The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Monday, November 10, 2014

George's Entourage

George and Rose's friendship took six months from first meeting to the point where they could be together in the same space without Rose feeling fearful or George feeling the need to bite her. Then they went through a short phase when George broke the ice by acting all studdish and mounting her. And gradually from there they developed the beautiful relationship they have now, where George has nominated Rose as his mom, but he's still in charge. Rose's sweetness has been a balm to him, I think, and her presence has given him a safe place to relax and unwind. He has grown generous toward her and will stand by while she takes treats.

Rose is a nice napping partner.

George and Bridget's relationship, on the other hand, remained stormy and tense for much longer. For four years they couldn't occupy the same space. There was a certain curiosity between them, however, which they would sometimes try to satisfy by talking to each other over a fence, or even over a person. At home in PA, there are two adjoining fields with an open gate between, and I've observed them use that set-up to go one on each side of a fence in order to squeal at each other. 

Finally, this year there has been a rapprochement. They can stand fairly close together, and occasionally they'll touch noses or one will nose the other's flank without ensuing drama. I feel that their long journey to Texas together has helped their relationship.

As for Chloe - she has absolutely avoided George; no way was she ever going to allow herself to get anywhere near that dreadful ogre. And his behavior pretty much justified her fears, as if Chloe got in his vicinity, he'd usually offer to bite her. Even with a barrier between, the George-bites/Chloe-flees scenario remained.


Yesterday, I prevailed on Chloe to exit the field with me. She was very engaged in the process of getting through the gate and did not change her mind or want to quit when we had to run the George gauntlet. My strategy was basically to keep nicely reminding George that he was supposed to let us get out and to keep plying him with treats (not as rewards, but as morale boosters). He was in a high state of tension and clearly fighting with himself, but Chloe (a more acute George observer than I) did not falter. We dodged and sidestepped, and I kept swiveling to keep George in my sights, and we made it through the gate with no bites and no unauthorized escapees. 

Chloe then spent some time grazing, and (on account of she's a little angel) she let me clamber onto her back and sit there. When it was time to take her back, George stuck his head over the gate to greet us, and - lo and behold - he and Chloe touched noses FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. Only for a micro-second to be sure, but they did it again, just to be sure I didn't think I'd imagined it. And then George nicely let us back into the field.

This photo makes it look like Chloe is huge and I am tiny,
whereas in fact, as everyone knows, the opposite is true.

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