I believe Mateo has learned the art of the occasional yield.
Mateo is a big black dog. At his last weigh-in at the vet’s, he tipped the scales at 97 pounds and he’s likely over the century mark at this point. He’s a gentle soul who is likely to do more damage with his wagging tail than anything else.
Mateo is a rescue we adopted soon after we moved here. He had languished for weeks at the shelter probably because he was big, black, and not a puppy. We don’t know anything about his previous life and he’s never said much about his past.
He has worked out the amount of shared space and attention he’s willing to share and he just goes with it. At the end of the day, Mateo knows he’ll be climbing the stairs with us to our bedroom and taking his usual sleeping spot at the foot of our bed – or sharing the bottom half of Emma’s bed.
He knows he’s got his own space and seatbelt in the car – and he knows he’s the only animal in the household who gets to accompany us on long walks in the country.
Mateo knows he’s an integral part of this pack.
This is Mateo’s reindeer toy. It makes a squeaking noise when squeezed. When we first presented it to him, there was a fair amount of squeaking going on. And then he moved on to the joys of running after and retrieving squeaky tennis balls. The reindeer became a mostly forgotten toy of early days. So much so it ended up moving outdoors onto the porch where it spent Christmakah as a hanging ‘ornament’ on one of the bird feeder hooks [much to Dianne’s chagrin].
So this reindeer toy is not a part of his everyday existence.
The other day, Becel [chicken] was roaming around on the porch. She’s a social creature.
Mateo was lounging in the sunshine and seemed relatively disinterested in the proceedings. Becel wandered past Mateo. No reaction other than a raised eyebrow. Mateo does the raised eyebrow better than anyone other than the late great John Belushi. Mateo is a dog of few gestures and the raised eyebrow is one of his best.
And then Becel wandered over to the reindeer toy. She looked it over. And then she gave it a few pecks. And then a few more pecks. Mateo raised his other eyebrow but made no other visible move.
Becel wandered to the far side of the porch.
Mateo made his move. He got up, walked over to the reindeer toy and picked it up in his mouth. And then he gave it an absolutely wicked all-out death thrashing. Lots of squeaking, saliva and dog hair fallout in the immediate area. Then he put it down and calmly returned to his spot in the sun.
Becel got off the porch in record speed and joined Shania in the yard much farther away from the house.
Mateo demonstrated, quite eloquently, that while practicing the art of the occasional yield is a good thing, all-out surrender should only be considered in the face of insurmountable odds.
Be well. Practice big medicine.