Best Friends


Taken with my I-pad

I've written about it already, but each time I see Alfie and Waffles on Vader's bed I can't help but smile. Seeing them curled up like best friends on the bed that bears my previous dog's name completes a circle for me -- the pack is complete, my human heart is warmed.And, then I am reminded that dogs are very different. Tonight sitting on the sofa, beaming with pride at my two girls curled up beside me, my peace is shattered when Waffles suddenly leaps at Alfie sending her into frantic yips and yelps. It seems the object of contention is the bone Alfie is holding between her paws. Alfie may be putting on a brave front and she definitely seems outraged, but she quickly jumps off the couch and sits on the floor puzzled. Doggie signals are flying and she will not return to her rightful place by my side.

I am at a loss as to what to do. I try to pick Alfie up and place her on the other side of me away from Waffles, but she jumps back down. She is panting and looks upset. I get another bone so they each have one. Waffles continues to give Alfie the evil eye. I can feel the tension between them, the air is taunt as if a physical bond like a rope or chain holds them in place. There is no rope or chain, but there is something I cannot see or understand -- an unspoken language that each dog clearly understands. They are establishing pack rules, their pecking order, although I am hurt and want to intervene. I want to explain to Waffles that this is Alfie's house, she was here first and while I love them both she belongs on the sofa, too. I want to say this, but even if they understood my words it would do no good, my language is not theirs.

I watch and wait, and soon the tension dissappates. I am not sure what they have worked out. Have they forgotten their squabble? Is it settled? From previous experience with dogs I know that it is not the end for good, but it is for now. It is the first step in the two establishing a relationship that will work for them.

A couple of hours later Alfie is back on the sofa. Waffles is curled up asleep on its arm and Alfie is eating the coveted bone. Who won? I wonder, but I realize it is not about winning. It is difficult to understand any family from the outside, to understand its unspoken rules. This family is forming and although it may at times leave this human heart perplexed, I can feel the unspoken bond -- the pack is complete.