Sure, a second dog is a good idea. Gives the first one a companion. I bought that. . . and, so, there’s Bowie.
That no one ever consulted the pet with the most seniority — Sonny, of the feline sort — has led to a fair degree of resentment, as well as pee and poo deposited in undesirable locations. It hasn’t been so long a time that I don’t remember Sonny’s deviousness where it concerned my sweet Scout. He used to lie in wait around a corner, crouched and ready to ambush my gentle little kitty. She had no use for him, but from her current vantage point on high, she must be smiling and thinking about the beauty and rightness of poetic justice.
Bowie builds in quality time every day — multiple times a day — so that Sonny should never feel neglected. He appreciates Sonny in ways that are unrecognizable to him, that make him anxious. Because of the said level of “appreciation”, Sonny has taken to over-grooming his tail. You should see what that looks like these days!
It all has me thinking about the pecking order that establishes itself, quite naturally. No amount of cajoling, psychologizing, gating, or sweet-talking seems to alter the course of domestic history. At present, Bowie is enjoying an outsized degree of supremacy. He drubs little Mona, he corners and harasses Sonny, and his general swagger — both in home and out in public — suggests that, despite the yearned-for results of bootcamp, I am at the end of his leash, not the other way around.
Admittedly, I haven’t been as consistent as I should be in order to make the usual commands stick; things like sit, stay, leave it, off, come, get-out-of-the-trash, drop-the-poop. Outside of the home, progress is more discernible, but the signs inside are discouraging. I have an improvised gate at the bottom of the stairs on the main level (with a heavy tool bag wedged against it), my deck has another gate, one that is free-standing. (It is only a matter of time before Bowie discovers that if he paws at the edge or noses it, he will gain blissful admission to the free world.)
The most frustrating signal that I’m losing the battle concerns the trash barrel. Once upon a time I was able to have a tall kitchen trash barrel, no lid, open to the elements. In my stubbornness, I have failed (thus far) to concede that a small barrel under the sink is my only remaining option. Instead, I have a lidded stainless steel one to which Bowie recently learned how to gain access. At first he would tug on the plastic liner, which would bring the goods up and into the lid, causing the lid to lift. In answer, I readjusted the liner so that it wouldn’t extend outside the barrel. From my standpoint, it made for a messier affair internally. However, Bowie’s determination led him to re-think his mission and come up with a more creative mode of access. Hence, the “flick and dive”, meaning he would flick the lid with his nose and thrust his head in with one smooth move. My counter-move has been to place a hand weight on top of the barrel. Obviously, he’s going to figure out how to nose it off, and I’ll be confronting what I know must be done: place a small barrel under the sink. . . and then rig a fail-proof lock system on the doors.
This is where I fall on my own sword, my friends.