Monday, March 21, 2011

Been a while - not been peaceful

So, I've been absent more than a bit - Preoccupied with things in my world, much of which I frankly don't care to share in detail. In this day and these times, there's no need to go on about more people losing jobs, nor about the pressures that puts on those of us who whom are fortunate to manage to retain theirs - There's already enough of that out there already. So, yeah, times, they be tough, but I still have a paycheck.
Enough of that already.

I did manage to find a very little time to help at the farm, but nothing at all compared to what those awesome kids from the Alternative Spring Break program did. I hucked a few felled trees, and convinced a recalcitrant chain saw to function. Oh, and transported down some of my wife's excellent lasagna for the kids to eat. But compared to the labors of the kids, the other volunteers, and Sarah, I'm a serious piker this year.
No excuses.

Sarah tells the tale better than I ever could:

Not everything has been peaceful on the homefront, nor has it been as happy as the ASB crew.

Suka took a run at Dakota, and paid for her rude behavior in blood. It's to Dakota's everlasting credit that it ended as well as it did, because she had Suka utterly at her mercy before I could take even one step out of the shower.

The tale runs something like this - Early AM, and I'm in the shower. The dogs have been walked and fed, and would normally be engaged in their favorite activities - Dakota watching birds out of the back door, and Suka stealing a few minutes on the couch whilst no one is watching. But, for some reason, Suka chose to do a lap of the house with a high-value toy that had been somehow overlooked and left in-reach. At some point, Dakota either got too close, or maybe expressed some interest in the toy - Not sure, but my first warning of trouble was the sound of Suka's distinctive snarl-snap, followed by a general uproar as Dakota responded in-kind.

I was all of ten feet and one door (plus shower curtain) away, and it took me only seconds to get to the scene, flinging water everywhere as I came. By then, the fiight was already over; Dakota had Suka's head gripped firmly in her jaws, and had bodily crushed her to the ground onto her belly. Suka was still making chainsaw noises, but it was clear that she had no recourse and was entirely at Dakota's mercy. And when I say 'mercy,' I mean it. I commonly watch Dakota crush cattle bones in her jaws; Suka's head would've been no challenge. Or she could've whipped her head to the side, breaking Suka's neck and shredding her throat. But instead, all she did was grip Suka firmly and pin her decisively, ending the fight almost instantly. Better and more gentle manners, frankly, than Suka sometimes deserves. Despite her great size and intimidating power, Dakota is, at heart, a gentle soul.

Suka came away with a superficial abrasion and a minor puncture/laceration to the crown of her skull, and a rather more bloody puncture to her lower jaw - none more than 1/2 the depth of Dakota's incisors. They healed cleanly and well, and if you don't know what you're looking for, you can't find any of them.

So... That's what happened. Who is at fault..? Me, of course. I don't know how it is that the squeaky pig was down and in-reach, but I do know that Suka is highly defensive of it, and that it should be up out of reach whenever there's not responsible supervision immediately present. I don't *think* I left it down, but in the liklihood that one of the kids had taken it down for Suka, I've clearly failed to drive home the importance of having it put away properly. Well, they've get that NOW, but I didn't do my job well enough previously. Fortunately, it all ended with painful but ultimately minor consequences.

Minor abrasion

Fairly minor laceration

1 cm deep pocket - no stitches (to allow for drainage), no penetration into muscle.

More serious (and bloody)

1 cm deep puncture, some pocketing, bled freely for quite a while - No stitches (to allow for drainage), some penetration into muscle.

Scalp scar

If you don't know it's there, you won't find it.

Jaw scar

Even if you DO know it's there, good luck finding it!


Holly said...

Welcome back! I missed you!

As far as the toy goes, there is a saying among many dog trainers. Management will fail sooner or later, training will hold. Leashes get pulled out of hands, doors left open, crates not get down.

stuff happens.

There is .nothing. like a good German Shepherd bitch to take control and teach lessons without permanent damage. Good for Dakota!

MaskedMan said...

Yeah, management MUST fail - sooner or later. It's a human thing, which makes failure inevitable.

The relationship between the two is complicated. Suka's a weenie, of course, but still dominant. Except when she pushes too hard. Dakota will do all the avoidance and distance-increasing behaviors, yield right-of-way, surrender favored positions, and generally submits to Suka - Until Suka crosses a boundary. Then she pounds Suka a good one. Then everything reverts to previous behaviors.

Had The Girls at the vet last night, general physical and immunization update. This vet generally doesn't do blood draws in the exam room, but takes the dogs back to the Procedure Area as a matter of policy. It simplifies her life - And reduces stress on the patients. So, she takes Suka back for her blood draw, and no sooner than the door closes behind them, then Dakota is hard up on the door, trying to find a way to follow Suka.

Despite the occasional hostilities, Dakota still looks to Suka for guidance and leadership when she's stressed.

Holly said...

*smile* What a good girl Dakota is. She may love Suka, but she doesn't have to *like* her all the time!

MaskedMan said...

She *IS* a good dog. Suka's a very good dog too, but she's got some challenges, as well.

Then again, Dakota is not without issues of her own...

But ultimately, I'm just glad that they generally get along, and that when the wheels do come off, they're got a sense of restraint.