Josie’s Furry Older Sister

Josie is officially smarter than our dog Clover now.  Just look – she’s using a stick to push sand around!  Tool use!  Next she’ll be starting fires, flaking spear points, and ordering an electric nose hair removal system off of SkyMall.  Still, there are a few things along the way that Clover has taught Josie.

We start the day with Sarah going to work.  Clover has always had some pretty serious separation anxiety, and though she has gotten better about Sarah leaving for work, it’s still a different story if I leave her tied up outside a store.  Inside I will hear her all the way at the back of the store, while I listen to fellow shoppers in the aisles make comments like, “Oh that poor dog, she sounds like she’s being beaten.”  Same goes for Josie.  When I leave her tied up outside a store – no, no, just kidding.  But when Sarah starts putting things in her backpack and tries to put her bike helmet on with one hand, I will stealthily approach  to take Josephine out of her other arm.  When Josie realizes what’s about to happen, she will proceed to cry, bat me away with one arm like I’m a strange man with a lollipop, while clinging like a marmoset to her mother’s chest with her other hand.  I am the eagle swooping down to steal her away in this analogy.  Clover, now a year older, will just watch as her heart silently breaks, and I find myself guiltily wishing that someday, Josie’s reaction will be as quiet.  Or at least, a little less violent toward me.

Next is morning snack and invariably, peanut butter in one form or another will be on the menu for both of them.  Sarah often leaves Clover dog toys filled with peanut butter throughout the house and tells her to “Find it!” before she leaves to lessen Clover’s separation anxiety.  So while Josie is still crying, Clover is sniffing around the house looking for them.  I’ll put Josie in her chair, and spread some peanut butter on some bread, and watch the tears dry up.  Both treat peanut butter as a main dish, not really a condiment, and Josie will remove as much peanut butter as she can from the bread before, maybe, giving the bread a try.  I’m fine with this.  Both Sarah and I don’t really eat meat, so we were relieved when Josie didn’t balloon up into an anaphylactic nightmare after eating this vegetarian protein option.

I’m actually embarrassedd to admit this, but Josie actually had her first peanut butter from one of Clover’s Kong toys.  One morning after she left for work, I noticed that Clover was giving Josie a sidelong jealous look, and as I followed her gaze I found Josie holding the red Kong, hands and face slathered with peanut butter.  “Well, I guess today we find out if Josie has a peanut allergy,”  I thought to myself, trying to remember if we still had an epi-pen in the camping supplies first aid kit.  And she doesn’t, and now her favorite thing to eat is peanut butter quinoa balls.

Josie and Clover both have a tendency toward disorder and destruction.  They both leave the house messier at the end of the day, but they have their own niches.  Clover specializes in tearing up empty ice cream cartons (which we give her), strewing dog toys about, and producing armies of fur bunnies, which multiply as quickly as their namesake.  Josie focuses more on hiding common household items, like measuring cups, in the washing machine or bathtub, and dropping food on the floor.  Clover helps with clean up the latter, and I have a feeling that in a few years, these two will conspire to make whole plates of brussels sprouts, peas, and broccoli disappear.

Clover doesn’t normally guard her food – thankfully she’s good about that, but I can’t help but look at these photos and think that she looks like a dog guarding her food bowl.

But the most endearing trait has to be the way Josie uses Clover as a watchdog for Sarah’s return from work.  If we are out in the yard, and Sarah comes biking up the hill on her way home from work, Clover will perk her ears up, watch as still as a statue when Sarah comes into view, and the bolt over to the gate like she’s fired out of a canon.  Since Josie is usually bent over somewhere in the yard, poking some tiny rock, flower or bug, she won’t notice Sarah biking up the road beyond the hedge.  But she will notice Clover tear by her, bound f or the gate, and she’ll look up at me with wide eyes and say, “Mama!”

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