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Sheriff gets the artistic treatment with an imagined piece. (2004/2005)
There has been a sound in the house we haven't heard on a regular basis since Chaunce died. It goes something like this:
squeak squeak-squeak SquEak squEAK-SQUEAK
SQEEEEEak (ever so brief pause) SQUEAK
No, I haven't gone insane. That's simply my best onomatopoeia attempt at demonstrating what we're hearing more and more often from the living room.
That is the sound of Sheriff playing with his squeaky toy.
Squeaky toys never lasted long with The Red Dog around. I think his record for piercing (and thus rendering useless, i.e. no more squeaky sound) the little plastic bladder in one of those four or five dollar toys was about two-and-a-half minutes. Of course, we'd always buy two, one for each of the boys, but as soon Chaunce was done with his (because it was no good to him once it didn't squeak anymore), he was trying to figure out how to steal Sheriff's and do the same to it. And we could only protect the black and tan so long.
After we lost Chaunce, we'd get Sheriff a new squeaky toy every few months, but he didn't seem that interested in any of them. Once in a blue moon, we'd hear a squeak from the living room and go running in to see if he was playing with it. There we'd find him, lying on the carpet next to the bookshelf looking at us with his ears down and the squeaky toy between his front paws and, the look in his eyes, you'd think we were about to beat him to death. Try as we might, we just couldn't get him to play. So we left him on his own and, every so often, that soft squeak would sound from the living room and we'd have to fight the urge to go peek.
When Candy and I stopped at Petsmart that first day we came home with Argus, we picked up a couple of furry hedgehog squeaky toys for the boys, but for the first few days, neither of them seemed very interested. After the first week of Argus, though, I heard that familiar squeak-squeak sound once again coming from the living room, but it was more vociferous than before. Without considering the risk of sqeakus interuptus, I rushed to the living room to find Sheriff dropping his squeaky toy and lowering his ears like I just caught him in digging in the trash or something.
Kicking myself on the inside for spoiling his playtime, I rubbed his head and told him he's a good boy and then left him on his own again. Imagine my surprise when a few minutes later I heard that squeak-squeak sound coming from the living room again.
Since then, I've heard it more and more, usually as a veritable one-dog symphony after Candy comes home from work in the evening. Argus is really adjusting to the canine happy hour that starts the moment she walks in the back door from the carport. He gets excited and romps around the house (yes, we try to keep him calm, heartworm treatment and all). Invariably, he gets jealous when we pet on Sheriff and he goes all linebacker on the black and tan and shoves him out of the way. We're trying to keep situations like this from getting out of control. Fortunately, Sheriff is pretty passive, but we don't want any bad habits to develop with the black and brown.
Add to this the couple of yelps we've heard from Sheriff when the two of them are together. You might think Argus is roughing up the older the dog, but I think it's just the opposite. Argus has a major oral fixation — he mouths everything. In fact, it's his soft-mouthedness that is both among his many behavior traits that remind us of Chaunce and is a quality that Candy and I love. We've seen him mouth Sheriff softly as an act of submission. My theory as to the isolated yelps we've heard when we're not around is that Argus is mouthing Sheriff and nips his ears. Sheriff is a huge baby when it comes to his ears. You can lightly squeeze them in the right place and he'll cry out. He's always been this way and we've just learned to leave his ears alone.
OK, so now that I've caught you up on the idiosyncrasies of the two dogs in the house, I can tell you about what happened yesterday.
Candy and her brother George were in her spare room watching TV and I was in my office playing online poker. Sheriff's cacophony of squeaks issued forth from the living room while Argus went back and forth through the house between me on one side and Candy and George on the other. It had been a few minutes since Argus had checked on me and all of a sudden, without any type of growl for a warning, in the middle of a particularly distinct squeak, I heard one snarl meet another and — instantly — the unmistakable sound of a dogfight.
Candy and I yelled at the top of our lungs from either side of the house and I went immediately to the living room, but they were already done. Argus was standing on the wood floor between the carpet and the fireplace while Sheriff was hightailing it out of there to go see his mom. A quick glance at the carpet confirmed the fisticuffs as there were tufts of light beige Sheriff hair scattered across the floor.
I grabbed Argus and checked him over for blood. I found a couple moist spots of fur where Sheriff probably got a hold of him. Next, I went to Sheriff for the same examination and he was clean and dry, but looking a little freaked out. Argus came in next to him and I looked Sheriff in the eyes and told him in a friendly voice, "I hope you got some licks in on him, Sheriff." He met my stare and said nothing.
I went to the back of the house where I saw Argus had stashed his squeaky. I brought it to him, but he wasn't interested.
Later in the evening, there was that squeaking sound again, and when I checked on the source, I discovered the two dogs lying on the floor facing each other. There was a single hedgehog squeaky toy between Sheriff's front paws while Argus watched from a few inches away.
When I went to bed, Candy was already almost asleep and Sheriff was lying on the floor on my side of the bed (where Chaunce used to crash). Argus had followed me into the bedroom and when he saw the black and tan old dog lying there, Argus went up to him and started licking his face.
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