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LOCATING A LOST BOXER
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How Came These Friendships?
By Friederun Stockmann This article by the famous author of My Life With Boxers, was published in the 1935 AKC Gazette
It would be interesting to know what causes friendships among animals. Of course, there are natural enemies, and those enmities are based on self-preservation. When one species eats another species, it is quite logical that the latter should be afraid of the former. But when animals are "civilized" and the question of food no longer exists, why do these sudden hatreds occur? It is an interesting point, and one that probably never will be settled.
I am interested in all animals, particularly dogs. My favorite breed is a Boxer. Of course, I appreciate all breeds, and I can understand why different people like other kinds of dogs. But the Boxer fills my needs, and it is of Boxers and some unusual friends that I am going to write. Also, I am going to mention sudden likes and dislikes among different animals. It will not prove a thing, of course, but may start some reader thinking.
And in writing of Boxers I am going to mention monkeys and cats. They form an odd combination, but they are all interwoven in this story of love and hatred, friendship and enmity among dumb animals. Why did they like, or why did they hate one another? They did. Some were friends, some were enemies. There is no question of that.
It all began when I acquired my first monkey. I was more than anxious to learn what my Boxers would think of the new addition to our household. I have found that the first meeting among animals is decisive. I think it is the scent of an animal, which a dog either likes or dislikes. Therefore, my anxiety was great when Jeffke arrived in his shipping crate, and was moved into his cage.
I noticed, with satisfaction, that our dogs accepted the newcomer in a friendly manner. Jeffke, however, was a little uncomfortable under so many inquiring eyes. But on his second day with us, he dared to box old Iwein's ears as the Boxer stuck his nose through the bars of Jeffke's cage. And thus, their friendship began.
Soon, Jeffke was permitted to leave his cage. Immediately he sought protection between Iwein's paws. The latter was tolerant, as he felt the monkey was much too small to be considered seriously as an opponent. The dog's broad back soon became the monkey's favorite resting place.
It did not take Jeffke long to become acquainted with all the other dogs. It was interesting to note how soon he could tell them apart, and how he changed his behavior towards each, according to each Boxer's disposition. When he played or fought with anyone, Jeffke would watch the expression in the dog's eyes, and often would jump up as if to see better. At the same time, he would smack his lips in a pacifying manner.
If one of the dogs angered him, the monkey would jump, like lightning, between the hind legs of his adversary, and bite him in the most sensitive spots. Nevertheless, all the dogs seemed to like him, despite his roughness, and Jeffke seemed to like all of my dogs.
And here is the other side of the picture; perfectly natural when you remember monkeys in the wild. They are afraid of snakes and all members of the cat family. I cannot say if Jeffke hated snakes, for I have never had them. But he hated cats' hated them more than he loved dogs' and showed his hatred on all possible occasions.
No cat was safe in the neighborhood of Jeffke. If one crossed his horizon, he would stop whatever he was doing and dash after poor pussy. And when Jeffke got hold of a cat he seemed to go wild, handling it roughly; biting ears and tail, chattering angrily all the time.
To me, all this was most interesting. Why did Jeffke like dogs, and why did he hate cats? Why did the dogs like Jeffke, and why did all cats flee from this little demon? Also, and this is even more interesting: why did our dogs, which were always friendly towards cats, never interfere or take sides with or against Jeffke? Maybe, it wasn't clubby. I don't know. Certainly, they always stood by, and when the winner returned, acted as though nothing out-of-the-ordinary had happened.
Jeffke was especially attached to my daughter. If she was not at home, he would sit for hours at the window watching for her return, breaking into cries of joy when she finally arrived.
In the evening, he usually would sit on someone's shoulder or in someone's lap. His attachment to the members of our family was touching; he disliked strangers and was ready to protect us against them, like the best of our watch dogs.
After a few months, we decided to give Jeffke a wife, and we acquired Johanna. She was a little, red-haired, restless devil. It was impossible to grant her the liberties which her mate enjoyed. Once out of her cage, Johanna would upset the entire house, and consequently, we had to keep her on a light chain most of the time.And now comes still another peculiar phase of animal psychology. Johanna hated and feared dogs, even more than she hated and feared cats. Her fear of dogs knew no bounds.
All this astonished Jeffke, just as much as it did me. Why did one monkey like and the other monkey fear dogs? Of course, I will never know the answer. But the facts were evident to anyone who came to see our animals.
In connection with Johanna's fear, there was still another interesting point. Continually, Jeffke tried to convince his mate that her fears were absolutely foolish. When Johanna first arrived, Jeffke was very patient, loving, and kind. If one of the dogs scared her and she uttered a cry, Jeffke would rush to his little wife, embracing and pacifying her, apparently telling her that there was nothing in the world of which to be afraid. Was he not there to protect her?
But as time moved on, and she continued to be afraid of dogs, Jeffke lost patience. He just could not understand it. Probably, he thought it was all female nonsense. Anyway, he hit upon a plan to make Johanna stop her actions. When she rushed to him for protection against a perfectly harmless dog, instead of comforting her, Jeffke would start to beat Johanna.
I have seen him grab her collar, and start to drag her around the cage. He would punch and bite her, smacking his lips in anger, if she dared to disobey. Then he would haul her out to where the dogs were quietly standing, and to prove that they were not dangerous, Jeffke would leap on to Iwein's back or head, and then beg her to join him. But it was all to no avail. She would scamper away and hide. And Jeffke would dash after her, apparently wild because she had refused to obey him before his doggy friends.
Let us now go a little bit further in the likes and dislikes of animals. Regardless of Johanna's dislike for dogs, in the end she became friendly with my Boxers. And Jeffke had nothing at all to do with Johanna changing her mind. To begin with, Jeffke was taken ill. He coughed, shivered continually, grew weaker and weaker, and finally passed on to a happier hunting ground.
The loss of her husband did not seem to affect Johanna to any great extent. In fact, she seemed to be relieved. Towards the end, Johanna had to sit and sleep with Jeffke to try and keep him warm. This, of course, did not suit her restless nature. She wanted to be about her own affairs, and why she stayed with Jeffke is another thing I cannot explain.
Shortly, after Jeffke's death, we gave Johanna a little rabbit for a companion. That may have changed her. I don't know. On thing is certain, while she still remained suspicious of us, she began to love the rabbit; and from loving the rabbit, she began to take an interest in other animals, even our dogs.
The advancing summer allowed us to keep Johanna outdoors. We gave her a chain, a good 14 feet long, and she used to romp all day, much to the delight of the dogs. One big golden male, Golem, tried to make friends, and despite Johanna's refusals, he came to her time and again.
Golem was so good natured, that Johanna soon began to tolerate and then to like him. Finally, they became friends. And it was this friendship which finally broke down Johanna's fear of dogs, and permitted her to become friendly with all our Boxers. I often wondered what Jeffke would have said had he seen Johanna and our dogs playing together in complete accord.
The more you study animal psychology, the more astonishing it becomes. At first, Johanna hated and feared dogs. Then she began to like them. And it was because of this liking that she remained at our place, and actually tolerated us. This all came about through the question of liberty.
When Jeffke was alive, we would let Johanna loose, and together they would climb trees and buildings. We were not afraid of losing Johanna, knowing that Jeffke would bring her home safely at night. But when Jeffke died, things were different. We did not dare let Johanna roam around, as we were afraid that we would lose her.
But it was exceedingly difficult to keep Johanna under lock and key. Only bolts that she could not move or were too high for her to reach, would keep her locked up. Continually, she was getting free, and we would have considerable trouble catching her. Suddenly, we discovered that we could catch Johanna by locking up the Boxers. When she had nobody with whom to play, Johanna would return, and would permit us to catch her. When we realized that, we gave Johanna the run of the place, knowing that when the dogs were locked up for the night, she would return.
Like Jeffke, Johanna disliked cats. But again she showed an astonishing inconsistency. Of her own free will, she became friendly with Blaeulich, our tomcat. She took great delight in jumping on his back, smacking her lips, and making faces at him. All this was done in sheer good nature; in fact, she enjoyed taking a ride on Blaeulich's back, just as much as Jeffke had enjoyed riding Iwein, the Boxer.
At times Johanna would follow Blaeulich around like his shadow. I have seen her accompany the cat into the fields when he went on one of his mouse-hunting expeditions. I do not know if he liked it or not, for Johanna had no patience, and when he would sit motionless before a mouse hole, she would creep up beside him, and much to his dismay stick one of her thin arms into the hole, wondering what could be hidden. Of course, that would end the hunting expedition; but somehow or other, Blaeulich did not seem to mind.
Although Johanna hated female cats this dislike did not include one kitten. She had no use for the rest of the litter, but she would abduct this little one upon every possible occasion, carry her up into trees, playing with the kitten, and then return her unhurt to the others. Why she picked out this kitten is still another unsolved mystery.
Also, I was never able to understand why Johanna, when she finally took to dogs, preferred fawn Boxers to those of the brindle variety. And once she took to dogs, Johanna was not at all ashamed of her affections. When she thought that she was frightened, and that occurred continually, Johanna would rush to her dog friends, just as she flew to Jeffke in the first days of their marriage.
Like Jeffke, she learned to love riding on the back of a Boxer. When the dog would gallop, she would lie out on his back, like a wet rag, and cling with all fours and her teeth. When the dog walked or was at rest, Johanna's posture was perfect, and she would sit on the dog's back, like a queen on the back of her horse.
If Johanna grew angry at something, she would crouch on the head of a Boxer, between his ears, showing her teeth and chattering. Also, she liked joining the dogs when they ate, examining their food, and wondering how they can like such stuff. All this is most interesting to me, for I cannot help remembering that only a short time ago, Johanna hated and feared Boxers.
Why the change? In fact, why do animals like or dislike one another? How is this friendship or enmity developed? How is it fostered? How is it communicated to one another? These are some of the questions that continually come to my mind as I watch my Boxers, and my other animals.
Perhaps the lower animals are nearer in their intelligence to man than we have ever been able to discover. Only their reactions give us an indication of how their brains function, but this is, surely, only a fragmentary chain whose missing links might hold the answer to many seeming complexities.
Man has studied man. The great psychologists have analyzed all phases of human intelligence -- fears, complexes, and the inhibitions that rule our lives so dominantly. Yet, could this have been accomplished if man could not talk to man? Reactions are one thing; but how much more, and how much more quickly, can we discover the inner workings of man's mind by hearing what he has to say? In voicing his thoughts, man gives us many clues to his intelligence.
If we give serious thought to the element of human speech, and the fact that we are all humans, speaking our own language among ourselves, we may begin to be less perplexed by the so-called "lower animals." Monkeys and dogs and cats and many other animals seem to have their own special languages, among their own kind. Certainly, Jeffke and Johanna had a great bond of understanding.