My father took a road trip to New Mexico this weekend. On his way, he stopped in Tempe and left me to babysit his dog over the weekend.
Bandit is also a Border Collie. Male. He and Love have spent a great deal of time together both at my home, and mostly at my dad's. Upon their first meeting, it was a bit tentative, especially because Love is so gosh-darn territorial and jealous. Their relationship is a little bit edgy, here and there, but they get along fairly well now. They kiss when they greet each other and, at times, they play together as well.
Walking them is always an interesting excursion - particularly so when only one person is walking them together.
First of all, they are both black and white. Though they have completely different body types, and completely different types of fur and markings, the fact that they share the same color scheme, makes them a very cute match. Second, they have completely different ways of "being" in their worlds: the way they move, how they sniff out certain areas, and even how they take their poos and pees (Bandit, leg up over a bush or tree to pee; Love, squatting daintily...Bandit runs back and forth and back and forth over and over, covering a small track of land in order to ready himself for a poo; Love simply squats as if she is giving birth to a watermelon).
Despite their differences, there are times when they sync up and walk side by side, at a similar pace, and times when they go nose-to-nose to sniff a specific scent. They also seem quite respectful of one another when one wants to stop and sniff out a particular area, and the other seems to care less. One will always wait for the other to finish his or her time with a specific smell, or a scratch against a bush, or piece of lawn, or when each of them does their "business."
Both dogs get super-sonic-excited when they know they are going to go for a walk. Love hops, bounds, and bounces all over the place and Bandit bays and whines - as if they are both going to Doggy Disneyland with handfuls of "E" tickets for the best doggy-rides EVER! I am not kidding. To be a dog: to get that excited about going for a walk, every single time, no matter how many times they've gone out in one day. That's the way to live!
Walking the two at the same time has its complications. They twist up, their leashes get tangled, they walk on opposite sides of poles and pillars. In order to stay vertical, I have to be completely present and aware of my surroundings and what both dogs are doing. It becomes a dance of sorts, and the three of us perform a very intricate pas de trois that can be quite humorous - especially when I take my eyes off of one or the other or the both of them.
Even when my dad and I are together with them, we have to make sure we are giving both dogs equal attention, as they vie for both of ours. Alone, I have to be at the top of my game, making sure that they both get equal treats, equal affection, and equal play time. Just like my students: there is no room for favorites when I am acting "mommy" to both dogs. It's a good lesson on awareness, mindfulness, and being as loving and fair as possible.
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