Our older husky, Gio, has always been a bit of a loner. For years, it was just the two of us living together, and he never had to share his home with other dogs for long periods of time.
And then we got Aloy, a young, spunky, very social husky puppy.
Gio was not amused.
I think he actually thought that just like all the other dog visits, this was simply that: a visit. But eventually the news sank in that Gio had a new sister, and he was going to have to accept her. For the first ten days, he ignored her and sulked around the house in misery. I actually got a little worried that we had made a huge mistake in getting another dog. I didn’t want Gio to feel like he was being replaced.
But then on the eleventh day, Gio came into the living room where Aloy was playing with a toy, took a look at her, and slammed his front paws forward into a play-bow. It was like he was saying “Alright, Sis, show me what you got.”
And she gave him hell. Because that’s what little sisters do.
I know it might sound ridiculous to talk about my dogs as if they have a relationship comparable to human siblings, but as the youngest of four, I can tell you that the similarities are uncanny.
There are moments when they’ll be playing together really well, chasing each other around the house and wagging their tales, and then all of a sudden, Gio will turn and… it’s not a bark exactly… no, he’ll yell at Aloy (in a way that maybe only a husky can) and you can tell by his tone and behaviour that he’s had enough. If and when she doesn’t listen, which is almost always the case, we’ll chime in and say, “Aloy…” at which point she will turn to us and get vocal. You know those moments when your mom would tell you to stop bothering your big brother and you’d immediately get defensive and say “What, I wasn’t doing anything!” Yeah. It’s like that.
They even steal toys and hide them from each other. My favourite trick is one that has convinced me that Gio is a true dog genius. Aloy has a tendency to get jealous and she hates when Gio is playing with something that she wants (which is everything), so when she sees him happily chewing on a ball, she’ll go over and start bugging him until he gets annoyed. Eventually, he’ll let go of the ball so that he can yell at her. She uses that opportunity to steal his toy and run away. So Gio will go to the toy basket, grab a bone, and settle down with that. Aloy sees this, gets jealous, and the cycle continues. After a few rounds of this game, Aloy will have stockpiled so many toys in her corner that she can no longer protect them all, so once Gio sees that she’s proudly chewing on her latest steal, he walks over, takes the original toy he had been enjoying in the first place, and leaves.
And just like human siblings, there are days where just the presence of one will annoy the other. Gio will be asleep on the couch and Aloy will walk by and accidentally brush up against his foot or his tail. He’ll groan, get up, and leave the room, glaring at all of us on his way out.
Of course, we know deep down they love each other. We see it when we come home late at night and they’re snuggled up together on the couch, but the biggest indicator is when we’re at the dog park and another dog gets a little too rough with Aloy, causing Gio get defensive. Those are the moments when I know they’re true siblings, because at the end of the day, even though she drives him absolutely crazy, Gio would do anything to protect Aloy. That’s what big brothers do.
Guest post by Emelie Samuelson
Emelie Samuelson is a girl in her twenties who is just trying her best. She spends her days reading and writing books, playing games, and snuggling with dogs.
You can often find her writing funny stories for her blog, Awkwardly Alive and Pleasantly Peculiar, but her work has also appeared on The Feminine Collective, HelloGiggles, Catalyst Wedding Co., and in the anthology, This One Has No Name by The No Name Writing Group.