We have these two dogs.
Sugar is 12 and the greatest dog in the history of dogs. Seriously.
Lizzie is almost 3. She is not the greatest dog. She is not even the greatest basset hound. She has a very pure heart, but she’s 70 lbs of ready, fire, aim.
She and Sugar rarely see eye to eye and as Sugar gets older and more arthritic, Lizzie has begun to assert her place in the pack.
Shea is not having this. Sugar is his dog and he will fight to preserve her place. Even though I have told him that dogs do this. The leadership naturally passes to the younger dog. It’s useless for us to interfere. There’s nothing we can say or do.
This does not stop him from trying.
So when Lizzie started barking at Sugar constantly last weekend, Shea had no patience.
Lizzie barked at Sugar to get up from her bed. Shea yelled at Lizzie to stop.
Lizzie barked from the top of the stairs at Sugar down at the bottom. Sugar whined back and Shea chased Lizzie down the stairs and out the doggie door.
Lizzie howled from downstairs at Sugar asleep in her bed. Over and over and over. “She needs to leave Sugar alone” Shea said. But I wasn’t sure that was it.
I did a once over on the floors. Sugar has been known to have accidents and Lizzie has been known to tattle on her.
I checked their food and water. I fed them. We have to separate them and this resulted in Lizzie barking frantically at the closed door where Sugar was eating.
I told Shea “She’s not barking at Sugar. She’s trying to tell us something.”
So Shea checked the backyard for signs of critters, invaders, space aliens. Nothing.
This went on for four days.
Yesterday afternoon, Lizzie set up a giant fuss in the girls’ room. I finally called her up the stairs and she came. But then she whined at Sugar in her bed for five minutes until I made Gabriel take her for a walk.
Last night she did it again. And let me just say again, she’s a basset hound. She only has one volume: full-throated. It reverberates through the body.
I’d had enough. Off I stomped down the stairs.
Lizzie was on pointe in the doorway of the girls’ room. That gave me pause.
When I stepped into the room, she gave one last bark and bolted.
Holy moly, I thought. What’s in here?
Then I saw it.
When Lizzie was barking at Sugar to get out of her bed, what she was really saying was “DUDE! There’s something down there!!! Get up!! I don’t know what it is!! Get up! Get up! Get up!”
Then “It’s right there. Right there. RIGHT. THERE. Be careful. But get it! Get it! Get it!”
And “PEOPLE. I don’t want food. There is a thing in the house that is going to eat the children if you don’t get it right now!!!!
She was right.
Beware the sheepskin.
My inlaws gave it to the kids on Sunday. Since then it has been spread out and folded up in different places all over the house. At one point Gabe put it on and chased his sisters around.
To a dopey dog with a small brain, I’m sure it looked like a monster. A monster that moved, curled up on the couch and slept on the floor in the girls room.
Poor thing. Just trying to keep us all safe.
Shea has apologized.
And I’m pretty sure that Sugar laughed herself to sleep.