A Tale of Two Alpha Dogs

Photo of Jasper by author
Photo of Toby by author

Meet Jasper and Toby. Jasper is the Jack Russell in the top photo. Toby is below Jasper, and he’s a Jack Russell Chihuahua mix. Toby first belonged to my Aunt Naomi, and when she passed away, Toby became my dog.

Toby would sometimes stick those big ears straight out to the side, which reminded me of airplane wings. When he did that, I’d call him 747. Toby thought he was the alpha dog, and he would often challenge Jasper, and every time Jasper would beat the bejeezus out of him. That never stopped Toby. He would always come back for more, and I made three trips to the vet to mend Toby after it happened. One time, it looked like someone had slit Toby’s neck with a knife. I had to rush him to the vet just as they were closing up for the night. Toby got stitches and a drain in his neck. I finally had to train Jasper not to attack Toby when he started challenging him. That worked, but not before a hair raising event.

My mother and I lived together at the time. I don’t know what started the fight between Jasper and Toby this time, but Jasper grabbed Toby by the ear and wouldn’t let go. Toby was screaming bloody murder, and so was Mom. She had plastered herself up against the wall and just stood there screaming.

In the meantime, I was trying to get Jasper to let go of Toby’s ear. I tried picking Jasper up by the hind legs, and he still wouldn’t let go. I soon realized that the only way I’d get Jasper to let go was to throw water on him. I started yelling to mom, get some water, get some water!

Toby screamed, and Mom screamed. Mom couldn’t hear what I said, so I started motioning with my head toward the kitchen. She finally caught on and started for the kitchen sink. Mom was in her 90s at the time. She walked toward the kitchen at the speed of a sloth. She returned at the same pace and threw the water at Jasper, but she missed and threw it on me instead. Jasper had finally let go of Toby’s ear before Mom got back with the water, but she was so mad that she threw it anyway. As a matter of fact, she was so mad that she did the sloth shuffle to the kitchen and back again to get more water. Again, she missed Jasper and threw the water on me.

That traumatic experience wiped us all out for the day. Mom took a nap, and Toby and Jasper took a nap. I’m not a napper, so I just relaxed, glad that everyone was napping.

Toby and Jasper both lived to 15 years old. I had to have them put down a year ago—Jasper in April and Toby in October. Mom had passed a couple of years before at the age of 94.

I’ll remember this experience until it’s time for me to join them.

A free spirit, visual artist, writer, animal lover, introvert and independent woman.

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