We have two dogs now, as you probably remember. It’s been interesting.

Before, the golden retriever (Dixie) was a bit too boisterous for me. She has been trained over time not to jump up on us and not to do other annoying things but she still bolted into the house too fast, sniffed things too much, licked hands too often and generally made you wish you had taken her to obedience school long ago.

Not any more. Now she is exhausted by Benji the ragamuffin. Either that or, next to Benji, she just seems the calmer of the two. Either way, now that they have each other to play with, life is better. They spend a lot of time rough-housing and by the end of the day they both just collapse on the floor and sleep the night away.

They’re each so different that you’d think that we would just double our trouble but I guess we got lucky. Dixie is 50 pounds, Benji only 15. Dixie has long silky gold hair; Benji has short course wiry hair. Dixie is slow to accelerate but has a top speed of at least 30 miles an hour. Benji can’t go too fast but he’s as quick as a snake and can change direction instantaneously. It’s funny to watch them wrestling. Dixie is one color. Benji is several colors right down to his claws: black on the right, blonde on the left. Except for the back feet where it’s reversed.

You can almost imagine what they’re thinking as they wrestle:

Benji: “Hey, look! I can hide under this table and dart out and bite your feet! HAH!”

Dixie: “Yeah well, that’s gonna be hard when I hold you down with one paw – Gotcha!”

SPLAT!

Benji: “Oof! Grunt! Grunt! Hey, get off!”

Dixie: “Ho Hum… OH… look! A little dog under my feet! How did you get there? I’ll bet I can get your entire head into my mouth at once – let’s see…. AAAHHHHH”

Benji: (wiggle wiggle) “OK, I’ve got you now! GRRRRRR GRRRRR GRRRRR”

Dixie: “Ouch! Hey you little piss ant! I’ll get you now; how’s about I go low and grab you where the sun don’t shine! HAH!”

Benji: “Whoa! HEY! That’s not fair you can’t bite me there!”

Dixie: “Oh yeah? Why? You don’t need that thing any more anyway! I’ve been to the vet; I know what they do to you there!”

Benji: “OK, under your legs I go…WHEEE!”

Dixie: “Come back here! Come out from under that table where I can get you!”

Benji: “Sorry, nobody home now. Come back later.”

Dixie: “Ok, I’ll just lay down here and roll over to expose my neck and tender regions as bait.”

Benji: “Surprise! GOTCHA!”

Dixie: “Who’s got who runt? GGRRRRR”

And on it goes, for many minutes at a time. Benji’s big problem is that he has such a short attention span. As soon as anyone stops paying attention to him, he goes in search of more entertainment usually in the form of shoes or stuffed animals – something that is found all over our house since nobody ever puts those things away. He’ll come in dragging one or the other with him with a purposeful manner. Once, he came in dragging a huge laundry bag that Evan and I brought back from a campout. He was determined to take the whole thing somewhere and do who knows what with the contents. He’s hard to punish since he immediately forgets what he was doing and there’s almost no time to scold him. He also thinks it’s cool to get up under the Christmas tree and hide amongst the presents until Dixie tries to follow and thus getting her in trouble.

Dixie is on to him though. When she wants to get rid of him, she will go get one of his chew bones. As soon as he expresses enough outrage to chase her, she’ll lead him away and “accidently” drop it. He will grab it and run away from her; she will watch him go and then casually stroll back to where she was and carry on without him. I didn’t think that dogs were supposed to be able to string those kinds of thoughts together but there you have it. She will also occasionally stand by the door as if she wants out. Benji goes everywhere she goes so when he hears the door open and dashes out, Dixie will just back up inside and walk away and look at you in the hopes you’ll shut the door and leave Benji out. Sometimes she’ll do the opposite; she will ask to be let in and when Benji dashes back into the house, she will just walk away and lay down on the porch as if to say “Whew! Glad he’s gone!”

They’re almost entertaining enough to justify the trouble they cause.

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