When we all go outside together for an evening walk (me, Mom, Cricket and Ellie), Ellie has taken it as her job to escort her grandma. She won’t leave the apartment until Grandma is with her, and she won’t go down the stairs until Grandma takes the first step, and often, unless she really, really has to poop, she’ll walk next to her Grandma at a leisurely pace, while Cricket drags me up ahead. It’s a lot of pressure for Ellie’s small shoulders, but she seems to have accepted her role as “the good one.” She really had no choice, though, with Cricket as her sister.
Ellie comes when she’s called, even when she’s busy chasing a squirrel (she came to us like this, that’s why we kept her original name instead of choosing another insect to name her after). And she will give up on a barking campaign (for food, attention, or outings) as soon as she realizes that it’s not helping her get what she wants, whereas Cricket will shriek endlessly no matter how little response she gets, and no matter how little she actually needs whatever she’s begging for.
Ellie will gladly eat kibble for breakfast, as long as there’s something tasty sprinkled on top to get her started, whereas Cricket will eat off the cheese, from both bowls if possible, and leave the kibble behind (Cricket will finally eat the kibble in the middle of the night, when she thinks no one notices, but we can hear her tags hitting the bowl. Shh.).
Ellie tolerates me wiping off her eye goop on a daily basis, as long as she then gets head scratchies and a back massage, whereas Cricket will growl and bite if I go anywhere near her eyes (to be fair, Cricket’s eye goop is much more like concrete than Ellie’s softer goop).
Ellie was a breeding dog for the first four and a half years of her life, and once she got spayed she was thrilled to be done with all of that. So when Kevin, the mini-Golden Doodle, is out, and Cricket hops over to him like a baby goat, Ellie speed walks back to our front door and waits to be let back inside. I think Kevin’s enthusiasm and energy and curiosity freak her out, even though he’s a much nicer and more empathetic dog than Cricket would ever want to be.
Cricket’s favorite activity, aside from punching Kevin or barking at Grandma, is sniffing the grass (Mom recently found out that Cockapoos in particular need to do a lot of sniffing, for the intellectual stimulation). And Ellie, sweet as she is, has really tried to get interested in sniffing, for her sister’s sake, but it’s just not her thing. She prefers to chase cats, zoom around the yard in figure eights, and then sit and rest with her people until it’s time to go back inside and sleep. Or eat.
There are times when I worry that Ellie might be missing out on things because she’s so careful to be a good girl, and to please her people, and especially to avoid annoying Cricket. And I worry that having Cricket as her sister has kept her in second place, as the easy one and the good one and the sweet one, and never as the squeaky wheel that gets all of the grease.
On the other hand, maybe this is who she really is. She loves to stretch out in her own space and rest; she loves to eat; she loves to run; she’s shy around other dogs and people, but has learned how to share space with Cricket and even to cuddle with her people a little bit.
In fact, Cricket’s the one who taught Ellie how to bark for what she wants, and to try new foods, and to run, and to cuddle. Cricket, who can be a terror, and standoffish, and stubborn, has now made a safe home for two rescued breeding mamas (Miss Butterfly was her first), teaching them how to be dogs, and how to lean on their humans, and how to enjoy snacks and scratchies and always ask for more. Not a bad record for such a curmudgeon. I think Miss Ellie would even agree with me about that, though she’d throw in some side eye too, because Cricket has taught her the joys of sarcasm on top of everything else.
Oh wait, that might have been me.
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I enjoyed this cute personality profile. Thanks for sharing.
I think dogs giving side eye is the funniest thing. Just that quick look makes me laugh every time. Maybe Cricket doesn’t want to ruin her image by making you think she’s a good girl. Heaven forbid!
They are both adorable!
They are such sweet dogs. You’re lucky to have them and they’re lucky to have you.
Awwww this was a lovely welcome home read ❤️🐕
I’m so glad!
I love how you describe your pups!
I love that you use photos of Cricket and Ellie to illustrate all your posts.
Me too! Thank you!
Lovely post Rachel. Kizzy was a rescue, having been tied up and abandoned at a breeders farm.
She was a pitiful nervous bag of bones, but I took her on as we had just lost our previous GSD and the collie was pining. The coolie thought he could now be top dog, but she sat on his head and that was the end of his pipe dream. She was never the cuddly type, but when I left the relationship and took her with me, she was so good with my brother’s kids (three under five). She didn’t bark at anyone, except Hubby to be, then realised he was OK as we went out together and took her with us most times, so she wasn’t shut out. I like to think she had five good years with me. I lost her to mammary cancer in 1990.
Five good years are a wonderful thing!
I think Ellie is doing just fine, and quite happy not be a puppy machine.
I agree! Thank you!
What a sweet story! Sounds like Miss Ellie is her own dog and doesn’t mind that Cricket is the alpha dog. By the way, I heard expressions for sniffing, including “checking for pee-mail.”
Cricket checks her pee-mail endlessly!
I love how you told us so much more about both Cricket and Ellie’s personalities. My Sammy dog always took second billing to my first miniature schnauzer, Freda, back in the 90’s. When When Freda passed, Sammy came into his own and was became an outgoing, fun dog!
They are such interesting characters!
Your dogs sound so cute! I used to have a dog too–he knew about 50 different words for food lol. I’ve ordered a Kindle sample of your book and look forward to reading it! 🙂
Thank you so much!
Although you have those two right there to compare, we are constantly comparing our new dog Zoe to the five dogs we had before her. It is amazing to me how different all six really are. This is the first one, though, who likes us to throw rocks for her to retrieve!
I have never had a dog who would bring anything back to me.
“Oh wait, that might have been me”.
I always enjoy your photos of Ellie and Cricket. Now I know a bit more about who they are! Thanks.
These are delightful portraits of your two pups (and how great that you’ve rescued poor breeding moms!). I agree with those who suggest that Ellie is comfortable in her own fur (so to speak). Her self-imposed “grandma guardian” role is touching, and she and Cricket seem to have adopted a decent modus operandi. When we had two dogs, the older and smaller and tougher one taught the younger and skittish one some really bad behaviors. On the other hand, our huge collie shepherd (male) mothered the tiny kitten who crawled under our fence, resulting in years of an idyllic relationship. I think I mentioned them before because they were such a joyful duo.
Cricket has so many bad behaviors to teach!
Your post reminds me a awful lot of those old Goofus and Gallant cartoons in Highlights magazine. Cricket, obviously, would be Goofus.
I love the personality of your dogs and the way you describe it. My Charlie has quite a story of his own as well. I can’t imagine having two. His best friend has a new puppy at her house and it’s been more work than I’m up for. And she’s been quite a pest of a little sister too. Sometimes we meet to hike and one or the other will meet us but not both which works out well because Charlie gets along with both but the two siblings … that’s another story. Charlie thinks anyone who is out walking is only there to see him like he’s the attraction and they’re his admiring fans. He’s not wrong. 😊
Yay Charlie!!!!! You are a star!
Sweet, sweet babies ❤
Our fur babies bring us great joy. ❤
They really do!
Sounds like Cricket and Ellie are different, but they’re special in their own ways.
These dogs are so sweet and very adorable. Anita
They really are! Thank you!
One of the things I’m loving about this entry is that it feels like your way of answering Ellie’s “What about me?” question (from your “Cricket and the Doggy Steps” post) and it feels like your way of saying to Ellie “I did not forget about you; I still remember you and your question and you’ll get the credit and recognition you’ve earned” . Thoughtful compassionate follow through (and you didn’t have to) from you Rachel. Hoping Ellie notices and appreciates your post about her. 🙂
That’s exactly why I wrote it! I hope Ellie notices too.
My son and DIL rescue named Ellie is the same!!! And she needs to watch out for Talia ( also rescue) who is not always the good one 😉
Ha, Ha, Ha! Beautiful and brilliant. Neither one of them could have a better home than they have with you. They are blessed and a blessing – and infinitely interesting with their different personalities.
Thank you so much!