Friday, March 14, 2008

The Mojo Wars

I am having a good time these days watching a little contest of wills on the homefront. Mojo vs. Goldie. Guess which side I'm rooting for?

Goldie has the idea that Mojo is a dog. Mojo has the idea that Goldie is staff and therefore below him on the household pecking order. He just barely recognizes that I'm ahead of him, so she doesn't have a prayer.

As good little rat terriers, both Mojo and Coco have studied the household routine and appointed themselves certain tasks that are their responsibility. These tasks are performed without fail in a particular sequence each and every day.

Coco, for example, is responsible for reminding me when it is walkie time every afternoon. If 4:30 has arrived and I have not made any indication that their walkie is imminent, she begins to nudge my leg and give me flirtatious cow eyes. It's also her responsibility to keep an eye out Gran's window for foot traffic past the house and for sounding the alert.

Mojo has all kinds of responsibilites, being the alpha male of the house. It's his job to keep the cats away from Mom. It's his job to make a regular patrol of the house and make sure no boogers are getting in. And it's his job every morning, as soon as Goldie arrives, to take her to each of the decks to hold the door open while he makes a quick circuit of the deck looking for possible squirrel invasion. She's supposed to stand at the door and be ready to let him back in as soon as he makes his rounds.

If she doesn't proceed directly from her arrival at the front door to open the deck door, Mojo starts his preemptory bark to let her know it's time to hustle. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, will keep him from doing this. The only thing that will shut him up is to open the door and let him make his quick squirrel check.

Goldie insists that she is going to teach Mojo to use a quieter "indoor" voice. I have been repeatedly informed that her own dog has learned a command to use a quieter tone inside. Yesterday she told me if I would work with him, he could be taught. I have refrained from pointing out that she has only herself to blame for establishing this routine in the first place. Once you've carved out a rut, a rat terrier will see to it that you maintain that rut. It's not my fault we are going through this little circus every morning and he's not ordering me around, so I see no reason why I should get involved.

Nobody can control a rat terrier who has learned a routine and then adopted it as his appointed task. Yes, I could punish him and break his spirit, but I have no intention whatsoever of doing that. I admire his chutzpah. And Goldie had better watch her step and keep her place. Mojo's in charge. Long live the king!


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