When Chester visits
My youngest brother is visiting us. Aside from the humans enjoying connecting in person again, the dogs are doing the same with their cousin Chester. Chester is a happy dog with as much energy as Albert Claude. He also enjoys wrestling, something Renae loved and which since her death Albert doesn’t get a lot of opportunity to do.
For the past few days while his family went across to the Alps for some ski fun, we’ve had the pleasure of Chester’s company. He’s slotted perfectly into our routines, picking up from the schnauzers all the best tricks and getting what he wants. While he’s a Labrador and in theory should be water-loving, he’s surprisingly modest in that department. Happily paddling down at the pond on the morning walks but not keen on going deeper.
When the dogs are playing in the house there is plenty of interesting body language to admire. I’ve been enjoying closely observing them, seeing the intricate moves of their play fights with impressive control of power and potentially injurious manouevring. Alexandra Horowitz writes extensively on dogs at play. If like me this fascinating topic interests you there are plenty of good resources freely available online. Watching scenes like this play out under my nose it’s good to understand more deeply what’s going on.
How dogs communicate in play is an absorbing topic of canine research. It’s also something which puppies from deprived backgrounds such as puppy farms don’t get the opportunitites to learn. This has not been far from my mind as I’ve enjoyed seeing Chester – who has a solid and healthy background – in full canine happy mode. Angel and Cerise don’t get involved. They prefer watching from the sidelines, happy observers of the boys being boys, dogs being dogs.
Today the family are reuniting, they’re on their way back across France as I write and will be here late afternoon. Chester may sense it as he’s particularly excitable this morning and our routine hasn’t changed to trigger it. I don’t think it’s fanciful that he may be picking up on something of which I cannot understand. Who knows what special sensitivity dogs might have?