Well, it happened. Newt maimed one of the boys. (OK. OK. Not maimed. Scratched.)
And, of course, it was Lucas.
We don’t know what happened. Everyone was hanging out, there was a scuffle, then his ear was bleeding. Frankly, I’m astounded that it took this long for it to happen.
But what’s even more astounding about this whole Newt/Lucas situation is that, from the very beginning, his behavior toward Newt has been so uncharacteristic.
Yes, he’s reactive to dogs on leash. But otherwise? Lucas is the Gentle Giant. He’s great with puppies and adores small dogs. Anytime there’s a baby nearby, he immediately steps into Guard Dog mode, pausing only to ensure that the baby’s nose is still cold and wet. He earned the nickname Lennie (remember Of Mice and Men?) because he’s killed a few small animals… but not by actively trying to kill them. Rather, he accidentally killed a vole in my parents’ backyard because he was trying to scoop it with his paws. He sealed the nickname when did the same thing with a wayward baby bunny.
Before we introduced the dogs to Newt, we predicted that Lucas would love her best.
Obviously, though, we’re miles beyond where we were with the two of them a few months ago. Periodically, I discover them napping within a couple feet of each other. On rare occasions, Newt tries to chew on Lucas’ tail – which she does with the other two – but he usually gets up and walks away as soon as she tries. And, no one has to be separated when we leave the house. Free reign for all!
I imagine that there’s always some tension when you throw dogs and cats together. They’re just so different! But, she and Cooper are the best of friends, and she and Emmett have come to an “I ignore you, you ignore me” agreement.
Newt and Lucas… it’s still tense and strained, though not all the time. Those good moments… whew! Heart-melting!
Either way, this situation has been an incredible teacher for me. I think because I felt like I “knew” their personalities so well, I could make predictions like, “Lucas will love Newt,” forgetting that Lucas is his own dog. It’s been a solid reminder to take things as they come and not take their idiosyncrasies for granted. (Now, I just need to apply this lesson to Cooper and the new-found terror of the car…)
It’ll never cease to amaze me just how much I learn from my dogs.
What about you? Has your dog taught you anything lately?