Mr Spaghetti Legs came to us about seven months ago. He was paw-picked by Little Monkey. She knew exactly what energy would be compatible with hers, so she picked a dominant old boy, with a calm energy, to off-set her anxiousness.
He had been at the animal rescue centre for nearly eleven years. No-one wanted to adopt him. Why? I don’t know. He is white, with large brown spots on one side only, sort of like the markings of a Jack Russel, except that Mr SL is more of a collie cross. According to my vet, he has a pinched nerve in his spine, which may explain the wobbly back legs. (Hence his nick-name.)
I have never chosen a dog based on its looks, but rather its compatibility to fit in with our existing dogs and lifestyle. This was the first time I let my own dog choose, but that was vital, as Little Monkey is dominant-anxious, and my whole life is spent in calming her down. Any help I could get from a ‘new’ old boy, would be priceless.
The other night I heard Mr SL yapping and snarling and my first thought was that the dogs were fighting. I rushed through to the lounge, only to find that he had got his dew claw *caught in a ring on a tag on his collar. He couldn’t get it loose and it must have been jolly sore.
*How did he do this? He tends to clean his face like a cat, by licking his front paw and passing it over his ear.
As I stood there trying to grab the collar to take it off him, Little Monkey came rushing through from the kitchen, where she had put herself to bed already. She went straight up to Mr SL, and I could see instantly that she was about to attack him. I grabbed her and marched her back to the kitchen and shut the door. This was all done in silence; no barking, no words. By the time I got back to poor Mr SL, he had managed to extricate his claw. We stood there together, and I hugged him, while our heart rates gradually fell below 200 again!
Why did Little Monkey want to attack the old boy, having shown no aggression towards him so far? She is a hunter. In her mind, she came to investigate the yelping, and saw a wounded animal writhing around on the ground, giving off all the signals of prey. This triggered her hunting instincts and she moved in to attack him.
I was not angry with Little Monkey; after seven years together, I understand her. She acted purely on instinct. She and Mr SL are the best of friends again. Though I have since removed Mr SL’s collar!