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They were born six months ago and moved into my house two months later and have grown from tiny puppies into rather large young dogs. Growing up is usually painful and they have had their share, especially after the death of Caesar who was the only one who kept all the dogs in check. He curbed Helen’s aggression, controlled Troy’s excessive enthusiasm and protected Petra, Max and Millie. The void left by Caesar has once again changed the dynamics of the group. We are now going through some changes but nothing has been resolved as to who will become the Alfa of the group. Helen is doing her best but going about it with such ferocity I had to interfere to correct her behaviour.
Despite the fluidity of the situation, both Max and Millie are providing me with a great deal of entertainment watching them discovering and interacting with their world. Millie is the more active of the two and therefore gets into more trouble, but both, despite their size, are still babies and sometimes their reactions are hilarious.
With both of them spending more time indoors than out, till Millie fully recovers from her injury, the world they are encountering is full of new experiences. The one experience that ranks above all else, and is continually changing and developing, is their interaction with the cats, more specifically with Snowy and Pixie.

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Snowy remains his own calm, placid self even when poked by huge black noses, and even when at first Millie used to nip at him till I cured her of that habit and now she knows that Snowy is off limits.

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Pixie is another story. Being deaf he is not intimidated by their barking, and this greatly baffles the dogs. Quite often they chase him, but not hearing them he does not run away, on the contrary, sometimes in the middle of the chase he sits down to scratch himself and this throws the charging dogs into total disarray and results in a total rout of their attempted skirmish. Lately Pixie discovered the power of hissing. Whenever he is cornered, he hisses at them and the turnabout is hilarious. Two huge charging dogs turning tail and beating an undignified hasty retreat before one small hissing white cat. I never fully appreciated the power of the hiss till today when both dogs jostled me to get into the bathroom before me then stood watching me while I loaded the washing machine, set its program and turned it on. After a few musical clicks, which made the dogs curious and cautiously approach the machine, it started taking water and sounded very much like a strong hiss from a large animal. Both dogs yelped and flew out of the bathroom, leaving me collapsed with laughter at their reaction.

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The breakfast room is where Pixie has strategic supremacy. Whenever he and the dogs are in that room he immediately jumps up to the back of the chair strategically placed at the entrance of the room, and sits perched there controlling this passage. No matter how much the dogs bark at him he just flattens his ears and looks contemptuously at them, but let one of them attempt to exit, then the ultimate weapon of the hiss is used to put them in their place. The only way the dogs can leave the room is if a human acts as shield and encourages them to rush past the perching monster.
Other than their numerous adventures with the cats, these two are always trying to find out how far they can push me. I had a long session over two days trying to impress upon Max that sleeping on my bed is not allowed. When the message finally got through, he flung away in a huff and went and curled up in the fireplace. This did not last for very long as there was other mischief that he could be getting up to, but he did not attempt to get on the bed again. Lesson learned.
Millie, being female, is fascinated by all my bath products and is always sniffing my shampoos. One morning she woke me up with a big sloppy lick to my face. This was a different lick than the day before as this smelled fresh and somewhat familiar. It was only after I was having my shower that the mystery was solved when I discovered that my favourite – and most expensive – hair conditioner was missing. After my shower I found the mangled cap of the bottle nestled in her blanket. But at least the waking up that day was fun.
They still have a few precious months of growing up where their antics will be entertaining, then when they are fully mature, that is when all the love starts. Unlike the Golden Retrievers (my Terrible Trio), these two German Shepards (my Daring Duo) are very gentle indeed. They are very large dogs, will become bigger than the Terrible Trio, but although very strong, they are delicately built, tending towards a long, sleek build rather than the heavy, sturdy one of the Golden Retrievers. They are very quick on the uptake and far less stubborn than their older siblings, training them is fun and a joy as their understanding and obedience are fairly quick.
I love all the members of my furry family even though some of them give me more than their share of worry, while others entertain me more, yet my love for them is equally fierce and equally protective. I am indeed blessed having so much undemanding love.
26 October 2015.

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