We took care of our grandson* #2 Son's and BGFE's dog for a week while they are in Louisiana for her grandparents' fiftieth wedding anniversary. Ser Percival The Energetic has been entertaining, to say the least.
He was intent on chewing things when he came -- my sock, Smokey's work glove, my down comforter -- so I bought him a dino bone.
Percy loves it. Smokey's toes, not so much when they encounters the bone as he walks through the living room. I trip over it, too, but I am always wearing shoes.
He came to us adorned.
As I said, he has been entertaining. He wants to play with Lucy, who is ten years his senior. He does the play bow in front of her and sometimes she responds. Mostly she looks askance at this young hooligan and comes over to Smokey for reassurance. We have been encouraging him to -- occasionally -- be calm. Did you know that when you roll a pit bull onto his back -- no easy feat, that -- and stroke his underside, he goes into a trance? Amazing.
He goes into Crazy Percy mode several times a day: he races from one end of the house to the other, does a 180, rinse and repeat ten times interrupted by the occasional play bow in front of Lucy to see if she wants to join in. Which she does not. She was initially annoyed by all this ruckus; now she watches him with bemusement and wonders when her calm and quiet life will return. We stand back, laugh, and envy his energy.
The cats have been scarce since Ser Percy arrived. En Esch, the skittish one, comes out only when I am reading in bed. He peeks over the edge of the bed, sees Percy, and hides until the next night. Hannibal The Fluffball of Doom is not scared of Percy. (Remember, this is the cat that claimed Lucy as His Dog and who regularly walks all over her and washes her face.) He fluffs himself up to twice normal size -- which is pretty darned big -- hisses, and generally acts like the killer he is. Percy barks and even does a play bow, but HtFoD has no interest in play. The standoff lasts a minute or so and always ends with Percy yelping and both of them running away in opposite directions. The yelp sounds like Hannibal gave him a claw in the nose, but Ser P's nose does not appear to have been touched. So far...
First there was this (please excuse crappy iPod photos):
Followed very shortly by this:
As when our boys were young, Smokey is the major disciplinarian.
Fun things to know and tell about a pit bull**:
- Perhaps like all short-haired dogs, they are hot to the touch. All our other animals have had thick fur coats, thus were well-insulated. Percy is like a hot boulder.
- They are hard-bodied. Like I said, a hot boulder. Snuggling him is... interesting.
- #2 Son said that his research on pit bulls said that they have little body awareness; pain does not register well. I suppose that is why they make such good fighting dogs.
- They have massive heads and equally impressive tongues. When Percy licks me, I know I have been licked. And I need a towel.
- It is nearly impossible to get his attention with physical discipline. Whapping him on the nose when his licking gets overwhelming does no good unless I do it so hard that it hurts me. (See "imperious to pain", above.) The Daddy Voice works, though.
- It hurts when his tail hits me. And he wags his tail a lot. Now I understand why short-haired, i.e., non-fluffy, dogs usually have their tails cropped. It is self-protection by the owners against bruised legs.
He never smiles. Lucy and Bear smiled a lot, but he never does. He can look serious, intent, or repentant.
* Smokey thinks it is funny to refer to Percy as our grandson. I think it is weird. Funny, but weird.
** According to Wikipedia, there are several different breeds that commonly referred to as pit bulls, among them the Staffordshire terrier.