Of rats and dogs

Have you seen this Rat?

He’s wanted in England for apprehending and attempting to bake one Tom Kitten.  This case was noted by Beatrix Heelis nee Potter sometime last century.  Rascal has heard the story before and has repeatedly seen the animated re-telling of the tale on the DVD set, but somehow recently he seems to think that Samuel Whiskers might be real (oh no–the overactive imagination phase!).

Having an overactive imagination myself, I’m very sympathetic to his fears.  I remember being four years old and accidentally seeing part of a sci-fi movie with a pretty freaky alien in it and being pretty convinced that it was going to show up in my house.  So no, I never saw Signs either. 😉  I thought it was cute, then, when Rascal said he wanted to sleep next to Trooper last night and tonight.  Hints were dropped that led me to think it was because of S.W.   Rascal’s been so used to being the biggest brother for everyone, that it was nice to see him turning to his truly bigger old brother for some security.  It really warmed my heart.

Then came today’s episode of Reallybigdog.  Reallybigdog belongs to a guy living down the street from my parents’ house, and it is what its name suggests.  It is also a harmless friendly softie of a mutt, and wouldn’t hurt a fly.   However, Reallybigdog has the bad habit of jumping fences.  It clears my parents’ fence effortlessly.  Since Hobbit Dog is here with us, Reallybigdog came over to play today.

Rascal was standing by Princess near a large tree.  I was by the fence catching up with a neighbor, all the while trying to keep an eye on the kids, Hobbit Dog, and Reallybigdog who had just hopped into the neighbor’s yard.  She had called Reallybigdog back out of our yard once already.  Apparently Reallybigdog thought it would come play again with the new little dog visiting the block.   It cleared the fence again and lumbered toward Hobbit Dog, who by this time had trotted over to where Princess was sitting.

My heart pounded.  I didn’t know how my little girl would react to Reallybigdog.  I don’t think she’s seen anything like that before.  I also didn’t want to start running toward them because I didn’t want Hobbit Dog to see me and go ballistic.  So tried to calmly walk toward them, hoping Rascal wouldn’t start screaming like he usually does (understandably) when Reallybigdog clears the fence.

He didn’t scream.  Instead, he bolted into the house.  He left his little sister to face the lions alone.

Princess, meanwhile, sits there and allows Reallybigdog to come over and give her a friendly lick on the cheek.  She gets up calmly and pats Reallybigdog.  She follows it around the yard with a complacent smile on her face.  Dinosaur, who was also intimidated by Reallybigdog when it jumped the fence but as usual quickly warmed up to the animal, joined her as the two dogs and Princess meandered over to the back porch.

At this point everyone at the neighbor’s house called Reallybigdog over and took it back to its house.  Rascal came down from his perch on a kitchen chair where he had been viewing the scene from the other side of the storm door (he had pulled the chair over to watch Reallybigdog through the window).  Peace was restored to the backyard.

Now, I’ve had my share of big dog fears.  I was chased by a Doberman when I was six or seven, and I don’t care for dogs that follow bikers around, barking at their heels.  And if I had not been forewarned about the existence of Reallybigdog–if I had not been told repeatedly that it was a stupid friendly mutt–I probably would have been screaming at it myself.   So I’m not going to pooh-pooh Rascal for being frightened of it.

I AM, however, going to remember this incident fifteen years from now, when he’s a tall handsome Eagle Scout and he pooh-poohs his mother for her fears of large bugs/snakes/bears/dark attics, etc.  Oh yes, I’ll pull this card and remind my brave boy just what happened one day when his baby sister was braver than himself.

By the by, I begin to wonder now whether Rascal is sleeping next to Trooper out of security, or out of the thought that if Samuel Whiskers shows up, he’ll get Trooper first because he’s bigger. 😉

And incidentally, my parents have never had a problem with rats. 😉

2 thoughts on “Of rats and dogs

  1. Haha! So cute! I am always amazed by how different my children are. My oldest is completely unafraid of anything and ran straight up to the hugest dog I had ever seen (his head came to my chest!) at the age of 2! She wasn’t even faced when one lick from him landed her on her back. My second baby is not that fearless, and expects to be protected from all things bigger than herself.

    I also have a vivid visual memory and had bad dreams induced by cartoons and sci-fi movies as a child, so I can sympathize. 🙂

  2. What a brave little Princess! How cute. For a while, our neighbors’ dogs were getting into our yard regularly, but it was a little scary because they were very large and a little bit aggressive (they don’t come over anymore, thank goodness). My kids are terrified of any dog, though, no matter how small and how friendly. They are also afraid of our cat. Though, to be fair, Penelope is not a very kid-friendly cat. She’s a one person kind of cat, and I’m her person. We’d like to get a dog in a year or two maybe, so I hope the kids will get over it. Poor Penelope doesn’t know what’s coming…

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