White Dog and the White Dog Army are a constant source of education for me as I watch their daily interactions and the way they adapt to accommodate changing needs within the pack. Last week was a traumatic one for our Little Man, Oso; he has spent the time since regaining his balance and confidence.
The WDA seems to understand some of what he is struggling with. They are a bit more aware of his tiny presence when charging into action around the house; there is a additional restraint in the surging and leaping so that Oso is not knocked down or trampled in the excitement.
The Vulture Food Club, headed by Puff and YoYoMa, still hover watching Oh, Another White Dog slowly, very slowly, attempt to eat...but these past few days there seems to be less of an attempt to press in and intimidate him. And on the days this weekend when Little O needed feeding help, the entire WDA sat surrounding us patiently encouraging their brother to eat. Of course, they DID still all want to lick out the empty bowl afterward.
During the night Oso awakened and softly whimpered as he shifted positions in his cradle. I heard him and stayed still, listening for sounds of distress. White Dog and Bella, too, responded to his sound. WD moved up the bed to make sure I had heard him. Bella came around to the edge of the bed and put her paws on my arm to alert me. Together we all leaned into his basket to make sure all was well. I adjusted his position slightly and gently stroked his side until we heard him settle again. Then we three returned to a one-eye open sleep.
This morning as White Dog and I watched out of the window while Steve, Oso, Bella, Puff and Taiko were outside I was ready to bang on the window and yell at Taiko...and Steve for allowing the act...until I realized Taiko was NOT pushing Oso out of the way but rather letting the Little Man lean against his side as they walked! I was amazed and felt instantly guilty for jumping to the wrong conclusion but generally Taiko exhibits little patience for Oso's unsteadiness that causes him to bump or press against the bigger boy. An exception made during this time of healing?
When he is better and more of his usual self the Army might be less accommodating. They make some allowances for Oso's dementia but he is not given a "free ride." The White Ones seem to instinctively know what Dr. Julia needs to keep reminding this overprotective momma...that it is important for Oso to be challenged to maintain his physical capabilities and mental acuity. But for now, my Little Man has a houseful of insightful guardians to keep him safe and encourage his recovery.