We had the advantage over Jessie and Colter, however. There were seven other dogs there and they didn’t know any of them. Upon arriving, we all set about the process of getting to know one another. There was a great deal of butt-sniffing (mostly by the dogs) and some growling and snarling (almost exclusively by the dogs). There were two dachshunds: Max, a regular run-of-the mill wiener dog and Bailey, a long-haired breed with a head much too big for his body. He looked kind of like a cartoon character but he was pretty sweet. There were two Jack Russell terriers, Bonnie and Clyde. Their names really say it all. There was Tiva, an older Lab/German Shepherd mix, who was quite mellow and pretty much remained above the fray. There was Clare, another mature female dog who was basically in charge of the camp. Then there was Riley. Riley is a one year old boxer who came in with her owners a number of hours after we had arrived. The dogs had already set up something of a pecking order so she really upset the apple cart.
From the get-go, Colter, being the youngest, got picked on. It was embarrassing and a bit humiliating to see him getting chased around the campfire by these tiny, noisy Jack Russells who pretty much believe they can whip the world (more about that later). When Riley arrived, I think Colter thought he might be off the hook since she’s younger than he is. It turns out that she didn’t want to be at the bottom of the ladder either. They glared at each other non-stop. Periodically, one would saunter over and invade the other’s territory and they would get into a little dust-up which freaked out some of the humans but didn’t seem to bother the dogs much. I wanted to ask them how they could have a “territory” since they just got there!! I guess it’s a dog thing.
The humans said all the right things…“We should just let them go at it; they’ll work it out”…but never could seem to follow through with that idea. As a result, a couple of times a day, the peace and tranquility of the beautiful mountain setting was disturbed by snarls, snaps and people screaming, “STOP IT!” Fortunately, no blood was shed, either among the dogs or the humans. One little humorous and ironic note was that at one point, Riley was the aggressor towards Colter, jumping on him. Our Jessie, who is a fifty pound white Lab/Shepherd mix, leaped out like Wonderdog and backed Riley down. The irony, of course, is that at home, Jessie rules the roost and routinely kicks Colter’s butt even though he out-weighs her by twenty-five pounds. I guess it’s kind of a family thing though. We can fight with each other but if an outsider messes with one of us, he messes with all of us. I was proud of Jessie.
Somewhere along the way, Clyde, the male Jack Russell, decided that Jessie was a pretty hot mama and began making amorous overtures towards her. BIG MISTAKE!! Jessie does not suffer fools or horny little terriers. I happened to glance up the hill where Colter, Clyde and Jessie were playing and caught sight of Clyde running back to camp as if his tail was on fire with Jessie right behind him. For better or worse, she let him live. There’s probably a lesson in there that could generalize to many young men in our society. No means no. And don’t call me a bitch, even if I am one (as in female dog)…but I digress.
We had some great hikes and the dogs just loved it. On one, Bonnie and Clyde accompanied us…apparently there is a different set of rules away from camp as they were great friends while on the walk. They chased after God knows what, bounding up the side of the mountain like it was nothing, leaping and dashing every which way. They didn’t catch anything but they had a fine time. We had some tired doggies when we got back to camp.
I’ve written recently about how important it is for people to get out in the wilderness away from the hustle and bustle of big cities. I would have to say that it’s equally important to get your dogs out there in the woods, too. They love it and it’s a joy to see. Oh, yeah, and by the way, we humans got along pretty well with each other, too. No fights, minimal butt-sniffing, almost NO political discussions. Hmmm? Could that be why we got along?? Probably just a coincidence.