16 March 2019

11. THE KING'S PUNISHMENT

Rex hates Poppy Peahen being a free bird, but she loves it. When I go into the garden, she follows making assorted popping noises. I’m her feeder; she equates me with food. If I emerge from the house without offering her a morsel, I get a great deal of clucking.
Quizzical looks from the Indian Peafowl that flew into our lives out of the blue.
When he’s not out working, Rex follows her with his eyes. Left alone, he herds her around the house. Used to him, he knows and she knows he knows he isn’t allowed to eat her.

The dog has his own special mat at the back of the garage. Poppy thinks nothing of sitting and shitting on it. As payback, Rex drinks her water, pees in her food bowl, stares and yawns. The gaze seems to say:  Look what big teeth I have; all the better to eat you with.

Barking whenever she honks, he loves making Poppy fly. Rex thinks he is preeminent then, as if he’s won The Battle of the Best Pet.

On the farm, we collect rain that falls on the roof. We couldn’t have Poppy up there polluting our drinking water with her emissions.  For days after Rex forced her to fly up to the gutters, he is put in his cage. A big enclosure with lots of move room; his tree house kennel is above ground. Having to stay in makes the Kelpie sad though; he’d only ever slept inside before.
Poppy telling Rex precisely where he can go.

Rex learned his lesson, tending to look away whenever Poppy pranced past. As the peahen spent half her days strutting, he needed to avert his gaze quite a lot.
While Rex was away checking cattle with his master, Poppy sneaked in his house to snaffle meat scraps. Her warped idea of payment was to leave a liquid deposit. When the dog arrived home, he leapt up for a drink to find big bird asleep on the boards.
Honking and barking, they scared the crap out of each other. We rescued Poppy and calmed Rex, who was full of righteous indignation after the unexpected home invasion.
Weeks pass; both pets behave.
Looking out the window after I’d fed Poppy, I noticed the dog wolfing down her breakfast.
     ‘Rex, you bastard; get out of it.’
The dog jumped. Really, I have a VERY loud voice. Tail between his legs, he went straight to his kennel, hopped in and hid. The door stayed open. Hours later, Rex was still in self-imposed exile.
     ‘Hey, wife, why is the dog in his cage?’
     ‘He put himself in The Naughty House for stealing Poppy’s food.’
Husband encouraged Rex to jump out. Walking past to his own brown throne, the food-thief looked the other way without making eye contact. 
His snout was held high.
There was no wagging tail.
King Rex was in a royal huff.
I find it hard to believe I was dismissed by a pet; especially one that usually loves me, licking any bit of my exposed flesh he can reach.

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