s usually tossing the fries willy-nilly while reading or watching TV so the little spars are lost on her. To an outsider she probably looks a little like one of those old ladies in a park feeding bread to pigeons…if the pigeons were a frenzied sort of rabid, savage, Walking Dead kind of pigeons.