This is Xander.
Xander is 10 years old. Xander has been Faith’s “brother” since we brought him home. He and Faith were born a year apart.
Initially, Faith didn’t really care too much for Xander. He was an intrusion into the household and to her lifestyle. She was used to being the only “child” and now she had to share attention with this other canine. Xander’s manly charms eventually won her over and they became best buddies.
Even though Xander was the man of the house, Faith was the boss. Xander may have had the louder bark, but Faith was the dog that always set things in motion. Xander wouldn’t think to bark unless Faith allowed him to do so. It was Faith that did the commanding in the household; not only did she command Xander but the rest of us as well. If Faith did not get her way she would refuse to “speak” or look at any of us. Faith was the only animal I had ever encountered that could not be bribed by food. No amount of her favorite food could coax her into becoming your friend again once she was ticked off. If she were particularly mad, she would walk close enough to you to make you think you might be able to touch her only to dart away quickly leaving you looking rather foolish for even trying to pet her.
As Faith grew weaker over the years, Xander took up his pseudo role as boss dog. The role seemed to be reversing and any stranger entering the house might have thought Xander was the dominant dog but if that same stranger stayed just a little while in our home they soon learned that Faith was still in command. The smallest dog in the household was the largest life force. Faith was the queen and all bowed down before her; even our Doberman when he finally became a part of the family.
The only time Xander didn’t listen to Faith was grooming day. Faith didn’t really care for the groomers but Xander loved to get bathed, brushed and smelling good. Xander thought he was so handsome on grooming day often strutting back and forth in front of the mirror to look at himself. Faith, on the other hand, would rub her body against anything she could to get that nasty grooming smell of of her but before she could do that she had to escape Xander. The groomer use to say she could put both dogs in one cage before grooming but she had to separate them afterwards because Xander would not leave Faith alone. Once home from the groomers the torment was one. Xander would chase Faith around the house just to …. well, you know…and Faith wanted no part of that. She’d eventually have to hide under a dresser where he was just a little too big to follow her. The scene in my mind still makes me smile.
The bond between siblings is strong; even if those siblings are canine. Xander now sits at one door or another waiting vigilantly for Faith to return. He sits by the either door most of the day and night. He sits, he doesn’t lay, and he cries. He cries softly but he still cries. Sometimes, I catch my father and Xander crying together. Xander doesn’t know that his and my father’s beloved Faith is buried just beneath my father’s window, very close to the place she used slept under my father’s desk.
She is so close. Her presence fills each and every room. I can almost reach out and pet her….almost.