Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Pixie and Taz: I Didn't Know You Cared So Much

I think the first time Taz became really aware of Pixie's existence was when he was gaily galloping through the house, joyous and oblivious, and she shot out of the kneehole of the desk and took him to school.

She kept schooling him for six months or more. Every day. He could do nothing right. She bullied him into giving up his food, stole his treats, and tried to scare him into packing his bags and leaving. He was long-suffering. He was humble. He did not put up a fight about anything at first.

Taz loves attention. He wants to camp out on humans as often as possible. This was completely disconcerting to Pixie. The poor little neurotic thing, she would trot in circles with her tongue hanging out, worrying about change and its implications.

Finally, she decided that she could not let the boy get all the human affection. Perhaps she could enjoy a little of that too. She started to jump up in a chair with us and after a year or two even learned to give kisses, although if she stops to think about it, she cannot possibly kiss anyone. Kissing can be frightening.

Pixie's shell grew thinner. Sometimes I would see her looking at something Taz was doing with a look on her face that on a human would mean, Oh, that's how we do it. She did not know how to be a dog, but with Taz's joyous example, she was learning.

You would be amazed at the number of people who torture my dog until I get mad and take the dog and refuse to let people touch her. Strangers, relatives, friends, acquaintances. I say, "She is afraid of people." If you ask me, anyone with a little bit of empathy would not try to scare her further, thereby proving to her that her suspicions are well founded.

Taz is very clever, makes up his own tricks, hates to wear clothes, loves to play hide and seek, and hates dry dog food. The way he plays is a treat to watch. I can't imagine feeling that much abandon. He is a fierce hunter in the small backyard, terror to birds, squirrels, and snakes. One day I saw him on his back legs trying to jump up into the sky and get the traffic helicopter.

So Pixie's shell melted little by little. She began to let Taz into her bed, and they'd lie side by side with their heads resting on rumps. Pixie would groom and groom Taz, cleaning his whole face and inside his ears, until he would make a noise that meant, Alright already.

Taz began to settle down and care about what we think. He's very sensitive and can't stand to be spoken to harshly. He minds well unless he's in the presence of other dogs. We don't know what's up with that. I think he needs good citizen classes. At home he's quite hen-pecked.

Pixie still jumps on him sometimes when he's playing with abandon. He will be chasing a ball or just dashing through the house, and little bitty Pixie launches herself at him. Even though she's starting all the trouble, I still get mad at Taz for squeaking her.

Once a little girl at the dog park looked down at Taz and said, "Oh, hi, little wolf guy." I think that's really cute.

Taz claiming the Woodsman as his own.

He still prefers men, and if he gets loose on the street, he runs up to women and barks. I don't know what's up with that either. God forbid he ever gets loose. He leaps about the streets barking with joy and accosting people with dogs on leashes. I have to keep running after him saying, "He's not vicious, just stupid." He chases bicyclists and children on Big Wheels, barking and trying to herd them. He went into the house of a neighbor who left his front door open and the Woodsman had to track him down.

The funniest thing he does: He runs up to the front door of every house, smells the doormat, and pees on the bushes. He continues down one side of the block and up the other, barking, sniffing, peeing, leaping, ever joyous. He knows where he lives and comes home when he feels like it. I try never to let him run out the front door.

So Pixie is becoming a real dog now. She is still easily scared but she has learned the basic commands - sit, down, stay, come, wait. Taz refuses to lie down on command, although he is often eager to lie down. When he is ready for bed, he unmakes my bed and crawls between the sheets. We took to calling him B(eauregard) Tazwell because he isn't really a tasmanian devil anymore. He's older and smoother now.

When we went to the family reunion a few weeks ago, I asked Exley to babysit for Taz. Two little dogs are a lot to handle with thirty people, a lot of them kids, and Taz has a habit of whining nonstop in the car. Exley's backyard is fenced and overgrown with the sort of things that interest a joyous dog. He thinks it's a canine wonderland and Exley likes him, so I didn't feel bad about leaving him.

Exley took this self-portrait for me so you'd know who I'm talking about.

I never expected this to happen, considering the way she acts, but Pixie was bereft without her partner. She hardly wanted to eat, and she just lay at my feet except when she needed a walk. She seemed so sad, and she wouldn't let me get two inches away from her. I imagined she was thinking, Well, she got rid of that other dog, so she could be planning to leave me here.

She was so happy to see that crazy joyful boy again. She twirled and twirled with joy. Somewhere in the past two years she's learned to love him. Some of his habits still annoy her, and you know how it is when a guy gets on your last nerve... you have to school him.


The Green Stone Woman said...

That was a wonderful story about two wonderful dogs and you told it very well. I've really got an idea of what Pixie and Taz are like now and love them from a distance.

gary said...

Lotta joy in that story. Thanks. I especially like the line "worrying about change and its implications". we can all relate to that...

Sweet Pea said...

Animals are so expressive. How could anyone ever hurt an animal? They have thoughts and worries and cares and joys just like us. I love the way you describe their emotional evolution. Love conquers all! They are good for you and you guys are good for them.

powdergirl said...

I just loved so much about that story.
Everything, really.

Thanks for telling it.

paperbatty said...

You guys really know how to make a girl want to write her next blog post. Thanks. Really.

Lydia said...

I think I just fell in love with the Woodsman and Exley. Can I have two fall in loves today?