"Bubz, I'm the alpha male in the house. Leader of the pack!" I looked up at him. He drew his breath in with a sharp whistle. "You look ghastly bubz! Look at those dark circles" I rolled my eyes, "Well, my endless sleeping days are over for a while, someone's got to take care of the leader of the pack", I replied. He puffed his chest out and strutted about, "Why, thank you. I'm glad you've realized who the boss is and are working harder to please your man...in fact, I was thinking, when I wake up in the morning, a steaming cuppa joe and a back rub would be such a fantastic way to be woken up..." He paused when he realized my hand was being held up to silence him..."No? Well just the coffee then...shelve the back rub". He paused again, realizing the hand held more meaning than he had gleaned the first time around. "A gentle tummy tickle then?", he ventured hopefully. I marveled at his optimism considering I am as far from a morning person as one can get and would rather not be spoken to or see anyone until about 11 AM when life seems far rosier in glaring sunshine.
"I was referring to Mia", I clarified. "Mia?", came the puzzled reply. "Yes, Mia", I repeated. "Really, Mia?", he asked again, obviously confused. "Which part don't you get you twit, the Mee or the Ah"? I answered impatiently. He realized that he'd have to be quicker to keep up and hurriedly put in a "But, she's hardly the alpha male! Leader of the pack, oh please - look at her, she's a ball of the softest, cutest fur. Check her out, aww she's the cutest, I'm going to wake her up". Sid's gushing was referring to the newest member of our family - a beautiful bright eyed and long tailed six month old mixie, Mia. We had always wanted a dog, both of us prolonging the decision until we were absolutely sure we could devote time to our pet. A recent professional change for me resulted in both of us being able to work out of our home and take the plunge. Trawling through adoption pictures of abandoned or homeless puppies and dogs on Dog with Blog and Red Paws Rescue, we came across a treacle-coloured doe-eyed pretty girl with soft golden down frilled ears who I just fell in love with. Sid needed little convincing and after calling her foster parents we went over to see her. A few days later we decided to go ahead with our decision and a week later Mia was home. And so began our entertaining journey and game of 'Cesar Says'!
So there were Sid and I, arguing over the 'leader of the pack status'. Gorgeous Mia was about to be woken up since if you refer to the paragraph above, she was a "ball of the softest, cutest fur" and I watched in amused interest as my "alpha male" trotted over to wake her up. Mia is gorgeous, but she can look absolutely ridiculous asleep, when like most dogs she falls asleep on her back, her limbs splayed ungracefully (or disgracefully, we refer to her as our "ashleel" dog when she's found like this) and there she was, in her signature posture of sweet slumber. It's amazing how a dog can reduce us to the most childish behavior and make us shed our inhibitions. Sid was positively gurgling and crouching close to her, gently nuzzling her bared tummy. He tickled her gently and gushed stupidly, "Meeeezly, wake up. Puh-paaa wants to play. Cutie booty wakie wakie"! She opened a lazy eye and looked at him, appreciating the tickle with a languorous extending of her rear legs. As the tickling and gurgling continued, Sid said "Leader of the pack? Look at how she responds to my touch, she just know her master is. Don't you girl, don't you wonchu bonchu...my poochie pie?"! One lazy eye had changed to two bright ones and Mia was obviously responding to the gibberish. She gently took his finger in her mouth and nibbled playfully. "Oh, look at that. She understands she can't bite me hard now, I've disciplined her bubz, not more than a gentle nibble is what she takes. I've really been working on her. Haven't I boo-chums?" Mia responded with a thumping of her endless tail. This carried on for a while, but I realized Sid's finger was beginning to look a little red and he was having trouble extracting it. He was also looking at me from the side of his left eye, hoping I hadn't seen the subtle power shift. "No baby, no biting puh-paa. Come come now, what did we discuss yesterday? Mia darling, I'm talking to you". Mia was evidently talking to him too as she responded with a smart swipe of her baby lion cub paws that caught Sid smack in the middle of his jaw. "Oww, Mia you villainess! Stop it!" It was too late, she was wide awake now and inverted into regular wide awake posture - bum in the air and front portion crouching and her teeth had advanced down to Sid's wrist. "That's it, this is warrrr", screamed the "alpha male" and then followed a furious scuffle between man and dog in a furious tussle. Flying limbs, delighted barks, cries of triumph from Sid "A-ha, take that you rascally girl" followed by panicked squeals also by Sid "Sorry, sorry, please go back to sleep", to a final shriek "Bubz, save me, I've unleashed a monster". I went over to help him up from where he had been pinned face down by a triumphant Mia with one lion paw on his head and the other on his back. I lifted her off and pulled him up, his war losses included a few hairs and a squished face. Internal injuries - one bruised ego. "Ok, she's the leader of the pack" he admitted, watching her run off with his slipper that she had pulled right off his foot and proceeded to toss in the air and shake crazily in victory.
"I told you, we have to listen to what Cesar says", I said. Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer from TV, had been recommended to us by various friends and family so I had been trying to understand most of what this veritable Pied Piper had to say. "Ok, so Cesar says that when you walk in the door and your pet is going absolutely crazy trying to greet you, wait for them to calm down and then pet them. Just walk in confidently, say hello and ignore her until she calms down". "Cesar says that?" asked Sid. "Yup, try it". So the next time he came home Sid did just that. While Mia ran around in circles, he tried to make his way through the room nonchalantly, resulting in a rather comical trot that delighted Mia even further and caused her to lunge at Sid almost making him lose his family jewels. "Alright, so you need some work on that. Let us proceed to the firm deep "No" to discipline her chewing". The next time I saw Sid put that to practice was when Mia had run away with his boxers and he was shrieking like a maniac, "Noooooo, nooooooo. What the hell Bubz, Cesar said this would work". "I don't think Cesar runs around shrieking "Nooooooo" at such a high decibel! Firm, be firm baby". He managed to bellow "Mia, No" in an impressive baritone and she being stunned at this new impersonation of Barry White, let the boxers slip. "Victory, ha ha stupid dog, who's the leader of the pack now, huh huh? Oh my god, she's looking crazily at me...bubz make her stop". It was too late of course, his stupid war dance around her completely negated the disciplining effect and she launched herself at him like a rocket, pinning him to the floor. Seconds later they were rolling around hugging and kissing and Sid gifted her the boxers - a true love story.
I, of course, have no misconceptions about who the leader of the pack is. I had to relinquish my throne to Mia when she entered the house and though I can discipline Sid with a scathing look, I have no such effect on Mia. We adore her to bits and couldn't be happier with a more adapting dog who has so quickly adopted us and is completely ruling our lives. I have never adopted a dog before, my first dog was sort of adopted but not in the same way, and I have to admit, it's something I would highly recommend. Sid and I have become those annoying people who we used to make fun off who only talk about their children and horror of horrors discuss their children's pooping habits. Yes, I know most parents wouldn't compare their children to pets, but a lot of the behaviour displayed is the same! We now catch ourselves constantly calling each other to check on Mia's business with Sid being helpfully descriptive with "Stellar poop baby, A-1 quality, couldn't be better"! I upload pictures of her constantly and delight in the "Oh, so cute" comments because I am thrilled that she's getting all this attention and feel she completely deserves it. We're thrilled with our little girl and I don't think Cesar would disapprove of that!
If anyone is interested in adopting a pet, Dog with Blog and Red Paws Rescue, are some of many great organizations that offer several options. Keep checking their pictures to see their current pets up for adoption.