It was 5.30 on a pleasant Spring evening, with the sun mellow rather than blistering. I sat out on the stoep with my glass of ice cold white wine and breathed a sigh of contentment. Just a short interlude before starting the evening meal.
Little Monkey was running round the garden with various toys, shouting, “Look at me Mum!” while the old dogs were up on the stoep with me. Madam the old girl came up for attention, so I gave her a quick pat on the head and she went away. Then TJ came up, and he got the same brief pat. Next second Madam has launched herself at TJ!
I jumped up and took my wine safely inside; not too bothered about the dogs. Maybe twice a year there was a little tiff and a reasserting of pack order. It was never aggressive or vicious, and never any injuries. Little monkey had now joined in, surprisingly on the side of Madam. Usually the two females squared off with a “There can be only one!” attitude and Little Monkey and TJ were best friends.
But this is all instinct. Attack the wounded, the weak, the sick, the old, the different. When it was TJ who had the underhand, the two girls joined forces.
Then Madam tripped over the chair and was down. Instantly the two other dogs laid into her. And though there was a lot of noise and teeth, it still wasn’t a serious fight. We’re talking seconds here.
But enough is enough, and I stepped in to separate them all.
Since Madam seemed to have come out the worst from the engagement, I shut the others outside and checked her over. Though there was no blood, unfortunately she had a six centimetre gash in the ruff of her neck. An unlucky accident; maybe Little Monkey got her fang caught in the collar when going for the thick neck mane.
I looked at the clock. Quarter to six. The vets shut at six. I downed the rest of my wine in one and rushed Madam to the vets for stitches, pain killers and antibiotics. Although she felt pretty sorry for herself, she was all right, and all the dogs were fine with each other again. Never a dull moment with three dogs.
So much for the interlude!
post script: I don’t have any photos of my dogs fighting. Not surprisingly, I rush to grab the dogs, not the camera. This photo is the best I have – great friends mock-fighting.