September 20, 2003

Alpha Male ~ Ownership

image copyright Fred First

Today, September 19, 2003, at 1:30 p.m. EDT... at the age of 11 weeks and after five weeks of careful consideration and thorough background checks, Tsuga (Chewga, Shoega, Barricuda, and other aliases apply) has decided to keep the place. We officially signed our property over to him because he gave us no other options. Why 1:30 on this particular day, I do not know... only that at that point, like somebody flipped an internal switch, he was no longer content to just hang out on or near the back porch. It was as if he realized "I belong here; and here; and over there" and his perimeter of confidence expanded across Goose Creek like a supernova. He claimed the branch beside the house, running back and forth in the silty bottom snatching jewelweeds out of the ground, dragging them along behind him like streamers, in a most celebratory fashion. He climbed high on the hill behind the house-- farther than he has ever gone before, even with one of us. And as you see here, Tsuga has lost his suspicions about the moving water, and made sure there was a clause in the agreement giving him water rights.

And, adding no small portion of additional status to a pup already too big for his britches, today Tsuga became a hunter: he stole an already-dead soggy female goldfinch from the cat; and alas, he discovered a Darwinian reject from a litter of chipmunks over on the New Road that had just enough life in it to claim it as a "kill". Actually, he has already discovered the Carcass Redemption Program with which Buster was so familiar. "I give you this very dead groundhog carcass I've been carrying around since catching him over behind the barn, you give me a puppy cookie in exchange". It is a form of canine barter we had best just get used to again.

The dog we brought home five weeks ago could easily walk under the belly of the long-legged dog that stands peeking over the barricade at me in the other room right now. It's rather frightening, really. It brings to mind the childhood images I have of Baby Huey, the gargantuan diapered dimwitted duck. And there are other memories of things getting too big too fast. When I was small, I often heard my mother refer to fast-growing things as "growing like Topsy"; I haven't the foggiest notion the source of this little phrase... perhaps someone can enlighten me, since we will be needing a variety of descriptors to account for Mr. Mushroom here. In our family, we experienced a small boy, our son Nathan, who as all children do, suddenly enlarged like Alice eating the Bigger Pill. Someone commented on how he had grown, to which Nate replied "Yeth! I went out in da garn and growed!" He had heard us so often talk about things growing in the garden, he just assumed that his having been out there amongst the tomotoes and squash and tall corn accounted for his sudden spurt in height. In which case, I'd better turn on electric fence and keep Baby Tsuga out of the garn at all costs!

Previous posts about the struggle to be the Alpha Male around here...

Posted by fred1st at September 20, 2003 06:06 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Like any dog, he will love water - until it is bath time!

Posted by: bogie at September 20, 2003 06:28 AM

Topsy was the subject of a children's book; but, my foggy memory refuses to divulge the specifics. I THINK that I recall that Topsy (a young girl) grew, and grew, and grew, requiring that her house be heightened and enlarged with each of her growth spurts. I can't quite pull out how we got from there to topsy-turvy, with the meany of helter-skelter. As in, we threw the structure together topsy-turvy. You might ask folks at this web site (which you may have given us.) http://www.wordorigins.org/

Posted by: Cop Car at September 20, 2003 08:19 AM

How do you pronounce tsuga?

Posted by: Daniel Markham at September 20, 2003 10:18 AM

Your puppy now officially has a face. (Other than just a cute puppy-mug.) The boy-dog in that picture is clearly evaluating the situation, and there's no doubt he has something in mind for you.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

Posted by: Pascale Soleil at September 20, 2003 10:34 AM

He's just too damn handsome. Oughtta be a law, or something.

Posted by: peggy at September 21, 2003 12:48 AM

Quite right, Pascale. I think he's thinking, "I wonder what that camera tastes like?"

Posted by: Curt at September 22, 2003 11:47 AM

Good to see the boy has a face for mischief. 'At's my little brother...

Posted by: nate at September 23, 2003 12:41 AM

Not to be confused with "Topsy (Part 2)" by Cozy Cole — there is a Part 1, but it wasn't the hit, and neither was the follow-up "Turvy" — the Topsy in question ("I 'spect I grow'd. Don't think nobody never made me.") was the property of Augustine St. Clare in N'Awleans, who purchases the title character in Uncle Tom's Cabin. (Of course, M. St. Clare dies, and Tom is subsequently sold to the evil Simon Legree.)

And how often does one get to work in a Harriet Beecher Stowe reference these days?

Posted by: CGHill at September 24, 2003 09:38 PM

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