When you live with as many dogs as we do at our farm (a total of nine when all are there), part of the enjoyment is watching not only how they interact with us, but how they interact with each other. It is absolutely fascinating for us to just sit and watch them. We talked about that this weekend, and that growing up, we each only had one dog at a time, so we never saw this aspect of living with multiple dogs. Our dogs are all “rescues” of one sort or another, and range from the very large (two rottweilers) to the very small ( a chiweenie: chihuahua/dachshund mix). As in all groups, each dog has its place in the scheme of things and its own personality, as well as its own friends and those with whom there are “issues”. Who really knows how this happens, for humans or for dogs.
You may recall that Jesse is the alpha dog in my five-dog pack, and he is the one to whom the others answer. He is always on guard and quick to respond to “intruder alert” from Sadie, our most hyper-vigilant girl. But another equally important roll is played by little Francee, the “omega” dog in our pack. She is the one who never causes trouble, is quick to try to soothe hurt feelings and disagreements among the others, and the first to make friends with any new-comers. Every group needs a “love ambassador”, and for us, that is Francee. Always approachable, she is submissive to any dog that comes her way, quickly wins them over, and gets their love and devotion in return. Everybody, human and canine, loves Francee. Her devotion to Chuy when he first came to live with us was so touching. I knew it would be Francee who would begin to interact with him first, and sure enough, she was the first to make friends with the sad little pug who had lived too long in a cage. Now, they are best buds, and the last time I took Francee to the vet, he remarked on how squeaky clean her ears were. I told him that was because Chuy cleans them for her so thoroughly each night, so sweet to watch.
Francee came to us as a foster, and we even placed her in another home for a short time. She was so miserable by herself without her friends that we all thought it best for her to return to us. She is just one of those dogs who really seems to need other dogs, and the pack needs her.