At least that is the gospel according to Jojo who has crowned himself new king of the universe. Looking like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, his transformation from the live toy of the mastiff into boss of the world was quite interesting. After his confrontation with Scharnelle he decided he liked being top dog and has ensured–at least in his own mind–that he stayed there.
His new-found courage has made him cheeky to the point of trying to eat your sandwich from your hand and telling Scharnelle where she can sit. Since Scharnelle is either polite or needs glasses she is batting him aside only now and then. The rest of the time she concedes just to keep him out of her face. Wrestling can be problematic for them both, so the new game is stealing toys from each other. Scharnelle waits until Jojo is looking the other way, but Jojo is happy to latch onto the bottom of it and swing until she gives up. He has gone from the timid newcomer to the small dog with a big dog ego and Scharnelle is left her disapproval as only a mastiff can. The house is now the new battleground where their endless power struggle will be eternal because Jojo is relentless and Scharnelle hasn’t noticed the change in status and probably never will!
Tradies are a law unto themselves. They turn up whenever and then usually disappear a short time later because you require an x-cog and they only have a y-cog on them. Then they are gone for the rest of the day leaving you wonder if you will ever see that y-cog at all.
Their self-appointed arrival, departure and work times is a seamless arrogance that is tolerated because they have the expertise to return life from unbearable back to bearable. So like the vast majority of people who endured their “She’ll be right luv.” I usually ignored the erratic times, dirty work boots and bold requests for a cup of tea. However, this had to be stopped when they decided to encroach from my neighbour’s job to my front verandah. A tradie on your property is something you endure for the sake of the job, one confiscating your verandah for personal use is something else.
I was working in my office when a dull bark from Scharnelle let me know that all was not well in the living room and I came in expecting to find Jojo had stolen her teddy bear. Instead, to my surprise I notice there were strange heads bobbing about my verandah. Unlike my neighbour next door, my verandah is a large space that resonates emptiness, so I put an ornamental chair set to fill the area. It was one of those uncomfortable wrought iron affairs that no one in their right mind would sit on. Yet, two burly tradies were doing just that and eating their lunch to boot!
In the scheme of things two tradesmen eating their lunch on my front porch is not that important, but the fact they had another verandah to sit on–albeit minus a chair set–and several large trucks to sit in, I felt they did not require the services of my front yard–at least not without even an ask. So I decided to let them meet 60 kilos of French Mastiff and see if they wanted to stay.
I grabbed her by her collar as this would give the impression I was willing to let her go and opened the front door. Two very startled faces turned to watch me struggle with a huge mastiff as she tried to bolt towards them. Now, there are certain things about Scharnelle they had no hope of knowing. The first being that if I am there she will never attack–in fact she was straining to make friends. She had her paw stretched out in what looked like the beginning of a leap, which was in reality her asking for a scratch from her new friends. Then she decided to smile at them, this involved her showing her bottom teeth in a fearsome snarl that I called smiling as she did it whenever she wanted the crust of your toast.
The disturbed gentlemen quickly packed up their greasy lunch and retreated to their trucks with copious apologies. Scharnelle was disappointed she got no love and I was mildly satisfied by my faux threat to their discourtesy. Mind you, if this had been the back yard and they were alone with her–well that’s another story.
If you were to ask about the temperament of the Bichon Frise naughty is the word that comes to mind. This breed was the last one I ever would have considered getting, yet somehow I did. After all I have a giant mastiff! The Dogue de Bordeaux also known as the French Mastiff is a gorgeous, huge, powerful dog. Don’t let her bulk deceive you as this dog is fast as a rabbit if she wants something and five minutes later will be too precious to step in a puddle. Scharnelle is a creature of decided opinions and when Jojo came into the house she decided he was nothing more than a moving stuffed toy.
She spent most of her time either trying to stand directly above him, shoving him out of the way, down stairs and my favourite–holding him down with one paw. Now, do not mistake Jojo for some wishy washy toy dog. He is a clown first and will do back flips and blitz until the house is a whirl of white curls except even he has his limits. One day when he had enough, he got up on a chair and went all gangsta in her face. It’s one thing when she was above him, another when a ball of fluff was barking in her face. She gave him her usual stare of contempt, but he now goes through the doorway first. Just like judging a book by it’s cover never wise to judge a Bichon by his smile.
Her majesty got her rather large nose out of joint when I wouldn’t share my gelato. It appears that Scharnelle lives by the premise that what is hers is hers and what is mine is also hers. She continuously snorted her disapproval and turned her nose up at licking the offered bowl. Something the optimistic and opportunistic Jojo never turns down.
I live in outback Australia and we have been battling a heatwave where the temperature has been a consistent 40c all month. I knew I had to do something to make up with Scharnelle because a disgruntled Bordeaux can take up a lot of space while she grunts her complaints loudly and often. So I bought her a small pool to cool off in during the heat. It was placed carefully under the shade of the lemon tree and then offered up to Ms. Grumpy. At first she sniffed the plastic shell with suspicion until a bouncy Jojo jumped in for some fun. According to Scharnelle THIS WOULD NOT DO! She now stands in her pool guarding against small Bichons who might trespass while barking at the odd Rosella who is probably laughing at the sight of a large dog in a small pool. What I should have considered was the over sized wet paw prints being left on the tiles when she decides to venture back inside to check that no fun has been had without her.
This year Scharnelle let me know that she was not interested in Santa photos. She gave me many clues. The first was running away when I brought out the reindeer antler headband, the second was her jingle bell collar, and the last was her refusal to get into the car. She is a big, big Dogue de Bordeaux and when she decides not to do something it will take a crane and several hefty men to move her.
Determined to have the usual Christmas cheer I ignored her snorting disrespect for the holidays and instead took a far more cheerful bloke to visit Santa. Jojo is a happy Bichon Frise who loves being the center of attention. He was rewarded with many treats and has been impossibly smug ever since. Scharnelle is not impressed, but then again she rarely is.