In Dog Town, possession is 100% of the law.


It’s a standoff right now with Gibbs staring down Bonnie who temporarily has possession of the prized squeaky squirrel. But the drums are beating and troops have been summoned to peacefully settle what could be a violent clash.

Bonnie has the squirrel
Bonnie has the squirrel

The situation has been escalating. It began peacefully enough when the only toys were a pink starfish and a blue octopus — treaty offerings to quell simmering egos.

Gibbs wants the squirrel, but Bonnie isn't letting go
Gibbs wants the squirrel, but Bonnie isn’t letting go

Bonnie and Gibbs initially seemed open to negotiations over sharing of the prized offerings, but positions began hardening. Still, tribal discussions are prone to last minute changes of heart, so a hedgehog was added to make sharing easier, but only seemed to raise the stakes. Gibbs quickly seized the hedgehog, but Bonnie diverted his attention, grinning as she nabbed the new prize and stowed it in her cage. A standoff ensued. Tensions mounted.

Marilyn was overwhelmed with guilt. She had tried to do the right thing but it was turning sour, threatening to erase the harmony of our family. What to do? Sweeten the pot, naturally! Marilyn acquired another starfish, a big green pretzel, and a fuzzy squirrel. Surely with all these choices, harmony would be restored, discord banished.


The squirrel was a game-changer and took the competition to the next level. We may need a federal mediator to mitigate a worse-case scenario. Following several mad dashes to retrieve the hedgehog and squirrel who were dragged outside by first Gibbs, then Bonnie, Marilyn and I were exhausted. Martial law was considered.

After several bribes in the form of biscuit offerings, a temporary truce was achieved. For the moment, the two dogs have taken up positions at opposite ends of the sofa, each in possession of one or more favorite toys. Gibbs has both the squirrel and the hedgehog — but Bonnie has both starfish. The pretzel has (temporarily?) vanished, into Bonnie’s crate, or the front yard. No one is fighting over the dog and the octopus does not appear to have much traction.

Gibbs, now with both hedgehog and squirrel
Gibbs, now with both hedgehog and squirrel

Squirrel, hedgehog, dog, two star fish, a big pretzel and a bright blue octopus are pawns in an ongoing war between Bonnie and Gibbs. There’s a rabbit in the mail.

Stay tuned for updates.

Author: Garry Armstrong

As a reporter for Channel 7 in Boston for 31 years, I was witness to most of the major events affecting the region. I met a lot of people ... politicians, actors, moguls, criminals and many regular folks caught up in extraordinary situations. Sometimes, I write about the people I've met and places I've been. Sometimes, I write about life, my family, my dogs and me. Or what might otherwise be called Life.


    1. Garry thinks getting another squirrel might make things better. I’m afraid it’ll be the same, but with both dogs trying to hang onto both squirrels. Fortunately, they do not actually fight. No tussling or growling. Just grabbing and guarding and us keep half an eye out for one of them trying to haul the prey out into the muddy yard. I’m about 75% successful with ‘No, Gibbs … do NOT take squirrel outside.” It depends on if Bonnie’s chasing him. If she is, all bets are off. Then, it’s “Dog Business,” no humans required 🙂

      They failed the “ball” test. They want varmints! Although the starfish and pretzel garner some barks, too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ani has her favourite furries…and no-one gets to be rough with those! When we’ve had Hardy to stay, that’s when I get to see her quietly remove and hide anything she values. Like the Princess and the Pea, I found all her tennis balls under her bed 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. oh you have made my day. This is hysterical.

    Have you considered hiding the squirrel (to level the playing field), or just throwing the toys outside and letting them drag them back in? It might confuse them enough to work together Against The Humans

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Judy, they don’t bring anything back in. Their outside battlefield is not a nice place if you get my drift. Retrieving the toys, especially in the dark, is hinky because you don’t know what you may be stepping in.


    2. Tried putting squirrel and hedgehog, the two most contested prizes in out of the way places, but they hunt them down and drag them out. When things settled down yesterday, Gibbs had secured both of them, had hedgehog under his butt with head on squirrel. it really is hilarious. Right now, barking at Other Things Outside … it’s just a temporary truce until the Alien Vehicle leaves the driveway.

      Various delivery services have been trooping in and out of our driveway all morning, whipping the Kanine Kidz into a frenzy. Our missing packages are coming home, one package at a time. Except for a lens that Adorama shipped REGULAR PARCEL POST — in December. Then they charged me $8 too — which they have since refunded.

      I pointed out that this suggests I will never actually gett it. The clock runs out on it Monday. It’s 2nd hand, so also one of a kind. If it disappears, I’ll get the money back, but not the lens. It’s a Leica f1.4 nifty fifty for my Olympus and it was a steal. If I ever actually get it 🙂


  2. Update: Bonnie and Gibbs are OFF the couch and playing with the dog, the squirrel and the hedgehog. I can see white teeth biting the furry toys. Bonnie and Gibbs aren’t couch potatoes right now. A moral victory for Marilyn. Stay tuned!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s like having a couple of wordless, furry toddlers. But the dogs are much more civilized than toddlers. They don’t really fight. They just steal each other’s possessions, then the other goes on alert, waiting for a brief moment of inattention to grab it and run. No growling, no body language suggesting violence to come. They want to possess the thing, but they are not about to savage each other for it. UNLIKE toddlers!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Fortunately, they don’t really fight. They grab a toy and hold onto it, then the other steals it as soon as whoever has it loses focus for a few seconds. Pretty funny, really. There are maybe 10 toys for two dogs, but they always want the same one. Just like kids 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Tricky times. An uneasy truce has settled over the Armstrong household, but who knows how long it will last? I’m sure it will all turn out all right in the end – I believe the allure of squeaky squirrels is but temporary 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know. I offered up a new squeaky rabbit in compensation, but, that squirrel has some special allure. All the stuffed critters are lined up by the coffee table. Both dogs keep their eyes open and are on full alert. They are now protecting them from US. Tension is mounting. Will the truce hold? Tune in for updates!

      Liked by 1 person

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