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Dominance and Submission

I have now met the world's meekest dog.

Ayla is an Australian Shepherd puppy. Kitten's puppy. She is a shiny black shorthaired dog with a sweet face and big brown eyes. She is scared of everything and everybody. She grew up in a shelter, she was taken into the Humane Society as a very small pup and not adopted out because she had some problems that needed to be cleared up before she was presentable -- she lost all her hair in anxiety and so they gave her special care, fed her up, took care of her veterinary needs and released her as a four month old.

Yep, not even five months old. She's a large puppy that'll grow to be about Zoe's size, maybe a bit smaller.

She has an engaging, waifish manner. I met her last night. She was meek. She did not bound up to play the way Zoe did. She sat down and looked up at me with the big brown eyes shivering a little and hoping that I liked her -- every quivering inch of her big-head, big-eared, big-footed little body was focused on me with this endearing "Do you like me? Am I good enough to be in the pack?" manner. I petted her gently and let her sniff my hand. She dutifully and thoroughly sniffed both my hands, my knees, my face and breath, but didn't lick me or jump up. She was scared but not mean-scared, more hesitant and shy.

Meanwhile, in order to get Ayla, we had to get Ari's shots in order. kkitten42 made the appointment the day that she first met Ayla and picked her out. Our usual vet was on vacation so we had the substitute veterinarian, a bloke who likes animals better than people. I rather approve of this, since it's my cat's health that really matters. Kitten warned him on the phone. "Be careful. This cat is a chainsaw."

I didn't really expect him to misbehave much. After all, he is the world's best traveling cat. He settles down in his carrier like it's the natural way of the world and he'll ride for 12 hours between states without a meow, sleeping and occasionally watching out the window. But Kitten was right to warn them.

It started when the assistant began to clip his claws. "That was when he started trying to kill people." Disarming him temporarily was absolutely necessary, because he continued to try to kill people all the way through the rectal exam, ear and eye exam, and worst of all getting his belly palpated.

Ari has a ticklish tummy. Many cats like having their fluffy bellies petted. Not Ari. I am the only person in the world who he allows to ever touch the fluffy tummy, and I have to do it special-right exactly the way he likes it or I'll tickle him. Slow gentle petting that starts in a non ticklish area and flows smooth and firm down his tummy to slide off rather than stop on the irresistible fuzzy tummy. Absolutely no scritching, poking, prodding, palpating the way a veterinarian has to in order to find out if the cat's got internal problems.

Quote from Dr. Bradford, during the stethoscope part where he was listening to Ari's heartbeat and breath. "Would you please breathe deep one or two breaths without roaring? I can't hear your heart well past the roaring."

He talks to cats reasonably as people, this is a point in the vet's favor. But I do not think Ari has forgiven him those indignities.

When he came home he was all rattled and a bit shocky. He'd been carried off by alien veterinarians and been probed and clipped and handled without mercy. He spent the rest of the day in the bathroom crunched up in the "Shortened Brick" pose with his fur poofed out, and went to sleep that way with his eyes slitted. I petted him and talked to him quietly every time I went in and he blinked in the most confused way when I did.

By the time I went to bed, he went to the end of the bed and sat fluffed up the same way down at the foot of the bed. I laid down and he did walk up over my body to hunch up and snuggle near my hand. I petted him and made much of him and he went to sleep leaning on me, but didn't purr or woolbite last night. Today he seems more like his old self though, prowling around our room, watching birds, watching the kids, listening to the dog training in the other room. He's survived the Invasion of Dr. Bradford from Planet Vet.

Amazingly enough, he does not seem intimidated by Ayla. I think he knows Zoe well enough now to comprehend that Ayla is a submissive dog. Her reaction to the Cat Test at the Humane Society was to ignore the cat. Ari's reaction to her arrival was to ignore the new puppy. So they have truce and I'm sure if they bump into each other as Ari rambles through canine territory, she will bow to Ari as the Cat King that he is.

So we are having fun with critters. When Ayla has settled in a bit and all, I may try to get some pictures so I can post them. She is a pretty dog and so gentle. I liked her immediately, maybe it's just that Ayla could fluff up anyone's ego with a look. Both dogs are outside now, appreciating the wonderful reality that the house has a yard and dogs can play in the yard.
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( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 3rd, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
Hee hee, thanks.

He's now back to his usual self spread out over a surprising area of the bed, being very flat and furry. Sound asleep.
Jul. 3rd, 2008 07:42 pm (UTC)
Poor violated Ari. :(

Glad to hear he's getting over it though. ;)
Jul. 3rd, 2008 08:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah. He's getting extra special attention today and he's sleeping it off. I'm glad he's more back to his old self. Last night he was so bleary and freaked that it was as if he was on drugs. He was just sitting there hunched up in a fuzzy ball squinting at the world.
Jul. 3rd, 2008 09:21 pm (UTC)
Poor Ari, having to suffer such indignities. :p

Ayla sounds very cute; I look forward to pictures, if and when you post them! :D
Jul. 3rd, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
She is. She is a very pretty puppy. Long nose, big brown eyes, shiny short black fur, big ears that go up and then tip over at the tops just a little. She has cute ears. Zoe's ears stand straight up like a wolf's.
Jul. 4th, 2008 05:51 am (UTC)
Poor Ari. Cedric's due for a vet visit soon; looking at how peaceful he is right now, sleeping in a sunbeam, I don't think I can bear to inflict a vet visit on him.
Jul. 4th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
It's hard, isn't it? I wound up reassuring him by reminding him I have to go in for my GP visit every year and get the same thing happening to me.

He has gone completely back to his old self except for being a bit curious about our new puppy, Ayla.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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