Friday, September 18, 2009
Our Irish Twins
You may know that we have teenaged triplets; you might not know that we have Irish twins. Lucia, Clark and Sam's brotha-from-another-motha, Thunder (8), and their sista-from-another-mista, Roxie (7), are a mere 11 months apart. Roxie, our long-haired, blond miniature dachshund and Thunder, our Mensa-card-carrying black and tan, have been in Madrid for a couple weeks now and are definitely showing signs of culture shock. Actually, our canine children are exhibiting the very same behavior that Lucia, Clark, and Sam did when we first arrived in this country (and still do on occasion.)
Mood Swings: There's a lot of anger brewing under that fur. Roxie, always an even-tempered squirrel chaser, finds herself in the squirrel-free city of Madrid. She lashes out by barking incessantly at other neighborhood dogs whenever they try to welcome her to the hood. Barking loudly at bugs, traffic noises filtering in through the windows and wind has replaced her squirrel games. Thunder, our much more cerebral pet, has retreated into a moody passive-aggressive world of his own. Always a rule follower, he now refuses to sit on command.
Anti-social behavior: We've raised our dogs in the same way that Dr. Skinner, the famous child psychologist, raised his daughter -- in a box. Our box was bigger, of course, by a few acres, but still, R and T haven't socialized much with their own kind. In Madrid, where the humans greet strangers with a kiss on each cheek, the canines are, naturally, more open and friendly as well. Our twins are expected to be gracious with the neighborhood dogs who have different boundaries, different customs and speak a whole different language. One woman, who thought that Roxie (and her parents) couldn't understand her, actually called her "gorda" -- fat! Now Roxie will only play with Thunder (see "lethargy" below) or a rubber, bikini-wearing chicken we found in the hood.
Lethargy: If Thunder could, he'd insert a canine catheter and demand his meals on a tray. He doesn't display any of the joie de vivre or quick witted repartee that was once his trademark. Instead, he elects to climb to the top of the tallest chair in the room and curl into a ball remembering good times in Connecticut - or - lick himself from dawn until dusk.
Ah, culture shock. It's not fun when the kids lash out about the move, but we expected that. We didn't expect our twins to have such a similar reaction.