LESLIE CRISS: Thom, George and Sally are learning how to coexist peacefully

By Leslie Criss/NEMS Daily Journal

“Dogs’ lives are too short. Their only fault, really.”
– Agnes Sligh Turnbull

“A dog teaches fidelity, perseverance, and to turn around three times before lying down.”
– Robert Benchley

“The pug is living proof that God has a sense of humor.”
– Margo Kaufman

A month ago we sadly said farewell to 14-year-old Chunk, a beautiful black Lab who lived a good life. Chunk’s passing pared our pet population to a pair – Thom and George who, for weeks, have been trying to determine which of them would take over the role of alpha dog.
George the Jack Russell mix seems to care little about being top dog; Thom the Chihuahua, who’s a bit older, but smaller than George, clearly cares much.
So, the boys were working it out.
Then along came Sally.
Thrust into the midst of Thom and George is a 2-year-old pug that sounds like a little pig, and the two are not quite sure what to make of this newby.
Though not a puppy, Sally acts like one.
That’s understandable since she spent the first two years of her life at an Arkansas puppy mill, kept in a crate except for breeding and tending her offspring in a whelping box.
Thankfully, she was rescued from that horrible, inhumane life by Mid-South Pug Rescue Inc., in Tennessee, and fostered for a short time by a couple of pug people in Mississippi.
Now she lives in east Tupelo, a sister to Thom and George, whether they like it or not.
Clearly, Sally is fond of her brothers and eager to play. George growls a little if she gets too close, but sometimes his rumblings are accompanied by a wagging tail.
Thom, on the other hand, has decided – at this time – he will not attempt to be kind to his adopted sister. He has embraced such intimidation tactics as making much meaner noises than George and nipping, fortunately without biting.
Sally, bless her heart, just takes it in stride, still sidling up to her bad brother and begging him with her beautiful, brown bulging eyes to be her buddy.
In the meantime, I feel like we’re all living between the covers of one of my long-ago elementary school readers.
“Look, George, look. See Sally play.”
“Grrrrrrrrrrrr.”
“No, George, no. Sally is sweet.”
“Grrrrrrrrrrrr.”
“Come, Sally, come,” I beckon toward the sofa where Thom waits nearby. “Good girl, Sally.”
“Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,” followed by several nipping sounds.
“Run, Sally, run.”
leslie.criss@journalinc.com