I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. How rude! How dare you stare at me with your big bulldog eyes! Did no one teach you manners when you were a puppy? Get your big bulldog nose out of my face!
Me: Stella! What’s going on? Tiger, back up! Neutral corners! NOW!
Tiger: Oh, no. She is shouting the NOW word. She must be serious.
Me: You have no idea how serious. Tiger, of all the dogs in this pack, you know how serious it is when one dog confronts another dog, eyeball to eyeball.
Tiger: Yes, ma’am.
Me: So why were you confronting Stella? You saw her hackles go up.
Tiger: I didn’t mean to eyeball her, not in a threatening way. I just wanted to smell her face.
Tiger: She smelled…good. She had just come back in and I thought she had found something good to eat outside.
Tiger: I think so.
Stella: A likely story.
Me: Do you smell good, Stella?
Stella: I always smell good. I sniff myself all the time to make sure. Tiger needs to learn manners.
Me: We try, but we are not dogs. We just control circumstances, and we try to understand. I don’t know what happened in your young life, Tiger, before that horrible fight, the one that caused you to come to us. Let me tell you something that my parents taught me. It is not polite to stare.
Tiger: Humans teach that?
Tiger: Because you are predators?
Me: Perhaps. But also because it is considered rude and challenging and intrusive. We need to keep working on your body language.
Tiger: Are you giving up on me?
Me: No. Why would I ever do that?
Tiger: Others have.
Me: Others have given up on me, too. So what?
Stella: I am sorry, Lady Human.
Me: For what, Stella?
Stella: For letting my hackles get the better of me.
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