The look of guilt was written all over her hairy face. As she stood quaking at my feet, I knew something was up.
A moment later, the howling began.
Red-faced, blotchy and in a state of shock, my youngest daughter arrived on the scene, offering up her shaking hand amidst a sea of tears. She had just had a close encounter of the snapping, toothy kind. And she couldn’t believe it.
Someone she had trusted all of her life, someone with whom she had shared so many good times and someone who now stood between her and me had just bared her teeth in anger.
In a fit of pique, during a stoush over bedding, our 15-year-old Maltese had nipped her two-legged sister by mistake. And she knew she’d done wrong. Her tail was tucked between her legs and she couldn’t look me in the eye.
In the doggy’s defence, I must tell you she was defending her territory from the older dog who, from all accounts, was throwing her weight around. Add to that the unrelenting argument between our son and daughter which, no doubt, had her worried. After all, how was an innocent pup meant to know that the angry words were not directed at her?
Once the tears had subsided and all parties had acknowledged their role in the caper, we headed inside. On closer inspection, any hint of the bite had disappeared.
But the effect was evident for the remainder of the night – no more fighting.
It wasn’t enough that I kept telling them to stop. When the dog got sick of it – that’s when they finally listened.