Leader of the Pack

Remember that 1964 pop song ‘Leader of the Pack by The Shangri-Las (dear lord, did hair really look like that back in the 60’s-OMG!). It was a pretty decent hit for the girl band and a moderate cover hit for Twisted Sister in 1985 (among others) about teenage tragedy. But what I mean by leader of the pack here relates to ‘leadership.’ Wikipedia says this about leadership:  “…described as “a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.” The dictionary defines leadership as  a person who guides or directs group, providing guidance or direction. When it comes to our dogs, we definitely provide support and direction. We are their caretakers, making sure they remain safe. As owners we are charged with their safekeeping, we provide a pack that they may thrive, shelter from storms, food and love. This is what they need, this is what we do if we’re responsible pet owners.

Another aspect of the dynamic relationship with our fur-kids is loyalty. We are faithful and devoted to them and they to us. It’s a unique bond between biped and canine and I had an opportunity to view the two side by side the other evening when I was out in the garden. I often let Sam hang with me in the garden while I putz around pulling Sumac seedlings (will they never end?), watering, etc. He loves being outside keeping an eye on me, sniffing to his heart’s content without me nagging him to move along but mostly he loves to greet passers-by. A couple of women who live nearby stroll by frequently with their pup and Sam absolutely adores both of them. He’s isn’t all that crazy about their pooch who even after 2 years still goes immediately for Sam’s ears, but any chance to see either of them, well he’s more than happen to split from the yard to say hi, tail furiously wagging with a big goofy grin on his face. They always laugh at Sam’s goofiness and we chat about the latest goings on in our ‘hood. As soon as Sam spied them, he was gone in a flash, despite my calls to stay screeching. That dog was on a mission and it didn’t involve me. Luckily he didn’t run out into the street and no one was hurt, other than my ego at my lack of ‘leadership’ with him. He leaned heavily against on Roxann’s leg, looking longingly up into her face. He was in heaven with his friend. I called him repeatedly to get back into the yard but my pleas voice went unheard. I walked out to the sidewalk to bring him back and he still refused to budge. We all chuckled about it but it got me to thinking. Why was my dog ignoring me (beyond usual)? Did he not respect my leadership where his interests collided with my commands and his needs?

Then I said, “ok for you, I’m going back inside,” and started back up the walk toward the porch. He then came galloping toward me immediately and then leaned against my leg looking up with those adorably sweet amber eyes. I realized that while my ‘leadership’ may be hit or miss sometimes with Sam, his loyalty can never be questioned. He’ll always be my lap dog, peacefully snoozing away on top of my legs and yes, probably dreaming about the next encounter with one of his neighborhood BFF’s but I know he’ll always be completely mine.

Hanging with my loyal buddy
Hanging with my loyal buddy

Live, love, bark! <3

33 thoughts on “Leader of the Pack

  1. Monika, made me laugh again. for years i have had trouble getting my son to leave and so say goodbye and head off. Hey presto. He follows. Bilbo is great and usually sticks close even off leash at the beach. lady has been known to wander a little as we walk out the car. being so dark, ive had trouble finding her at night a few times and keep meaning to get her a glow in the dark collar.
    Xx Rowena

  2. Just like kids aren’t they. When you keep asking them to do stuff they don’t buy when you walk away, they come running..Loved it. Big hugs to Sam

  3. Klaus’s hearing is just fine but I swear he’s become increasingly averse to listening to me as he settles into his senior years. Particularly when he absolutely must smell that one blade of grass for five minutes straight. Then again, I’ve been lax about training. See how good he is? He’s got me blaming myself. I’m hopeless!

  4. Yup, we can write a book on loyalty! Me and Stanley really keep an eye on mom!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  5. Ah Monika, how well I remember that song! Of course, it helps that SiriusXM’s 60s on 6 channel plays it at least once a day. 🙂

    As for the dogs blowing us off at times? Mine do it, too. Especially Callie. She’s old enough to know that failing hearing is a blessing of old age and uses it to her advantage. And she knows I know her hearing is just fine but blows me off anyway. Little stinker. Selective hearing – like her human father, grandfather (my Dad), and great-grandmothers (both of mine) – but what the heck. She looks to me for guidance, just like her younger sisters, when she’s not sure what to do.

    1. These dogs act like teenagers sometimes. Never listen, ignore your instructions, but when needed, their first in line for cuddles and comfort. 😉

      How well I know the song, but the hairdo’s? OMG, what were we thinking?!

      1. My haircut was easy — an Audrey Hepburn style pixie. Mom paid the bill so I had no choice. She nearly had a stroke in the early 70s when I got an “Afro”. “Do you know how much I’d give to have hair like yours??!!?!?!” (Naturally wavy, like my Dad.)

      2. After years of fighting it, I’ve finally surrendered to it and am sooooo much happier. Can’t be bothered with anything more than wash and wear most days, except if I want to flat iron. Now that’s it’s so long though, that doesn’t happen too much. My arms aren’t long enough to stretch that high! 😉

  6. I feel your pain. This is the reason Delilah is never off-leash. 🙁 That silly dog will blow me off for whatever grabs her fancy.

    I’m glad he didn’t run out in the street and that everything ended happily. 🙂

  7. I know what you mean!! Sometimes when my fur kids are in the yard with me I’ll call them in and they’ll look at me as if to decide is what I want or need important, then continue on with their exploration of bunny poops and squirrel tracks. It’s frustrating!! But, in those urgent moments when something is amiss and I need their attention right now, they must hear it in my voice, because then they always respond. I’ve taken to slipping a few treats in my pocket when we head out to the back forty. That gets their attention when I call!

  8. That scenario sounds familiar. Interesting to point out the difference between obedience which I equate to the dog trusting my judgement, and loyalty or love.

  9. We know what we can get away with. At the end of the day, we’ll still get all of your love, even when we don’t listen. So sometimes it’s worth it to be defiant. We get what we want then and later.

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