A curious creature isn’t he?
His name is Buddy. Buddy is in our care for a week or so while his
owner companion is out of state for the holidays. He’s a mature dog and pretty smart, even gets along with Lucy, which is important because although Lucy has a very, very long fuse when it comes to aggression, she can bring out her whoop-ass when necessary, and Buddy is no match for her in that respect. Buddy discovered that this past summer when we watched him for a few days. He was in the backyard with Lucy and thought it would be good fun to nip at her ankles, and then run away when she turned to stop it. Of all the things Lucy playfully tolerates (nearly everything) ankle nipping is not among them. The Happy Wife said to me when I got home, “One minute they were playing, and the next I look out the window and Buddy is on his back, with Lucy’s mouth around him pressing him to the ground.” She didn’t mean to harm him, only to stop him, to let him understand in no uncertain terms: Don’t do that anymore. And just like that it was over and they continued playing.
It’s a model of the kind of swift justice quickly followed by detente that we (qua humans) envision for ourselves after a transgression. It’s what people mean, I think, when they say, “You can learn a lot from a dog.”
I finished our annual holiday newsletter today. It goes out via snail mail later this week to every
victim recipient on my mailing list. If you wish to be added to the mailing list email me your snail mail address, or just wait a few weeks, I usually post a link to the pdf version here.