One of the fun (read: totally not fun) things about living with three terriers (read: terrierists) is that, unlike a crew of happy-go-lucky Labradors, they must frequently indulge a primal and irresistible drive to Bring It. At any given moment, over any perceived slight whatsoever, at least two of the little bozos will decide that It. Is. ON.
Oddly enough, this isn’t really a big deal (although if they were bigger it would probably scare the bejeezus out of me). The gestural language of dogs includes rumbles like this. Most of the time, the smartest thing I can do is recognize that I don’t Speak Dog properly and get out of their way — they sort themselves out. None of my three critters are seriously dog-aggressive (unlike their late Malinois predecessor, Angel, who sincerely seemed to believe that the best defense was to nuke everyone and let God sort it out — and that all times were a good time for defense). They’re just scrappy, in the way that terriers often tend to be. Sometimes I think they mix it up with each other just because, well, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. There’s seldom anything serious in it. They posture, they scrap, they move on, we all cuddle later.
Every now and then, though, sh*t gets REAL. Usually, this happens when Buddy (the youngest and largest of Team Terrier) gets on the last nerve of Eddie (the eldest and smallest and, frankly, the crankiest of the bunch). Their interactions invariably end up something like this:
Buddy: Oh, hey, you have a thing. I want the thing! Let me have it.
Eddie: No. It is my thing.
Buddy: But…your thing is over there. You already have a thing. This one should be my thing.
Eddie: All of the things are my thing. That is the LAW OF THINGS. Back off.
Buddy: No! This is my thing! Here — I’ll just take it, and you can go play with your thing.
A fight inevitably ensues, during which Buddy, who really just wants the usual pro-forma Terrier Tussle ends up panicking, because Eddie won’t back down in the expected way and tends to be vindictive. Buddy bites Eddie — mostly to make him stop — and then Eddie’s like:
Except, unlike in Dodgeball, Eddie does not actually leave. No, the old cuss doubles down.
Welcome to my afternoon.