Bully for Budleigh!

Like humans, canines have been known to bully their own species, although they rarely steal lunch money and never send harassing texts due to the absence of thumbs.

Dog bullying can take many forms: overly aggressive play, merciless chasing, inappropriate growling, dunning phone calls, late night tweets, Congressional subcommittee hearings. In our home, dog bullying is exhibited in a hierarchical pack behavior that animal ethologists refer to as “passive-aggressive lying on top of a toy the other dog wants”….“ism”.

One would think that Budleigh’s the problem. He is, through no fault of his own, a terrier, so is always to be presumed guilty. Terriers are born with a handful of parking tickets and four ankle monitors. For convenience, most Giants name their terrier, “Bad Dog!”

But Budleigh is innocent-ish here, the victim of Nature’s Perfect Schnoodle, Brisby.

Brisby protecting home, hearth, and booty taken in border raids.

This might be a surprise to longtime readers who know Brisby as our pack’s kindly Christmas Wilfred Brimley elf, the gentle Belle to Budleigh’s Beast, the pet about whom Mother Teresa would say, “Gosh, I wish I had more dogs like Brisby. And fewer lepers.”

But Brisby has his dark side. Not Sith Lord dark. More like Comcast representative dark.

BUDLEIGH: “BrisbyBrisbyBrisby!”

BRISBY: “Good morning! How can I help you today?”

BUDLEIGH: “You’re laying on my tug-tug! Gimme my tug-tug!”

BRISBY: “I’m so sorry to hear that you’re having difficulty with the tug-tug. One moment, please, while I nap.”

BUDLEIGH: “That’s not fair! You’re supposed to give me whatever I want. Everybody has to give me what I want! Gimme, Brisbyyyyy!”

BRISBY: “Good morning! How can I help you today?”

Budleigh then deploys his Giants Attention-getting Device (Pat. Pending) – an anxious, pathetic whimper combined with a vexed stamping of his front paw and yawning. That’s also how Lassie would precisely explain that Timmy was down the well yet again, this time pinned under a John Deere combine harvester S-Series model, the one that features a robust 400-bushel grain tank. It’s a real honey!

You’d think that Budleigh could handle a bully. A homeless dog cruelly schooled in the ways of the street, finding shelter in a…well, shelter, gaining acceptance among other misfits. Classic West Side Story! He should know how to rumble. Or at least dance his way out of fight. But no, Budleigh’s plan is to stamp his little, white paw and yawn his way to the top of the pack.

So the Giants must step in.

Border disputes between dogs are best settled by Giant career diplomats trained in the use of bacon bits. With a little practice, alert Giants can defuse a tense confrontation between dogs before it escalates to an imposition of martial law and shutdown of free and fair elections.

Bullying cues to watch for in your dog include:
• Piloerection – a great word that sounds really dirty. However, it just refers to bristling of hair on the neck and back, a condition, coincidentally, that kept my Uncle Morris out of the army.

• Domineering posture, which includes ears forward, tail held rigid and high. Or ears back, tail flexible and low. Or one ear forward, and one ear back, tail to the left, then the tail to the right. You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around. That’s what it’s all a-BOUT!

• Slow stalking, crouching, staring, or other movement that might be construed as badgering the witness.

• Low growling, rumbling, or other vocalization similar to Clint Eastwood asking another dog if it’s a punk and if, indeed, it feels lucky.

Dog professionals suggest a number of effective training techniques for modifying bullying behavior, but you’re not planning to look into those, are you?

No, we didn’t think so. We’ve met your kids.

So, while you struggle with properly raising your children, the rest of us will return our attention to Brisby, who has been sleeping on top of Budleigh’s tug-tug toy for more than a page.

BUDLEIGH: “Hey, I need a human in here! Stat!”

GIANT TWO: “Dave, we’ve got a dog thing going on.”

GIANT ONE: “OK, gimme the sit-rep!”

GIANT TWO: “Well, Brisby’s on a toy Budleigh wants—”

BUDLEIGH: “It’s mine! Everything’s mine!”

GIANT TWO: “—and Brisby’s curling his lip at him.”

BRISBY: “Go ahead, make my day!”

GIANT ONE: “Alright, is Brisby displaying piloerection?”


GIANT ONE: “You know, neck fur? Is he stalking? Crouching? Snarling?”

GIANT TWO: “No, he’s just lying on the tug-tug.”

BUDLEIGH: “On MY tug-tug!”

GIANT ONE: “So just distract him with a cookie.”

BUDLEIGH: “And punish him! Make him suffer!”

GIANT TWO: “C’mere, Brisby! Off the tug-tug. C’mere! Aaaand down! Oh, good boy!”

BUDLEIGH: “Wait! Now he’s on my tug-ball! He’s on my tug-baaall!”

BRISBY: “Thank you for calling Comcast!”


Sleeping between Giants explores life – if you can call it that – with a terrier.

Your feedback is welcome, probably. dj

16 thoughts on “Bully for Budleigh!

  1. OMG still giggling about…
    -rarely steal lunch money and never send harassing texts due to the absence of thumbs.
    -Terriers are born with a handful of parking tickets and four ankle monitors.
    -Timmy was down the well yet again, this time pinned under a John Deere combine harvester S-Series model, the one that features a robust 400-bushel grain tank. It’s a real honey!
    -vexed stamping of his front paw and yawning

    1. His military-issued rucksack was to blame. When Morris’ back hairs bristled, his backpack would fall off, distracting his platoon and potentially revealing covert troop movements. Happily, he joined the home guard and spent the war years testing parachutes for tear resistance. Thanks for reading, Doug! dj

  2. You clearly have misdiagnosed the symptoms of the case. Piloerection, domineerance, stalking, growling and rumbling (clearly signs of Brisby’s orgiastic genotype) are nature’s progressive pre-Giant modes of selection, with current deference to the pack (well, members of the household) and the always hungry alpha leader with top tug position. Bullying indeed!

    This insight comes from extensive conversation with our household’s cat, Freudo, from on top of the refrig (ie: mountain) from where he imparts wisdom about the 4-legged world. Dr. Freudo does suggest adopting a shelter cat to really understand the nature of the “Peaceable Kingdom”.

    It’s that or Comcast came while you all were taking a nap and turned on one of their free movies for your pups.

    1. Thanks for your exhaustive research, Yellow Snow. But wait! You hear your cat talk? You know that’s cra-cra, right? dj

  3. Dear Budleigh, grow up! Give that bully a good swipe on his snout and nip his toes! He will be SORRY. I feel your pain. Licks and hugs, Schnapps

  4. Hilarious, Dave! I can relate to stalking, crouching, staring. It’s what I do every time someone at work has a box of donuts they aren’t willing to share, or bacon! Definitely bacon.

    1. Thanks, Molly. And when you find yourself in the break room at work curled up atop a box of chocolate-covered bacon donuts, snarling at coworkers, please, PLEASE take a selfie for me. dj

  5. Laughed so hard I almost had a piloerection, but I was raised as a good, Catholic girl, so I controlled myself. Just hilarious, Dave, and the leper line slayed me!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.