She may be blind in one eye now, and she may have had surgery on a knee to remove a tumor just two weeks ago, but Miss Darla is determined to show those two whippersnappers -- Travis and Tanner -- that she is still the Queen and this is her Palace. Entrance by invitation only.
After Alayne and I had brought in the dogs from their mid-day romp on Friday after lunch, we realized we were missing three dogs. Alayne looked out the storm door and saw Darla in the front yard, so she opened the door and called her. Darla ignored her. That's when Alayne noticed Travis frozen in place down by the spruce tree, and she realized Darla was in guard mode again. Alayne told me I'd need to call Darla in, so I went out and called to her. She turned her head slightly as if to acknowledge she heard me, but then stood her ground. I went to get the camera, then went back outside.
Travis saw me, figured it was a good time to advance towards the house, took several steps ... and stopped. Darla was giving him the evil eye. She slowly walked a few steps towards him, head down, body language all about "don't mess with me, kid." That's what you see in the photo above. (Click on photos for larger images.)
Travis looked at me again, this time as if I was the lifeguard on the beach and he was the swimmer in trouble, but then decided I might not rescue him in time. Darla's few steps in his direction unnerved him. Just like a herding dog with sheep, Darla turned him and he reversed course:
That's when Tanner, who had been on the other side of the yard, thought he might get by the old gal. He started making his way over, as you can see above. Then the two-on-one stand-off resumed:
At that point I'd been calling Darla back to the house repeatedly, so Tanner decided to try the single-file technique and see if meekly following Darla back to the house might work. Darla reluctantly ... finally! ... turned around to walk towards the ramp, but she wasn't happy about being called off. She'd move forward a bit, then stop and turn her head in the whippersnappers' direction as if to remind them who's the boss. This would stop them in their tracks:
But having to listen to me and come inside drove her crazy -- "I had them just where I wanted them!" -- and even after she got to the ramp, she turned back around and stared them down one more time:
With one final summons from me, she turned once more and triumphantly dashed to the ramp and into the house. The boys, sheepishly (there's the word again) if happily followed.
Once inside, it's like nothing ever happened.
A quick note on the Puppy Mill Survivors' photobook sale: As luck would have it, the website that processes orders for Melissa McDaniel's photobooks stopped accepting credit card payments just as my blog post went up last Wednesday. For some reason it defaulted to only accepting PayPal. So if you tried to purchase a book and couldn't, Melissa says the website issue has been fixed.