“They’re really good friends, aren’t they?,” my mom asks.
She could be asking about my kids and the answer would have be the same.
She is watching Sugarplum and Buddy wrestle in the living room, having their nightly tussle.
Sugarplum usually starts it by nipping at Buddy’s heels or gnawing on one of his big, black, silky ears or pawing at his head. Sisterly please-play-with-me requests.
Sometimes it takes him a while to engage, especially if he’s busy chewing on a toy.
But she’s nothing if not persistent. His lack of interest does not bother or deter her one bit. Buddy has a size advantage of a good twenty pounds on Sugarplum but she has the distinct advantage of persistence and personality.
She does the downward dog play bow, she bops him on the head again, play growls, grabs another mouthful of ear. Eventually he accepts her invitation. She’s hard to ignore for long. We can all vouch for that, even the humans.
He mostly goes for legs, nipping, rolling, bumping with his generous snout. Sometimes they play both on backs or bellies. Other times it goes the opposite direction with both charging around the living room after each other, spinning in tight circles, dodging behind and around chairs, up and over the sofa.
This is the point in the play when Buddy starts to bark, his voice deep, loud, resonant. Sometimes Sugarplum takes a breather and this is how he urges her back to play.
The flurry of motion begins again, a tangle of feet and legs flying, dashing, flopping, rolling, easy growling and nipping, a lull, then back at it again until something happens that tells them both they are done.
Queso usually wants no part of the rowdiness the young whippersnappers bring.
Occasionally she’ll get into the action with Sugarplum in the yard. They will have a wrestle, a chasing sprint, more nipping of heels and cutting around tight corners. Just flys. There’s dipping and rolling. Then it’s over and Queso is done for the day.
She never engages in this kind of play inside. Instead, she barks at the other two as if to tell them they should not be so rambunctious in the house, like the older sister, quiet and worried about the rules.
Queso has an impossible management task on her hands. Two two-year-old dogs who will act like the youngsters they are no matter who’s watching or who’s barking at them to stop. Most often she’ll just take herself away from the fray altogether—upstairs to our bed or in a dog bed away from the action until it all settles.
The wrestling, the barking, the play, the nightly chaos makes me smile.
“Yes,” I answer. “They are good friends.”