The adorable pictures of sibling Scotties on the NTSR Facebook page (featured above) have made me smile, but I’ll never get our two to “hug” unless it’s in a boxing ring. Bella, our 6-year-old black Scottie, and Barkley, our 3-year-old wheaten Scottie are more like human siblings than canine. When we’re not around, they play together, entertain each other and I’m sure are happy to have the company, but like kids, when the parents come around, competition begins.
The only way I’d get a picture of them with their heads together is in one of their infamous FRAPPING duels. F.R.A.P. stands for Frenetic Random Activity Period, for which all Scotties are famous. When you get two together, frapping simultaneously, bedlam ensues. And that’s what Bella and Barkley live for, at least Barkley does.
Bella was an only pet as a two-year-old rescue from San Antonio Scottie Rescue for 18 months, and had grown accustomed to the limelight, being the queen of all she surveyed. She quickly dispensed with that well disciplined cage training and made herself comfortable on the softest down pillows in the master bedroom bed; learned a few tricks in class to get all the treats she wanted; and routinely chased squirrels up the trees in the big back yard she patrolled every day. Life was good.
Then came the skinny little blonde. Barkley was a 4 or 5 month old wheaten Scottie from North Texas Scottie Rescue who had come from Canton, probably a puppy mill. He ate like a horse and chewed everything. He chewed up the couch. He chewed up the carpet. He even chewed up the stairs, and started on the wooden legs of the dining room chairs before the adults called a dog behaviorist who taught them to keep him on a leash tethered to them 24 hours a day until he stopped chewing. By the time he stopped chewing he was grown, he was loved and he was staying for good, Bella observed.
Barkley seemed to be the opposite of Bella, who was Scottie to a T. He was laid back, easy going and a little slow moving, more like a Basset hound than a Scottie. That was in the house. As soon as the door opened, the jet engines were fully fired and he raced Bella to the edge of the property, beating her, much to her chagrin. When she dutifully chased the squirrels, he’d chase her, breaking her concentration and keeping her from her duties. When the standard poodle on the other side of the fence came outside, Bella’s warnings to stay out of her territory were out-wailed by Barkley’s whining AROOOOO!
She would come in, disgusted, and he would beat her to the bed for a night-time treat. Then he would blink his long eyelashes, flirt and act like a cute puppy to get all the attention and Bella took her treat under the bed to sulk. It was true. Barkley was not a fellow Scottie friend…he was a little brother! Once Bella identified the problem, she started behaving like an ornery big sister. When we heard Barkley whining and crying one evening, we looked to see what the problem was, and Bella had simply laid the length of her body across the threshold of the bedroom door, trapping him inside. He knew if he tried to jump over her, she’d jump up and get him, but his legs were too short to reach over her. Bella found some payback!
A few days later Dave was in the back yard and noticed that Barkley had found a new purpose for the “off-ground lounger” I had purchased to keep the dogs out of the grass in the summer when mosquitoes were bad. He was using it like a trampoline to tease Bella. He would jump from the bench to a planter to the newly-named “trampoline” and onto Bella as she ran past. His timing was impeccable. Where did I ever get the idea he was slow? The little devil is clever. He hides his talents under that sweet, “I’m so adorable and just a little dumb because I’m blonde” facade.
But he isn’t fooling Bella…not for a second. She’s gotten him back by taking his favorite sleeping place before he gets there before…like some cats I’ve seen…and routinely stretches across the bench they both use to hop up on our bed. It’s too high without a first bounce on the bench, and she knows it, so she prevents his joining the family for bedtime when she feels a little vengeance is necessary.
He’s not dumb…I caught him stretching across the threshold to the room the other day, keeping Bella out and said to myself that two can play at this game. They seem to enjoy the competition. My favorite match is their jousting. When both feel a simultaneous FRAP coming on, they get that CHALLENGE! look. Their bodies stiffen, their heads meet eye to eye, side by side, as if they were crossing swords, and I have to bite my tongue to refrain from shouting, “EN GUARDE!” This lasts 20 to 30 seconds before one of them blinks, and the FRAP is on.
They run from bedroom to living room, through the kitchen, around the table, over the couch, under the coffee table, and back into the bedroom, bouncing on the bench to the bed, back to the bench to the floor and out to the living room again in a black and blonde blur. Our eyes can’t adjust to the blazing hot speed, and the barking is incessant. Then, suddenly, it’s over. Just like a tornado, like survivors say….everything’s flying and then there’s this terrible silence. Only it’s not terrible. They’re usually back in our laps, panting for air and will soon be sleeping. The duel is over, frapping has ceased. They are brother and sister again…Montgomery’s all, and to all a goodnight.
***Special thanks to Linda for this fun story and to Loren Stephenson for the picture of her adorable Scotties featured on our Facebook page.