I'm going looking for a Shih Tzu for adoption!!!
YES, I CAN, TOO!!!
OK,OK,OK, calm down, here's the deal. It's not for me. I ran into some neighbors a couple nights ago. They were out walking with their dog as I was returning home. I stopped and chatted for a few minutes. I asked about why they only walk one dog now, knowing that all three of their Shih Tzu are about the ages of my originals, and learned that within the last few months, they lost two of theirs. So now they have only the one, age 14 or 15. They are thinking about getting a younger girl for the same reasons I went shopping .... as a companion for their old guy and to ease their own way.
They knew I had new dogs, although the didn't know they were all rescues until they talked with a mutual friend. I said I would watch the newsletter for one close by. She laughed and said good, she was planning to give me a call, because she heard that I was the "Rescue Maven" of Lincoln County!
So [singing in my best Madonna voice] I get to go shopping, I get to go shopping, I get to go shopping!! I've already found two possibilities, and I'm waiting until a reasonable hour to call them. :) Happy, happy, joy, joy!!!
Speaking of dogs (and when don't I??), I've noticed recently that Max has become very possessive of me. Frequently, he will sit at my feet or beside me on the couch or next to me on the bed, and if one of the others comes close, he begins that little subtle growl. And if the other baby doesn't heed, it gets louder and can even become a bark or two and a threatening stance!
I was trimming their faces and paws the other day, and when I came to Max I just couldn't trim off this little Fu Man Chu look he has going on! I mean, is that cute, or what?
Max has been the mildest, most easy going of all the dogs. (Well, Joey is mild also, each in his own way.) On the surface, he seems to be mellow and one would think he needs less attention, encouragement, redirection, etc., than the others. Especially compared with Sam, of course. Sam was SO high-maintenance for so long that he took extra time, of course. Then I added Joey to the pack, and it didn't really seem to make a discernable difference. And initially, Jazmyn's homecoming was unremarkable except for the crush Max had on her for the first few days, and then that lessened, too.
As the pack settled in, Max began showing more need for connection with me. I've made sure to pet him and love him frequently. He is not one to crowd his way in. That is the tactic of Sam; when he wants attention, he just marches up and elbows the others out of the way. But Max tends to curl up toward the foot of the bed while Sam plops himself so close to me that I can't turn over.
Mr. I'm the Center of The Universe, in the
Joey and Jazi are somewhere in between those behaviors, neither demanding my attention frequently nor staying out of the mix. Now, I will have to say when Joey gets close enough, he becomes Karate Tongue, licking me until I want to scream! But he doesn't usually force himself in and try to own me nor distance in a way that seems concerning.
The one and only Mr. Karate Tongue!
But Max .... it seems that he is acting out a little bit to show his needs. He is more inclined to pick a fight with his siblings these days, as if his fuse is shorter. He and Sam play together more, and they seem to get into the snarling, snapping disagreements more often.
I'm trying to think if Max's behavior has elevated since China's departure. I think it was there before, but, yes, I do think it is greater or more obvious now. So I wonder if this might settle out when he sees that he is here to stay, that I won't make him go away. And does that mean that when Ali crossed the bridge, Max will go through another surge of insecurity? Or is it unrelated to that at all, and being caused by some other, random, obscure thing going on in his life? Or is he simply telling Sam and occasionally the others that he is going to lead the pack?
Miss Jazmyn, the Queen of all that exists in my house, and don't you doubt it!
This reminds me of a "blended family," where each child is learning what the roles are now in the new grouping. And I guess that is probably about right. I remember when I married my late husband it took a while for his three children and my two so figure out what to do, how to act in certain situations. His "baby" became "our middle child." His middle child became our oldest girl, and my oldest became 4th in line, the second boy, a nondescript role. Perhaps that is the kind of role change Max is experiencing. It took a long time in my family 34 years ago, and it will probably take a while in this one, too.
I'll watch my boy a while longer and see how it goes. It may be simply part of the adjustment and decision-making process as to the leader of the pack. I'll continue to try giving each of them some special time, and to let them all know that each is loved for him/herself. We all have a lot to learn in this house.
For your amusement, here is a video clip of one of Max & Sam having one of the teeth-barred, passive-aggressive stand-offs. You may have to turn your sound very high to hear this, because I was across the room. If I had moved any closer, they would have stopped, so the sound is muted on this. They always stand like two little statues, barely moving if at all, and just grumble at each other. Sometimes this goes on for four or five minutes!!