At Freedom Park summer 2010

Monday, March 21, 2011

Starskey's Pack

Good morning all.  I thought maybe I should tell you a little about the pack Starskey became a part of.  We're pretty diverse and....interesting?  Well - the interactions are anyway.  

You already know about Jeff and I, and you have learned about Midnight (the better bell trainer) and you have read about the initial potty trainers Pilot and Pokey, but they are only cousins he got to see once or twice a year.  He has other cousins he got to visit  from time to time - 3 labs and a frenchie/boston cross at my other daughter's house - not to mention a total of 7 grandkids. 

Starskey's daily pack was a bit smaller and consisted of the two people who loved him, the tomcat that teased him and two female cats that mostly avoided him......and the Akita, whose real name is Sam but we didn't learn that until we had been calling him Dufus for a year or two.  He doesn't seem to mind and answers to both names.

Starskey was curious about the cats - especially the ones who would sit at the top of the steps and look down at him all of the time - but would never come down to play.  They interacted very little (when he was awake) and he was really quite oblivious of their presence when he was sleeping or busy chewing on a rawhide or something.  The cats, on the other hand, were very curious about Starskey.

No dog had ever been on "their" turf before and this one was about the same size as them - but he was one of those things that moved fast like little kids do - so obviously he was something to be avoided - yet studied.  When he was napping they would come down the stairs from the living room to the family room and get a closer look at him.  As time passed they would get closer and closer and even sniff him.  He seemed to be harmless, in this condition anyway.

Starskey would stir and the girls (Spook and Bugger) would bolt for high ground or hide under a coffee table.  He became a source of great interest as they watched him stretch and yawn and rearrange himself on his floor pillow.  He still seemed pretty harmless.  Eventually though he would wake up and then he would want to play if he spotted a potential playmate and they wanted nothing to do with that.

Starskey and Midnight shared a different sort of relationship.  It was one of respect and courtesy.  They would sit and just stare at each other for long periods of time.  I always wondered what was going through each of their minds as they "stared down" each other.  If one moved then the other one did too - but maintained a respectful distance.  Midnight would hop up on the couch and Starskey would look at him like "how come you can and I can't".  Midnight would lay down and Starskey would lay down on the floor in front of the couch.  

As time passed a cat paw would begin to hang over the edge of the couch and Starskey would carefully sniff it.  Midnight would open one eye, slowly pull the clawless paw back or give Starskey a slow gentle pop on the nose....not enough to "start" anything - just enough to let Starskey know who he was dealing with and then close his eye and go back to sleep.  Starskey would just watch him for a while, cocking his head from side to side and then resume his nap as well.   

A sitting cat meant a sitting dog.  A slowly moving cat meant a slowly moving dog but a running cat - well that was just and invitation.  The trouble was that Midnight ran faster, jumped higher and crawled in to places Starskey couldn't get.  I would watch Midnight run from point A to point B and then point C and D leading Starskey on a merry chase about the yard.

Dufus (the neighbor's Akita) had always been a daily visitor at our house, as had his mother before him.  He would come over daily to visit our Jack (a Jack Russell mix) and Missy (American Eskimo).  When Missy left us (at about age 15) Jack was kind of lost so welcomed visits from Dufus.  Jack, however, had been Missy's eyes for her last two years and as her caretaker (and 10 year partner) he was kind of jobless when she passed.  We lost Jack in December 2009 to age and grief I think.........but Dufus continued to visit daily and check on us.

Dufus was delighted when Starskey arrived.  He kept a respectful distance for the first few days.  Starskey was a dwarf next to the height and size of an Akita but Dufus was patient and gave Starskey some time to settle in and then he introduced himself.  Talk about a Mutt and Jeff pair - these were the two.  Dufus would lay on the ground and let this puppy crawl all over him and then they would roll around together and lay facing each other playing their own version of Rock/Paper/Scissors.  Starskey was in heaven to have somebody to actually roughhouse with - and Dufus was a very gentle giant of a friend.  I'll have to find some pictures of them together.

Dufus still comes over every morning to see if Starskey has come home yet.  He is often here again in the evening, just to check - especially if he has heard the van come or go.  He knows how much Starskey loves a car ride! 

The pack is here waiting for you Starskey - it is time to come home............