Terriers are merciless. We have three Jack Russells, one now going on thirteen years old, & the two younger dogs, after they have wolfed their dinners, try to push her off her bowl. When the succeed, the spill the bowl & then there is a snarling free-for-all. Almost never any blood, just grade-schoolers fighting by windmilling their arms. The old one eats more slowly because she's lost a few teeth, but she still snaps at the young dogs. Still, I have taken to standing over them with a spray bottle & giving the youngsters a squirt when they get too pushy. JRTs are pretty fearless, but they do not like being squirted in the face with a bit of water. Lovely dogs -- playful, loving, funny, tough -- but merciless. You wouldn't want to live in a country ruled by JRTs. It would be a lot of fun & hijinks, but no place to get old. Fortunately for the old girl Penny, I am here to enforce a little morality. Penny, by the way, would do the same thing the young dogs do to her if the roles were reversed. There may be a moral here somewhere, but this is not a beast fable, let alone a parable, both degenerate literary forms.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

1 thought on “Terriers”

  1. I’ve read that the world belongs to terriers and they simply allow us to live in it with them. The house down the street seems to have some Jack Daniels Terriers. A different breed altogether.

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