Welcome to a special edition of Tuesday Twin Talk honoring my ‘first furry child’, Bummy, our Lhasa Apso, who is 14+ years old and unwell. I’m sharing a story I wrote about his first encounter with his new ‘twin sisters’ all those years ago.
It’s a dog’s life
Raising his head from white, fluffy paws, the Lhasa Apso narrowed his black, bulbous eyes in disgust. His people were bringing something into the place he’d overseen for five long years. Dog years, mind you, are much longer than a mere human’s. With a total disregard for all the love he’d lavished upon them, they hadn’t given a thought to the disruption they were causing to their perfect family.
Until now, he’d had an entire house of his own to roam during the day when his people left and a window to peer out at the world. His family adored him and he lived to protect his house through a ferocious display of barking and frothing of spittle. Now it was all going to change.
Lately he’d felt unwelcome on his female’s lap, where he curled up each evening for her petting pleasure. With each passing day, her lap provided less and less room for him. One day she’d even pushed him off! At least he thought that was her poking into his back. He couldn’t be sure, but the message was clear…move! Forced to lie on the floor like a common dog, this was not providing him the love he was accustomed to.
The room that used to be an ideal place to stash treats and toys was now off limits. His favorite chair was gone. Instead the room overflowed with stuffed toys, which looked like all the rest of hisstuffed toys. Yet for unknown reasons, he wasn’t permitted to even sniff, let alone play with any of them. He knew this because he’d been thrilled to discover the white stuffed rabbit he thought his humans had gotten for him. He plucked it up and spent a delicious afternoon mauling it.
When his female arrived home that afternoon, he proudly trotted out with the tattered rabbit clutched in his jaws, to display what a fierce protector he was. Instead of praise, the toy was unceremoniously removed from him. Even more humiliating was the scolding that followed. He was forbidden to reenter the room.
He’d attempted to sneak in to retrieve the treats he’d hidden, or at least destroy some of the outlawed toys, but was unsuccessful. The door was kept closed tight, forcing him to sniff under the crack of the door. It was pathetic.
The last few days his female was missing. The male brought home a tiny pink fabric and laid it on his spot…his spot on the bed! Upon doing a routine smell-inventory (i.e., acceptable and known smells to the canine species) he discovered it smelled…unusual. Like a human, but not. Something was definitely up.
The creaking garage door announced the humans return. He rushed out to receive his customary greeting of petting and bestowing of love upon him. He came to an abrupt halt and began twitching his black nostrils in the air. The smell! It was back and stronger than before. His female was carrying…something. Both his male and female were entirely focused upon it. They hadn’t even noticed him. They only had eyes for that, that…home-wrecking-invader!
It was go time.
He had to shine now to try to maintain his rightful place in the home. Bringing out the big guns, he began displaying his fabulous tricks. Surely that little thing couldn’t top this. He sat, begged, held out his paw, laid down and rolled over. Still they paid him no mind. Finally he resorted to dancing on his hind legs, something he’d never do willingly without the promise of a treat. He stopped, mid-pirouette. They didn’t even pause. His people continued through the house, enamored with the little creature that probably couldn’t even do one trick.
He scurried after them.
Darting around their legs, he slipped into the forbidden room before they could close him out. He wanted to catch a glimpse of his replacement. What could be cuter than him? His humans placed it into the caged bed. This was a relief. He’d been worried he was going to lose his place in the family bed and be returned to this cage. He spied a treat tucked under the cage. He’d hidden it about a month ago, stashing extra rations in case he was incarcerated there. Reluctantly he pulled his gaze away. The treat would have to wait. He had more important matters to attend to.
He rushed over to the side and perched on his hind legs to get a peek. Upon first glimpse he thought it was just the little fabric again, until he saw it moving. Strange grunts and gurgles emitted from the bundled form. Sounds he’d never heard his humans utter. Tiny arms reached out of the fabric and began to flail around.
Suddenly, an ear-piercing scream shattered the air.
He fell back off his haunches. Scuttling back he retreated behind his female’s legs, his customary response to impending danger. His tiny body quaked, uncertain what to expect. He was confident his people would now see the error in their ways, choosing this creature over him.
Now, that thing is going to go right back to the cage it came from, he thought. The humans barely tolerated his barking fits, always telling him to be quiet. There was no way this thing would be allowed to stay, acting like that. He looked up at his humans in anticipation. They didn’t seem upset. In fact, they were smiling! His female reached down to pick up the screaming, flailing thing and held it against her.
His male and female peered down at the little creature, making the cooing sounds that had been for his ears alone since he came and dominated this home. Reality came crashing in. They’d found his replacement. He opened his black jowls, flung back his floppy ears and let out a howl of anguish in his canine tongue. All his efforts were in vain; he’d lost against this tiny terror.
His howling finally made his humans pause and notice him. They looked startled by his distress. They’d never heard him emit such a woeful sound. His female said, “Poor Bummy, don’t cry. It’s just your new baby sister.” She held down the creature for his inspection.
It was indeed a mini-human. He instantly disliked the creature and all the distress and change it brought. But surely, this thing couldn’t replace him. It was smaller and totally helpless. It wouldn’t be able to do anything to secure the family’s safety. With no teeth and squinty eyes it couldn’t compete with his razor sharp vision that missed nothing. Humph, he thought, that thing can’t even walk.
The mini-human stopped wailing and looked at him with total trust. He sniffed it, infuriated that it wouldn’t cower in fear. He cocked his head in contemplation. This helpless thing needed a protector, even more so than his male and female. This, he could do.
He gave a little snort, to convey he wasn’t interested in the new arrival. Retrieving the treat stashed under the cage he trotted out with his head held high. Perching himself in his usual spot in front of the window, he gazed around for impending threats. As always, he had a family to guard.