This is Poppy, or PopPop as she is more often known! Part staffie, part lurcher (we think) and probably a few other things mixed in. She spent the first year of her life living in the rucksack of a homeless chap..and then she ended up with us.
Not that that was an easy task. The old man Harvey dog, was not very accepting! For the first 3 months she could sit on his head and he wouldn’t acknowledge her presence. 6 years on and she absolutely adores him, and he tolerates her company. He gives me that look every so often and you just know he is asking ‘WHY?’. Why did we ruin his life, bringing this dog into his house?
It has always been an interesting household, but having the old man Harvey and PopPop half his age is bringing even more challenges now. Harvey was always the top dog, he was a fit, healthy, in his prime staffie when Pop arrived. Over the past year as his health and abilities have deteriorated we can clearly see Pop asserting herself and trying to take his place.
It is not an easy thing to watch. Our natural instinct is to protect Harvey and help him keep his place in our ‘pack’; after all he was here first. But as we do this we know that we are not being fair on either of them. Harvey just wants an easy life, he can’t be bothered to challenge her now and actually is afraid too. Pop on the other hand I think is confused and anxious as she is unsure of her place in the pack. We should, I know, just let them work it out and stop letting our human emotions and sentiment get in the way of the natural course of things. Survival of the fittest – if they were in the wild Pop would be the boss.
Is our interference in their dynamic making them both unhappy and uncertain? Are we creating an issue when their need not be one? Our preference to ‘favour’ Harvey as he is the old dog, the one who won’t be around for much longer is that really the right thing?
Is our determination to give Harvey the quality of life we think he deserves in his twilight actually having a detrimental affect on his and on Pop’s quality of life?
I am not sure we are being fair on either of them…