Boxers

NOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A SUBJECT NEAR AND DEAR TO ME! BOXERS! PRESENTLY I HAVE TWO, LILO (THE MATRIARCH) AND KOBE (THE KIND HEARTED BUT FEARLESS YOUNG UPSTART)
THOUGH I HAVE HAD OTHER GOOD DOGS IN MY LIFE, BOXERS ARE MY MAINSTAY. IF I HAVE A DIFFERENT BREED, IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE SOME CIRCUMSTANCE WARRANTED IT, AND THOUGH NEVER REGRETTED IT (ONE OF THE BEST DOGS I'VE HAD WAS A PIT-BULL MIX, LIVED TO BE 18, AND ONLY DIED THEN BECAUSE I PUT HIM DOWN. COULDN'T WALK,SEE, HEAR, EAT OR DO ANYTHING ON HIS OWN, BUT REFUSED TO LEAVE US) BOXERS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN IN THE MIX.
I WAS RAISED WITH ONE OF THE BRIGHTEST BOXERS I'VE KNOWN, AND HAVE THROUGH MY LIFE CONTINUED TO HAVE THEM. I'VE ALWAYS WONDERED AT MY MENTALITY AND MOTIVES, BECAUSE IT SEEMS IRONIC THAT WITH THE BITTERSWEET RELATIONSHIPS I HAVE WITH THIS NOBLE BREED, AND THE PAIN WHEN I LOSE ONE, I INVARIABLY WILL GET ANOTHER AND REPEAT THE CYCLE. HAVE MANY TIMES. IT'S ALMOST MASOCHISTIC! BUT THE LOVE THESE WONDERFUL DOGS GIVE IS ABSOLUTELY UNCONDITIONAL, THAT CANNOT EVEN BE MIMICKED BY A HUMAN BEING.
LILO, WAS RAISED FROM A PUP, HER TUTORSHIP WAS UNDER THE FIRM BUT LOVING PAW OF REGGIE, THE UNDISPUTED ALPHA AND LEADER OF THE PACK. SADLY, HIS LIFE WAS SHORTENED TO EIGHT WONDERFUL YEARS, WHEN HE SUCCUMBED TO CARDIOMYOPATHY.
IT WAS A PAINFUL PROCESS TO WATCH, BUT I WAS WITH HIM THE WHOLE WAY. TO SEE THIS ONCE PROUD, ACTIVE, LIVELY, ATTENTIVE DOG BEING REDUCED TO THEN A SICKLY,SAD ONE WAS HEART BREAKING. EVEN THOUGH I HAD MUCH TO DO, I COULD NOT HELP BUT STAY WITH HIM ALMOST CONTINUALLY HIS LAST FEW MONTHS. HE WOULD LAY ON THE COUCH IN THE T.V. ROOM, HIS POOR TIRED HEAD ALWAYS IN MY LAP WHILE WE WATCHED T.V. WITH HIM.
JUST PRIOR TO HIS DEATH, A FRIEND CALLED ME, WHO IS INVOLVED IN ANIMAL RESCUE, AND INFORMED ME THAT A BEAUTIFUL BOXER WAS GOING TO BE EUTHANIZED THE FOLLOWING MORNING, AND WOULD I BE WILLING TO GO GET HIM FOR HER AND FOSTER HIM FOR A FEW WEEKS (YEAH RIGHT) UNTIL SHE COULD FIND HIM A HOME? IT WAS 6:00 P.M. THEN AND WE HAD TO TRAVEL 100 MILES TO GET HIM. FORTUNATELY, SHE CONTACTED A VOLUNTEER IN THAT AREA
WHO COULD GET HIM AND MEET US ON THE ROAD.
THUS BEGAN THE NEW LIFE WITH KOBE. BUT IT WAS A ROCKY ROAD AT FIRST. THANKS TO THE LOVE AND VIGILANCE OF LILO, DISASTER WAS HEADED OFF AND PREVENTED.
KOBE WAS ALPHA ALSO, AND AT FIRST HE WAS WILD! UNMANAGEABLE! ONE SMALL OPENING IN THE GATE AND HE WOULD SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY AND BOLT! BUT INSISTENT ON CHALLENGING REGGIE FOR DOMINANCE, ATTACKED HIM ONCE, BRIEFLY, BUT WE CAUGHT IT BEFORE ANY DAMAGE WAS DONE. AS A WEEK OR SO WENT BY, OUR VIGILANCE FELL. BUT NOT LILO'S! HER LOVE AND LOYALTY TO REGGIE WAS INDISPUTABLE. THE FIRST EPISODE I WITNESSED FROM OUR BACK DOOR. LILO WAS SLEEPING ON THE PATIO AND REGGIE HAD JUST RISEN FROM HER SIDE, SLOWLY, TO STRETCH. I SAW KOBE HIDING IN WAIT FROM AROUND THE SHED, AND MY HEART LEAPED OUT OF MY CHEST!!! KOBE WAS EXTREMELY FAST, EVEN TO BOXER'S STANDARDS. REPUTEDLY HAD BEEN A STREET DOG FOR A YEAR. IN THAT ONE SPLIT SECOND OF MY HEARTBEAT, KOBE WAS AFTER REGGIE! BECAUSE OF MY FLURRY TO GET THE DOOR OPEN, I DIDN'T SEE THE NEXT FEW SECONDS, BUT EVIDENTLY, IN A DISPLAY OF SPEED HERSELF, LILO INTERCEPTED KOBE, AND IT WAS ON!!! THE EXCITEMENT WAS TOO MUCH ON REGGIE'S HEART AND HE PASSED OUT, BUT I WASN'T SURE IF IT WAS THAT OR HE JUST DIED. I RAN TO HIM, PRAYING TO GOD THAT LILO WOULD HOLD HER OWN JUST FOR A FEW SECONDS. I CHECKED ON REGGIE, SAW HE WAS ALIVE, THEN WENT TO INTERVENE BETWEEN KOBE AND LILO. A FIGHT WHICH HAD ESCALATED TO A FIERCE, NOISY BATTLE AND HAD MOVED TO THE FURTHER END OF THE YARD. KOBE WAS ALSO THE STRONGEST BOXER I HAD ENCOUNTERED, LEAN AND EXTREMELY MUSCULAR, PLUS FOUR YEARS LILO'S JUNIOR. BY THE TIME I GOT TO THEM, LILO HAD SUBDUED KOBE TO A SUB DOMINANT POSITION, AND STANDING OVER HIM, GROWLED WITH A FEROCITY I HAD NEVER HEARD FROM HER. IF KOBE EVEN FLINCHED, SHE TIGHTENED THE STRANGLEHOLD SHE HAD ON HIM. I'M A BELIEVER IN THE ORDER OF THE PACK, TO A LIMIT, AND HAVE FELT THAT AS IN THE WILD, THEY HAVE THEIR OWN GOVERNING SYSTEM, SO I DIDN'T INTERVENE.
LILO KEPT KOBE SUB DOMINANT FOR NO LESS THAT THIRTY MINUTES! EVERYTIME HE TRIED TO MOVE, HER JAWS WENT AROUND HIS NECK AND GROWLED. HE FROZE, UNTIL SUCH TIME AS SHE DEEMED IT WAS APPROPRIATE FOR HIM TO GET UP. FINALLY, IT WAS OVER. KOBE GOT UP, SHOOK HIMSELF OFF, AND STILL DISTANCING HIMSELF, LAYED DOWN BEHIND THE SHED. LILO SWAGGERED OVER TO REGGIE, LICKED HIS FACE AS IF TO ASSURE HIM SHE WOULD PROTECT HIM.
THERE WERE TWO MORE ATTEMPTS BY KOBE, THOUGH HE NEVER GOT TO REGGIE BEFORE LILO WAS BETWEEN THEM. SHE DIDN'T SO MUCH AS NEED TO GROWL AT KOBE, AND HE BACKED OFF BOTH TIMES.
IT WAS ABOUT A MONTH LATER, REGGIE PASSED. HEARTBREAKING FOR US. BUT I WONDERED WHAT THIS WOULD MEAN FOR THE 'PACK'. IN LILO'S EYES, REGGIE WAS STILL THE PACK LEADER, BUT NOW HE WAS GONE. THINGS CALMED DOWN FOR A BIT, THEN ONE DAY, WE WERE ALL IN THE T.V. ROOM, AND KOBE WALKS IN, AND FOR NO APPARENT REASON,LILO JUMPS HIM AND OF COURSE, HE SUBMITS. THAT WENT ON FOR THE NEXT 8-10 MOS. AND I BEGAN WONDERING IF LILO WASN'T JUST BECOMING A BULLY BECAUSE SHE COULD. BUT KOBE FINALLY BEGAN IDENTIFYING US AS HIS PACK, AND NO MORE BOLTING FROM THE GATE. WE HAD BEEN WORKING WITH HIM ON HIS COMMANDS, WHICH, THOUGH NOT SEEMING TO TAKE WELL TO THE TRAINING, EVENTUALLY FELL INTO LINE. THE EPISODES WERE LESS FREQUENT NOW, AND LILO BEGAN EASING OFF, IT SEEMED.
KOBE ALWAYS HAD BASICALLY A GOOD HEART, EXCEPT WHERE INSTINCT TOLD HIM DIFFERENT. BUT HE LOVED PEOPLE, AND RELISHED IN PLAY WITH THE NEIGHBORHOOD KIDS THAT MY SON BROUGHT HOME. ON OCCASION, KOBE'S OLD WAYS WOULD RE-VISIT HIM AND HE WOULD ESCAPE FROM THE YARD. BUT HE LOVED PEOPLE SO MUCH, THAT HE ALWAYS WENT UP TO A NEIGHBORHOOD KID, WANTING TO PLAY, AND INVARIABLY THEY WOULD BRING HIM BACK.
KOBE WAS NEVER A THREAT TO HUMAN BEINGS, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN.
AS TIME PASSED, MY SON & I MOVED ON TO A FARM. I WAS VERY CONCERNED THAT TOO MUCH FREEDOM FOR KOBE COULD BE DISASTROUS. BUT FOR AWHILE, HE SEEMED TO ADAPT WELL, AND LOVED THE FREEDOM, AND GENERALLY STAYED WITHIN EARSHOT. BUT THERE WERE SOME ISOLATED EVENTS IN WHICH HE DISAPPEARED FOR UP TO 8 HRS. BUT I DISCOVERED HE WAS 'VISITING' NEIGHBORS AND PLAYING WITH THEIR DOG(S). WE DID HAVE A THREE WEEK EPISODE, IN WHICH I HAD GIVEN UP THE SEARCH (ALMOST) BUT MIRACULOUSLY, KIND PEOPLE AROUND HERE WERE VIGILANT AND EVENTUALLY HE WAS FOUND CAMPED IN AN OLD GENTLEMAN'S HOUSE WHO TOOK LOVING CARE OF HIM AND, EVEN LOVED HIM, BUT DID NOT WISH TO KEEP ANYONE'S FAMILY MEMBER AWAY FROM THEM. THROUGH A SERIES OF MIRACLES, WE DISCOVERED HIM, ABOUT 4 MILES AWAY AND WENT TO THE GENTLEMAN'S HOUSE, AT WHICH TIME HE SURRENDERED KOBE, NOW FAT, TO US. WE ALL BECAME FRIENDS AND ON OCCASION, WE TAKE HIM TO VISIT 'CALVIN' OR HE WILL COME TO SEE KOBE.
AS I WRITE THIS, LILO LAYS AT MY FEET IN THE CABIN, KOBE IS EVER VIGILANT IN THE YARD, FREE TO ESCAPE, BUT HE DOESN'T.
NOW THE PACK SEEMS TO BE RUN BY A SHARED COOPERATIVE, NEITHER BEING THE DOMINANT DOG. LILO, NOW MUCH OLDER, STILL HOLDS HER OWN IN PLAY, AND BOY! DO THEY PLAY!
THEY ARE WITHOUT A DOUBT, BEST 'BUDS' NOW AND DO MOST EVERYTHING TOGETHER.

THOUGH THE CHAPTERS OF OUR LIVES TOGETHER ARE ONGOING, I HOPE TO SOMEDAY END THIS TALE WITH..."AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY UNTIL THE END OF THEIR DAYS..."

BOXERS, WHAT A BREED OF DOG!
basementsong basementsong
41-45, M
Aug 1, 2010