AIN’T NO UNDER-DOGS IN THIS PACK!

We ain’t got no underdogs in this house! All three dogs are over-dogs, to us anyway.

Well, okay. I suppose in polling the three dog pack, Bonnie heads the list as top dog. She has been top dog since she got here at 10 weeks old. It’s something in her personality and every other dogs acknowledges her position. And they are fine about it. She is the leader, but a very good-tempered, charming leader. The kind of boss you wish you’d had.

Duke is in the middle. He wants to be on top, but that’s not something you choose. I think nature chooses for each dog. Gibbs has chosen the bottom of the little pecking order and has never shown any enthusiasm to be anywhere but where he is. We treat them the same — mostly. They eat the same food and get the same treats with as much love as they a willing to accept.

Bonnie
Bonnie

Bonnie is the most independent of our pooches. She will join you on the sofa — for a while — but she has her own stuff going on. She doesn’t want to hang out for long petting sessions. She drops by for a visit, plays a while, then goes off and does her thing. Gibbs is our protector. If he senses a stranger somewhere nearby, he’s out barking at it. He’s a good barker. Sounds much bigger than he is, although he is also bigger than he appears. And has quite the set of jaws on him.

The Duke

Duke is busy, busy, busy. A classic middle kid, he has to make sure everyone is doing what they should be doing and apparently, he knows what that is. He certainly knows when play time and ball throwing time has come. He rounds everyone up, jumps up on each person to make sure they are in one piece — which he does by sniffing each piece of you, with a special stop at your ears. He does love sniffing ears, which makes me giggle.

Gibbs

Gibbs looks like an underdog, though. He is the saddest looking dog in the world. He looks sad while he eats a treat and not every dog can do that!

United, they are our pack. When we get up in the morning, it feels like we have at least a hundred of them, all swirling and woofing and huffing and chuffing. Circling around you as you carefully move towards the kitchen, trying to avoid stepping on — or being stepped on — by one of the pack.

Our dogs. Our gang.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

22 thoughts on “AIN’T NO UNDER-DOGS IN THIS PACK!”

  1. I love how you describe your pets as if they are your children (because they are, I know). Bonnie seems true to her breed as well. I hope to have a dog again when I retire (now I am away from home at least 12 hours would be selfish on my part.) I also have to find a dog that will get along with my Bette, my bff (best feline friend). I have not had the heart to get another dog since my Desiree (mini schnauzer) died in my arms the morning of 9/11. But in the past year, I feel I may be ready now.

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    1. Dogs have come and gone here and when we were down to just two — Bonnie and Gibbs — I thought they would be our last two. And along came Duke, who was the unplanned one. He has changed everything, mostly in a good way. The chewing off of the coffee table corners wasn’t in our plans, but he has livened up the whole pack and that WAS what we wanted. We aren’t able to go running around with them, but they do run around a lot more.

      Having dogs is hard. NOT having dogs is also hard. They aren’t REALLY our children, but they are, overall, more grateful than children. Also, friendlier.

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  2. What a lovely pack they are too! In the days when I had four dogs, Sausha, who was a mixed breed of uncertain origin – she looked for all the world like a black lab, but a lot smaller (35 lbs). She was Alpha in the pecking order. She was hubby’s dog – bonded with him and preferred his company over any one else’s. His death was a blow to her, she’d watch for him every day and while still cordial to me, seemed inconsolable. Giving lie to the thing that people say about dogs having no feelings. Gypsy, a pure-bred long haired standard dachshund was next and she was mine. We got her at two years of age (about) and I didn’t know what to make of the pile of fur that got out of the crate the people bringing her to us transported her in. She had been dumped (her coloring was really unique – she was dapple gray with brown and black and white mixed in and the vet said that’s probably why she got dumped as a pup, they couldn’t show her with her strange coloring). She weighed 50 lbs at her top weight and she was my ‘girl’. I still miss her a great deal – I put Gypsy and Sausha to sleep before I moved because Sausha was 16 and Gypsy 14 and I was living in a motel for a few months prior to moving and felt it would be too traumatic for them at their ages. Then there was Toro, a rescue – he was 10 when I got him and he tried vainly to become alpha, but Sausha soon set him right…he was a chihuahua and he and Hunydog (the lone survivor now) lived in the motel with me and then we all moved into my current home. I had him for four years before his trachea collapsed to the point he could no longer breathe properly. Huny remains Queen of the Domain here, but when she’s gone (she’s 10 and I’m planning on her living for another 8-10 years at least…chihuahuas have long life spans for dogs), I won’t be getting any more. It’s just too hard on the heart when they finally have to go. Thank YOU for sharing your beautiful family with us!

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    1. We almost stopped when we had only Bonnie … but the dogs give us a lot of joy. They are also expensive and a pain in the neck — but life would be very dull without them. Most people our age are giving up on pets, but for now, they really improve our lives.

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  3. I love your description of your “pack”. Completely delightful. I can readily picture them ensconced in their daily activities. The pictures are fabulous. Love what you did there. I particularly enjoyed the saddest dog in the world enjoying treats. I’ve seen such dogs and am always either amused or astonished at how tragicly sad they can look.

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    1. Having a little pack of dogs is more fun than one dog. They are less dependent on humans and more dependent on each other, though they definitely know where you come into the picture and they are never unwilling to get a hug, a pet, a tossed ball … or a biscuit. Dogs ARE pack animals. Watching them interact with each other is fascinating. They talk to each other. Soundlessly, but time and time again, we’ve watched one dog go to another, watch that dog get up and the two of them go to the third dog, who gets up and then they all go do something together.

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      1. I know, I see it with the 3 cats! It has become quite intense around here the last 3 weeks. I have Porsche ( a big Chantilly Lace cat, black) Abbey is one of my daughter’s cats and decided to live with US and then there’s Sugar. Sugar after a year and a half began visiting. These two guard the door so she can’t get through. Now she’s determined, comes to visit, so Abbey is going over to my daughter’s house and visits even stays over on occasion. Porsche is now guarding the door and won’t let either in. He growls like a dog btw. It’s quite amusing. but they walk by each other and the look says it all.

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  4. Lexi was the underdog with Lucky but now she is the alpha with Remy. She’s a reluctant alpha though. Not very pushy or demanding. But every once in a while she hauls off and attacks Remy, which is quite unsettling. It can be over a bone or our attention, but often it seems to come out of the blue. Remy is very deferential, so she doesn’t seem to trigger these attacks. No matter what we do, we can’t get her to stop. Fortunately, they’re few and far between.

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    1. We had that between a couple of our dogs, but fortunately, quite a long time ago. We were told if the attack lasts more than a flash, lift up the rear legs of preferably both dogs. They can’t attack without using their back legs to push — and no humans will get accidentally bitten that way. I don’t know what sets it off. I think they hold grudges — in their own way.

      It was very rare and no one needed stitches — at least neither of the dogs. I did once, but not bad enough for a hospital. I bandaged myself heavily. I didn’t want to report a dog bite to the doctor and figured it would heal by itself (it did).

      That sort of battle seems to ALWAYS be between two spayed females. They hold grudges. The boys don’t seem to hold grudges. Just the ladies.

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  5. Pack rank is certainly a thing, and unlike with some things, size doesn’t matter. It can also change almost instantly when a new member comes or goes. Ody, despite always being the BIG cat, was omega to Spilly’s alpha. In the 5 days that passed between Spilly’s departure and Biskit’s arrival, Ody was already taking on alpha duties and ready to let the newcomer know who the boss was around this joint. There may not be an “undercat” term, but cats definitely have their social order like dogs do…

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    1. I’ve seen that in domestic cats too. Cats aren’t supposed to be pack animals, but I think they’ve picked it up from living in houses with people — and dogs. Hell, dogs have learned to grin from watching smiling people, so why can’t a cat learn pack manners?

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  6. Dogs help us realise that no matter how crazy the world gets there is always someone who loves us and who we can love back! They help keep us sane – and amused of course! 😉

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