Playdate gives man’s best friend chance to act like top dog

My dog, Maggie, enjoys trying to get my brother’s dog, Max, to play by lovingly pouncing on his face while he’s sleeping.

This could be why I believe Max had a spectacular day on Sunday without her around.

I took Maggie – a feisty West Highland white terrier – with me to my dad’s family dinner this weekend.

What an event.

She’s been to my dad and stepmom’s house before, but after chasing the cat into the interiors of their couch more than a year ago, I figured they had had enough of my little polar bear to last them their entire lives.

Apparently not so.

I was kind of kidding when I asked my dad if Bella, the cat, would mind if I brought Maggie over, but he ended up talking me into it. The cat would get over it, he said. All would be well.

He was right about one thing – after one glance at Maggie, the cat knew well enough to hide in the bedroom all evening. I guess a nap in the fluffy couch stuffing wasn’t Miss Bella’s idea of a good time.

Actually, my dad was right about two things on Sunday. All did go well.

In addition to the cat, my dad’s country house is also home to three rather large dogs, at least compared to Maggie’s 11 pounds.

Call me crazy, but the thought of her playing with three dogs at least four times her size really didn’t appeal to me. I mean, it had been at least a year since she’d encountered any other animal that big.

The problem with Maggie – or, as I affectionately call her, Maggot – is that she is not afraid of anything. At all.

We’re talking about the dog that – not once, but twice – tag-teamed the assassination of a garden snake with Max – a similar-sized ‘designer mix’ of Yorkshire terrier and cockapoo – cocker spaniel and poodle. She also not-so-playfully bit the nose of my dad’s now-deceased 120-pound St. Bernard on her last visit.

But, as I said, my dad was right. She did fine. Actually, I think it’s safe to say she had one of the best days of her six years of life.

The dogs – Dudley, Muzby and Addie – welcomed Maggie with many barks, but open paws.

She spent a good hour or so investigating the house and, sadly, marking her territory and in turn making  herself right at home.

She played with her new friends mostly by running wildly across the living room, triple-dog-daring their long legs to go as fast as her short ones. When one of them would catch up with her – usually Addie – she sneakily ran right under her belly. These are the advantages of being short, I guess.

By the end of the night, with a belly full of ham scraps from dinner, Maggie attempted to snooze away her playful day by sprawling out on the living room’s raspberry carpet.

Too bad Addie was pouncing on her face, trying to get her to play some more. I’m sure Max would have gotten a good chuckle out of that one.

KELLY MORELAND

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