31 January 2011

Dances With Wolves

Raising so many boys is like managing a pack of dogs. Obedience training is essential, and speaking in short commands works best. Every pack has an alpha dog, a title I assumed was mine because I am most often dealing with the litter. But when The Captain is home, the whole structure rejiggers. It's the testosterone. The Captain is our dominant male but, lately, the older pups have been questioning his authority.

Normally, say, if this were a bunch of wolves, the alpha would squelch a challenger and the others would fall in line. But our pack is not so homogeneous. We have a mix of breeds, from lap dogs to Leonbergers. Each one requires a specialized form of discipline. This is a challenge for The Captain. Especially when dealing with Three.

Three is virtually untrainable. In fact, I would go so far as to say Three is a cat. He's happy to live with us because we feed and pet him, but he's not willing to do anything for us in return. He's almost pathologically self-centered, which can be...irritating. And when you point this out to him, he looks at you with a mixture of disbelief and disdain, which can be...infuriating.

So, The Captain and Three had one of their dog versus cat fights this weekend. Lots of hissing and snarling, claws out, teeth bared. It ended with Three asking if he could go live with his best friend, which would actually be a good fit--they're cat people. But because we aren't allowed to give away our children (I've checked), I threw some estrogen on the fire and smoothed things over. The Captain apologized, and we went back to our daily dance, which lately has been less box-step and more cha-cha: one step forward, three steps back. We're going to keep Three, because we love him, even if we don't understand him. We're dog people, and he's one of our pack.

9 comments:

  1. :) I like your perspective

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  2. Thinking of Three as a cat is a great analogy. I hope the waters will be a little less troubled this week.

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  3. Three is a cat! Why have I never seen this before? Independent, mercurial, aloof, cuddly and winning (but only when the mood strikes), smart, amusing, maddeningly persistent, athletic, but with his own indecipherable agenda.

    A cat. Fascinating. . .

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  4. Nice analogy.

    I would NOT be tempted to throw any of my hormones on anyone's fire today though...I am pms-ing like a crazy person.

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  5. lora-I feel your pain. I'm on regulating drugs that are supposed to control those types of things, and yet, every 24 days or so, ALL OF MY CHILDREN BECOME COMPLETE PAINS IN THE ASS! Good luck to you all.

    Janet-well said. He is all of that and more. Do cat people like that about their pets? Maybe I'll have to start thinking like they do.

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  6. Lora - Hang in there. We've all been there. And I sympathize!

    Megan - I'm never sure what people like about owning cats. I've never understood it, myself. But once you laid out the analogy, it wasn't too tough to map Three's salient characteristics to everything that I know about cats.

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  7. Hey Megan, I followed you from Lucy's and have been trying (for days now) to leave a comment. (They were all hysterically witty and amusing I assure you.)
    I adore your new blog, and invite you to look at mine. I'd like to include you as a link if that is something you're interested in.
    Fingers crossed, going to hit "submit" now (again).
    Julie
    (who is a dog person, with one cat-like kid too)

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  8. Hi Julie! It worked! I'm so happy you were able to follow me from Lucy. Can I ask how you got here? I know Alastair was kind enough to include me in the blog list, but I don't think you can click on my name and fly here yet. Maybe I have to go back and register my site name. I would love it if you would link me, and I'm going to try and do the same with you and the other Betties I read, because we are all hysterically witty and amusing, if you ask me.

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  9. I did just click on your site at Lucy's, you come up in the blog roll as soon as there is a new post here, we all do (it's some kind of magic that Alastair does, there's no explaining these things).
    Linking you to mine now!
    Yay! (So true, we certainly are all witty and amusing and shit.)
    Julie

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