Friday, February 26, 2010

Communicating With a Disability

Last year about this time Stormy went up the hill to visit the farm he came from, where he got into a terrible fight. According to our neighbor, Mike, he was almost killed. The little guy drug himself to Mike's garage where he laid under a car recuperating for two weeks. Mike brought him food and water.
We arrived a couple of weeks later in March; Storm had a few bald patches and a broken tail. It comes out from the butt maybe an inch then hangs. The most he gets out that tail is a little swish. He has had problems with the tail before when he was hit by a car, so I think the fight exacerbated a preexisting condition. Now, the once beautiful flag tail is a limp hanging rat tail.
How does this affect his signal sending ability? What is a threat display without the signature upright tail or the stiffly wagged tail? As long as I've known this dog he has failed to achieve full tail erection, yet he is the cock of the walk.
Last week we passed him on the road about two miles away. Storm was facing north, a scarred up bull terrier x was facing south. They stood about four feet apart. I could tell it broke Stormy's concentration, when we drove past. In order to get there he had to pass the following breed crosses: 2 Akitas, 1 GSD, 2 Chows, and a few Rotts.
Mike calls him the tough guy. He says that Stormy dominates the Akita that lives next to him. This is the Akita that Storm would be on our property barking insults down at this big dog. Maybe he can pass through all these big dog territories because he doesn't raise that tail. These are not all young dogs along this road, so I refuse to buy that the little border x terrier is kicking their butts.
There are enough dogs with this limp tail syndrome that I wonder if it isn't part of the signal.

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