Saturday, August 27, 2011

The epic puppy fights

Just as soon as I typed that title out, I figured I'd better begin by stressing that these are play fights and have nothing to do with football or blood or anything else involved in illegal and cruel dog fighting activities.

Paranoid? Yeah, maybe a little.

My goal for this morning (oh wait, it's the afternoon already? Well, look at me accomplishing my afternoon goal first thing!) is to attempt to describe what it's like to watch my puppies play fight. As you might know, they are (full grown) tiny dogs. Sophie is about 5 lbs and Sherlock, around 10. They get along well and sleep cutely in a pile when it is cold outside. But they also wrestle each other for fun, and watching that is more amusing than eating funfetti cake.

It starts with the tentative paw swipe. Sophie is usually the aggressor, but Sherlock will lead on occasion. Sophie quickly closes the distance between the two, perhaps with a tiny dog growl, and then goes for the throat.

It doesn't take long for her to realize that her tiny little mouth will never fit around Sherlock's neck, so she tries to squirm around him and goes for an ankle. Sherlock counters by moving his leg up and then pawing at Sophie as he attempts to go for the throat.

He doesn't make it either. Sophie employs her favorite defensive maneuver and flops onto her back and starts kicking upwards. This pretty much puts her ankles in Sherlock's vicinity and he takes the opportunity, attempting to latch on to a squirmy Sophie leg.

Like a bug on her back, Sophie squirms to the left and then to the right as though she is trying to flip herself back over. After hours of observation, I have determined that this is a ploy. When she goes to the side and Sherlock ducks down, following her paws, she springs back onto her back in a calculated move. You can almost hear her thinking, "Look. My paw was there. Now it is here. Now it is over here. I will keep moving my paw to avoid losing this fight."

This, despite the fact that she's technically the one pined to the ground. Oh, Sophie.

Some minutes will go by in their back and forth brawl. My favorite part is when they start to get tired. Then, as long as they think no one is looking, they'll both lie next to each other, their mouths around each other's ankles, making the most minimal movements possible. If I crane my head to see it better and they notice me, it's like a shot of espresso.

"Back to level 7 insanity," thinks Sophie and she flips back onto her back and starts squirming anew. Repeat forever.

By the way, I think that's the first time I've made use of my insanity chart here. As a brief overview, the Insanity Chart refers to how much crack it appears that our puppies have ingested. For those without small dogs and especially without terriers, let me assure you that small dogs and ESPECIALLY terriers, are very energetic.

So my husband and I have taken to assigning the various levels of insanity to their energy. Typically the dogs hover around level 5. But at certain times, bouncing off of the walls every time someone looks at them isn't good enough. They must tear across the hallway as though they are being chased by hot lava or perhaps scary carpet monsters. They jump on and off of the couch and the armchair seventeen million times in a row. They shake their tiny puppy toys into a blur of teeth and fur. This is insanity level 10.

The chart pretty much tops out there since to run any faster would require doggie steroids and we are a performance-enhancer free family. But one time, Sophie went to insanity level 11. That, however, is a story for another day.

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