I've come to realize that every day that the mailman comes up on our front porch to drop off the mail, Bear views it as a near-miss. A crisis averted. Like the mailman came up, Bear let out his biggest, meanest mean noise, and the mailman hightailed it back to his truck and drove away. That if Bear doesn't make a big huffy scene, the mailman would walk right into our house and do something unthinkable.*
There are two ways to look at this:
One, it's good for the old scruff to have a victory every day (and rest on Sundays). To protect his family, to be useful in his golden years, to be a big tough guy even if he does have a silly haircut this summer. Because Lord knows, he doesn't get the love he used to now that Bird is in the picture.
On the other hand, it seems a little bit cruel that he goes through this non-drama each and every day. I know, I can never understand what Bear is thinking. And most of the time, I'm thankful for that--I believe it would be mostly repetitive and tedious thoughts about food. But I've known this dog for ten years and sometimes he looks at me and I get these quick flashes where our connection is completely crystal clear, like yesterday when he looked back at me, out of breath from barking the mailman back to the curb, and said, wearily, "How many times to I have to tell that asshole to stay the hell off my porch?"
*Something unthinkable like eat up all the dog food.