Meet Hunter. He is the puppy from next door. Hunter is almost a year old, but in a dog's life, he's still a lanky, busy, rambunctious kid. Hunter has funky ears. He can't quite decide if he wants them both up or both down. So sometimes, to avoid the work of having to choose and to nurture his inner Zen, he does one of each and lets the decision go.
Hunter likes to meander over from time-to-time to say hello and perhaps find a new experience for his daily constitution. Secretly, he always really hopes Dog-Dog will join him for some fun and games while he's visiting.
This is Blue, aka, Dog-Dog. He's ten and a little grumpy in his old age. (Not that I can blame him. I'm getting kind of cranky in my old age too.) Dog-Dog was adopted when he was five. He had five whole years of multiple owners and a previous covert identity being a dog-in-training for prison convicts before he came to live with us in the mountains.He's an old and grizzled dog. Wise to the world.
Blue came from the life of hard knocks and never learned how to play. He's mellow (mostly) and likes other dogs (for the most part), but he just isn't "into" other dogs. (Come to think of it, he's an awful lot like me.)
Sometimes Hunter walks to the very edge of his property and sits a spell to stare at Blue. Hunter is a laid-back kind of dude-dog and would never dream of just intruding without an invite.
Blue doesn't miss a thing. He sees the kid and studies Hunter, nailing him in the spot with his steely eyes. He wants to make sure the new kid on the block understands his place.
So Hunter sits, waits and stares and occasionally let's his attention wander to meditate on a moth, or an ant on a blade of grass. He switches the position of his ears then remembers why he's there, and begs with his little brown eyes to please, please be allowed to come over and play.
But Blue is not one to succumb so easily. He remains on his porch, like the unflinching Clint Eastwood of dogs, and steadies his gaze. It's a stare down, a scene right out of the O.K. Corral. The wind blows, kicking up dust, and the dogs, mano-a-mano, lock eyes. Somewhere, a hawk screeches a lonely call.
Blue cocks an eyebrow, "OK, Dog. C'mere. G'head. Make my day."
Hunter gulps, screwing his courage to the wind, and makes his move. He stands. Blue stands. They continue... the stare.
Hunter, sensing an opening in Blue's demeanor, takes a few tentative steps into the yard.
Suddenly, the strain gets to Blue. He dumps his tough Clint persona and becomes the Archie Bunker of canines. "Do I have to, Mom? Do I have to play with the new kid? He's such a meathead!"
Until he decides he has had enough of this young, over-exuberant whipper-snapper. Then all bets are off. "Get off my property, kid."
"He really, really bugs me, Mom. Make him leave now."