Several weeks ago, I shared with you my confusion about our dogs, Stella and Riley, always being in the same dog bed, although we have 4 beds for them. ( 2 Dogs, 4 Dog Beds, and This? ) I asked what you thought of this and almost 100% of you said you believed Riley was being protective of Stella. That isn’t something we had considered, so armed with this new thought, we started watching their interactions more closely.
We had noticed some, but not all of these behaviors before; but with your input, they took on new meaning to us.
- Riley will whine to go outside, and I will let him out. If Stella doesn’t go with him, he will stand at the door and whine to get back in, and then go sit by her.
- If Riley whines to go outside, and I let him out, and Stella doesn’t go with him, and he whines to get back in BUT instead of letting him in, I actually take Stella outside, then Riley is fine. I guess he doesn’t care if she actually wanted to come out or not. It just matters that she is there.
- If I am going from one room to another and call both dogs to come with me, Riley will come first (he’s the most obedient), but if Stella isn’t behind him, he will stop, and look back waiting for her. He won’t come the rest of the way to me until she is coming too. (Unless there is food involved; then it seems to be every dog for himself.)
- We’ve noticed that Riley is always the one to get in bed with Stella, and it is never the other way around. Never.
But what really touched us was how Riley kept watch over Stella 2 days this week when she was sick. Riley didn’t crowd into bed with her like he usually does, but he also didn’t leave her side. He just sat or laid on the floor by her. Protective, it would seem. Sometimes he would look at me and I could almost hear him saying, “Can’t you do anything??”
One pivotal moment came in the evening though, when I had given Stella white rice for dinner to help her tummy get better. You could just see how much Riley wanted that rice. He kept edging over to Stella’s dish, smelling it ( I guess white rice smells good to dogs. ), looking longingly at it…. but he didn’t touch it. Maybe that’s just his good manners, but I prefer to think that he knew she needed it and let her have it.
And what did that get him? Well, from us, he earned a little rice of his own, and from Stella he earned, perhaps, just a little more space in the bed next time they cuddle up together. That really remains to be seen though.