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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Belinda McBride

Alpha Tidbits: Levi, the Novice

At age three, Levi is my youngest Siberian, and my current show dog. He’s also the only intact male here at home. I have one other male, a 10 year old named Hu Fei. Since Levi has balls, he gets to be the Alpha by default.

He’s completely inappropriate as an alpha. When we visit my friend’s kennel, every dog on the property takes a stab at him. The English Mastiff lays on him, the Finnish Spitz mauls him mercilessly, and the pair of whippets love to roll him end over end. By the time we leave, I always have to check to see if Levi’s balls have sucked up into his body. He’s a total weenie.

Oddly, he actually has some really admirable alpha traits when he and Hu Fei aren’t growling at each other. Levi is a guardian. When all the other dogs are napping in the sun, he sits on watch, overseeing their safety. He does the same thing in the house at night. I have Missy on the bed with me, Pai Mei under the bed, and Ditto on the floor beside me. Levi sleeps in the doorway, keeping guard.

In all honesty, Levi really doesn’t like Ditto. She’s old, grumpy and prone to bite randomly…remember, she’s almost blind. So no, Levi isn’t Ditto’s buddy. While Ditto firmly believes that she’s not a dog, she occasionally remembers that she is and will venture off the back porch and out into the big dog yard.

That yard is where the dogs play their war games. It’s full of bushes and trees, with little trails that wind through the underbrush. They love to weave through it full speed, and one day Ditto followed everyone out there into the bushes.

I noticed that Ditto was stranded in the bushy part of the yard. She’d move forward, run into a branch or trip on a rock, and then she’d be stuck again. I was just getting ready to get a leash and walk her back in when Levi showed up at her side. Slowly, carefully, he escorted her from the bushes and up into the main yard and then through the gate. From there, she scented her destination (me) and made it up the stairs. Once he saw that she was on her way home, Levi darted off to play with the girls.

Now that’s what an alpha should be.


Dena said...

Hi Belinda, We were cat people my whole life, and my daughter always wanted a dog. We live where dogs are not allowed but she brought home a abused Pom mix about 10 months old 4 years ago. She didn't have any training and she chewed eveything; shoes, cords, an electric razor, zippers...etc. Cinny nearly killed herself on the cord! She barks too much and too loud but I couldn't imagine our life without her. We now have a little Yorkie that was getting abused too. It's Crazy and our two cats sure don't like it,lol.
Your dogs sound amazing, what a wonderful famiy you have.

Belinda McBride said...

Thanks Dena! I think all animals are amazing, and there's so much we can learn from them. Congratulations on taking in rescues; we always have one or two around. They make the most grateful pets.