It’s always a bit difficult to ease into a new relationship when kids are involved. In our case, kids = dogs. When we met, Dave had an 18lb Rat Terrier named Cosmo that he had rescued from the vet several months prior. I had a 9lb Manchester Terrier that my coworker had rescued from the street about a year earlier. I thought maybe our dogs could be friends. Most people think our dogs are or should be good friends. Not so much. The picture above? They were only sitting so close because we were in Oregon and it was COLD. A better depiction of their relationship is this:
Ellie is thinking, “Poor me” and Cosmo is thinking, “Girl, please. You are lucky I let you exist.”
The first time our dogs met, Cosmo had to wear a muzzle so he wouldn’t bite her. He was defening the home front. Then, for several months after we started dating, he would still bite Ellie on occasion, particularly if she dared try to sit in either my lap or Dave’s lap. Even now, Cosmo and Ellie have been around each other regularly for nearly 10 months, and Cosmo will still randomly start sniffing Ellie and then bark at her like she’s an intruder.
The good news is that we’ve made progress. For the most part, he’s stopped biting her. Also, she used to cower away whenever Cosmo barked. Then it turned to her flipping out back at him, like “LEAVE ME THE HECK ALONE ALREADY. I’M HERE TO STAY. GET OVER IT.” Now, they sometimes try to play together, and will share a lap when it is advantageous to both parties (as in both dogs… generally because I am the only one around). But Cosmo still does the barking thing sometimes, and Ellie still does the “I WILL CUT YOU IF YOU DON’T LEAVE ME THE HECK ALONE” freak out in response. Hopefully this will gradually work itself out. The signs of them playing give me hope.
But this post is not actually about how well they do or don’t get along, it is actually about how incredibly different they are, which we find amusing. They are both “small dogs,” both rescue dogs, both LOVE to eat, and both breeds were bred to hunt rats. But that is about where their similarities stop. Dave referred to them as “The Lady and the Tramp” the other day, because we often joke that Ellie is originally from Bel Air and Cosmo is originally from the hood. Ellie definitely has a snobby, drama queen attitude, and tends to treat Cosmo like he’s below her.. which is probably why he tries to pretend she doesn’t exist 😉
Here are just some of their differences:
Cosmo: Must be touching a human at almost all times. If Cosmo is not touching a human, and a human is home, you better be on the look out, because he is not the type that wanders off into another room to be good. It’s always bad news if Cosmo is not in eye sight.
Ellie: Would almost always rather not be touching a human. If nothing exciting is going on, she prefers to be buried under blankets in a room by herself. If she isn’t in sight when a human is home, 95% of the time that means she is sleeping. The other 5% of the time she is accidentally locked in a room or accidentally locked outside and we think she is sleeping. The point is, there is pretty much no chance she is doing anything bad.
Cosmo: When humans aren’t home, as long as any bedroom doors are closed, all he will do is sleep. There is rarely any evidence that he moved at all, no matter how long you are gone (Dave has left him home alone for over 12 hours before. No sign Cosmo ever left the couch). We never have to worry about leaving this guy alone anywhere. (But if the bedroom doors are open, he will bite holes in blankets).
Ellie: Like I said before, if humans are around she mainly sleeps. If humans aren’t around and she is left alone, about 80% of the time she’ll just sleep and perhaps rearrange shoes and undergarments in a sort of mafia like “leave me alone again and I won’t just move these I will chew them up” fashion. The other 20% of the time she does in fact chew things up. She is the biggest fan of destroying leather products and electronics. Particularly if they belong to men i.e. Dave. And she is a ninja jumper, so even things on counters and top shelves are not safe. This is why I gave in and Ellie now hangs out in her “penthouse” when she is left alone.
Cosmo: Will not sit on command unless you are holding a treat or something he wants.
Ellie: Will sit on command even without a treat, but won’t necessarily stay there.
Cosmo: Will freak out like the world is ending if you attempt to put him in a crate.
Ellie: Will go into the crate voluntarily if you say, “Ellie, Crate.” She LOVES it if the door is open and she chooses to go in there, and will often sleep in there voluntarily. She is not the biggest fan of being locked in there. But she doesn’t whine or try to get out. She just lets out a big sigh and buries herself in her blanket.
Cosmo: He assumes any stuffed toy is fair game and will destroy the heck out of it in under 5 minutes. The first time he came to my apartment in L.A., he got one of Ellie’s owls and had it ripped open, stuffing torn out, and ripped into tiny shreds in less than 3 minutes. If we take him to someone’s house who has babies, he will steal the baby’s toys and try to kill them. The only thing he can’t seem to destroy is his red kong. But he doesn’t try to destroy anything that isn’t a toy, so that’s good 😉
Ellie: Loves to play with stuffed toys and does not kill them. She tries to mimic Cosmo but can’t seem to figure it out. How is it that the girl can chew up blue tooths and game controllers like nobody’s business, but can’t figure out a stuffed animal?? On the bright side, her toys last way longer than they would for Cosmo. On the downside, she can’t play with her toys around Cosmo.
Cosmo: White fur, Male, acts like he’s from the Hood
Ellie: Black fur, Female, acts like she’s from Hills
Cosmo: Is not remotely bothered/interested in the TV. Does not even appear to be aware that any sound comes out of the TV. How is it that he will bark at a dog barking outside, but not be remotely concerned about a dog barking on the TV?
Ellie: Loves watching TV. Particularly HGTV, and action movies. She also growls at crying/whining kids or babies on TV (as well as in person). She is going to be a TREAT when I have my own kids.
Ellie: Extremely skinny/lean build. Not worth eating (kidding!!)
Cosmo: Totally cool with babies, children, or humans of any kind. Also completely unaware that cats exist (a cat can walk right by him and its as if the cat was invisible). However, he will pretty much try to fight any other dog to the death, regardless of size.
Ellie: Not a fan of children, babies, old people, asian women, anyone on wheels (e.g. wheelchairs or bikes). Absolutely HATES cats, but totally cool with other dogs.
Cosmo: Likes to go outside, but would prefer to stand around and stare and smell things, not so much a fan of walking. And would rather take the elevator than the stairs. Always lags behind.
Ellie: LOVES to go outside, and loves to cover as much ground as possible. She will hike up and down a mountain without so much as a pant, and she will look back at me with judging eyes like “My legs are wayyy shorter than yours. What is your problem?!” She always leads the way.
Cosmo: If you ask him where his “monkey” is (his kong), he will run off and sniff the world until he finds it and will bring it to you to throw it.
Ellie: If you ask her where anything is, she will have no idea what you are talking about. Even if you point.
Seriously, I’m not sure they could be any different aside from one of them being a Great Dane or something. Regardless of all of their differences, they both have TONS of personality, and overall they are both really good dogs. I think we make a good blended family 😉