Friday, June 29, 2012

Kirby Goes Solo

Life without Baxter has not been easy for us. I could write an endless number of posts talking about all the little things I miss each day about him. But not today. Today is about Kirby. The other dog. The little guy. Little Mug. Kirb.

Kirby has had a period of adjustment as well. Being the only dog in the house is entirely new to him. Since birth, he's always been around other dogs. At first, Kirby seemed to be waiting. He seemed quieter, more somber. His barks were tentative (in the past, Kirby would sound the alarm whenever anyone came anywhere near our home, then he would run and hide under the sofa and continue to bark while Baxter ran to the window or door to investigate). They had this worked out. Kirb was the alarm dog, Baxter was the brave investigator, the enforcer. Anyone who tried to break in thinking there was just a little dog inside would have been greeted by a very tall, very scruffy dog. Without his enforcer present, I think Kirby is being a tad more judicious about his barking. This is not a bad thing. Although he does seem to gradually be finding his voice and his courage.

Over time we have noticed that Kirby has become much more interactive with us, more tuned-in to what we are doing. We always thought that Kirby -- while very sweet and, at times, downright cuddly -- lacked the sort of deep social attachment Baxter had with us. I thought perhaps this was just a breed thing. Now I'm realizing that Baxter really was Kirby's translator most of the time. Kirby would let us know when he wanted something, but he didn't spend much time watching us, gazing into our eyes or even checking back with us when we were all on a walk. Baxter did all of those things while Kirby gazed at Baxter, picked on Baxter, played with Baxter. Now he is turning to us more as playmates. His tennis ball is with him most of the time, and the second there's an open moment, it's dropped at our feet. He sits on my lap and looks me right in the eyes. He checks back when we are walking. He asks to come up on my lap while I'm working, something he only used to do when we were on Skype (that's fodder for another post...) In short -- he's communicating with us more.

There's not doubt that Kirby has helped us through the loss of Baxter. Just having him around is a comfort. And I think he feels the same way about us. We've always loved Kirby, but I think now we are getting to know him in a new way. And it's really quite endearing.

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