I grew up with dogs. Everybody in my neighborhood had a dog, and I can still remember lots of their names. Nobody kept their dogs on leashes in those days and they roamed around without causing many problems. It was a small town. But nobody kept their dogs inside their houses, either.
It’s only been in recent years that I’ve had dogs, and I found out there were a lot of things I didn’t know about dogs. Living with two inside dogs, in close proximity, day after day, I’ve learned that dogs, like humans, have complex personalities. A dog owner has to learn his pets’ personalities in order to live in harmony.
I have two dogs. Joy is a 7-year-old female, a rescue dog of many breeds. Kali came from a breeder, an intentional cross between a border collie and a corgi. Kali is about two and a half years old.
Joy is a moody dog and very territorial. She barks at anybody who dares to walk down the road in front of our house, and she hates them much more if they ride a bicycle. She hates anybody in uniform. I can only speculate that may come from her time in an animal control shelter.
I adopted Joy from a rescue group, and she’s very appreciative and protective of me. She growls at anybody who is getting within my physical space. Fortunately, it’s never been tested, but I believe she’d take a chunk out of somebody’s leg if they ever attacked me.
Joy is very protective of her food and bones. I suppose that came from being around other dogs and having to fight for what was hers. I never mess with her when’s she eating.
However, Joy is a very loving dog that likes attention and loves being petted and having her belly rubed.
Kali, on the other hand, is very trusting of people, more so than of other dogs. On our trips to the dog park, she spends her time working the crowd of people, trying to look cute, and lapping up their affection. I sometimes think she might be a reincarnated politician.
Joy lives to chase squirrels. I can say the word “squirrel” and her head juts skyward, like a reflex action. Her pitiful little short legs make her far too slow to catch squirrels, but she loves to try to run them down. She likes it even more when she can bark at them as they run across the tree branches.
Kali at one time never showed any interest in squirrels, but now she chases after them and barks at them. She is emulating Joy. But her favorite park activity is digging. She doesn’t just dig holes. She digs trenches. Maybe she had a forefather who was a war dog in World War I.
However, when Kali and Joy are at home, when I’m around, they have this complex relationship. Joy wants to be the alpha dog and Kali gives her lots of respect as an older dog. However, Kali has youthfulness and Joy is starting to realize that youth has its advantages. Their last fight was like an Ali-Sonny Liston match, so Joy has backed off on bullying Kali.
But the moral of my story is that the more I live around dogs, the more I realize that all animals, humans included, have a lot in common. They just express it a little differently.
And I still want to write my book titled, “Everything I Know About Life I Learned at the Dog Park.”
Jones is a Carrollton resident and reporter for the Times-Georgian.