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Dog Diaries

Couch Wars!

by Merle Doughten

In a place far, far away from here, in a land where good and evil is decided merely by the time of day, five armies battle for the conquest of what they all feel is rightfully theirs. Through treachery and treason they will do whatever it takes, even using superior force like this universe has never seen before to win. The eternal war has raged for years, with many innocent casualties falling by the wayside as the opponents seek the upper hand in claiming the ULTIMATE PRIZE!

Dating back to the Year of Our Lord, 2003, the first conflict arose that has lead to this endless dispute. Like many wars of the past, this one began over a minor disagreement between two strong-willed adversaries. A minor skirmish that, if it had been handled diplomatically in the first conflict, could have resulted in the strong wills involved to step back, reexamine the situation, and come to an agreeable solution. Instead, heated words were exchanged and battle lines where drawn. War had been declared!

The two parties went back and forth, neither gaining a clear advantage, although one was far superior than the other by sheer size. The smaller force, lead by the Queen and using guerilla techniques of camouflage and attacks under cover of darkness, slowly gained ground. With a quick strike here, a sneak attack there, the Queen whittled the larger force's determination just as drops of water falling on a stone will slowly carve a hole.

During the critical first winter, a time when most forces hunker down and await the thawing temperatures of the coming spring before making their moves, the Queen was scheming. Instead of sitting back and waiting, the Queen sought out allies to win this mighty war. After an exhaustive search, she found The Brothers. They also had been battling the Great Ones but to a much lesser extent then the Queen.

The Brothers had only attempted a few small strikes, mostly while the attention of the Great Ones was diverted to other things. They had been thwarted immediately when discovered and had left with tails between their legs, retreating as beaten foe. Confidence waning and not wishing to bring wrath upon their heads, they instead sat back as beaten puppies.

The Queen, in the meantime, had watched with great pleasure as The Brothers attempted their minor assaults and subsequent defeats, knowing that with the right leverage she could bring them into the mix on her side. As the winter brought its chilling cold to the region that first year, an alliance was made. The Queen, along with The Brothers, was hoping that by sheer numbers they could overwhelm the Great Ones and take what should be rightfully theirs. Once the Great Ones were defeated, they could divide the plunder equally and live happily ever after. Unlike the happy ending of the fairy tale however, the Great Ones did not relinquish to the greater numbers and instead fought back unmercifully, inflicting greater damage to their confidence, especially that of The Brothers.

The war raged on, ground was won only to be lost again as the Great Ones counter-attacked numerous times, defeating the new-found Alliance. With each loss, confidence waned until the Queen and The Brothers had reached their lowest point. They reached deep into the reserves of their very souls for one last counter thrust, knowing that if this battle was lost, it was done. They would forever be defeated and left to live their lives in shame. As they prepared for the battle that would ultimately decide their fate, it was found that a spy was in their very midst. A spy so cleverly hidden that she was allowed to hear every plan, every move they made. They had assumed that she was too stupid and below them to pay any heed; it was a grave mistake as this shameless blond would then return to the Great Ones and report on their next moves. She pleaded for her life as the Queen held her by her throat for her treason. With wide, crying eyes, she promised on her motherís name that she would join them in their battle against the Great Ones. Releasing the wench, the Queen renamed her the Cursed One, knowing that this one had caused much pain to them. With her promise of support, the Cursed One told the Alliance of a new threat she had overheard. In but a few weeks, another would be entering the war on the side of the Great Ones. The Cursed One told them she felt that the newest member of the fray could easily be persuaded to join their efforts. They did not trust her, but what other option did they have at this point, as battles had been going poorly for them as of late?

As the days lengthened and slowly grew warmer with the approaching spring of the second year of the war, another was brought in to the battle. The Cursed One had in fact told the truth. The new one was just as formidable as the Queen, but THEY had trained her. She was much smaller than any of the others but much quicker to anger. The first meeting with her turned into a snarling, snapping, growling escapade. The Alliance knew that if she was going to join them and be of any help, it was going to take time, something they all felt was running out quickly.

Then out of nowhere, a small compromise was made. A meeting was called by the Great Ones and suddenly a small crack was detected in their mighty armor. The Alliance was going to be allowed access to one of the forbidden areas, an area where many battles had been fought and lost by the Alliance. "It must be a trick," they thought, "an ambush. This canít be right." The Cursed One, now working with the Alliance, showed them that it was actually true, and they could in fact go onto one of the forbidden areas they had fought so bitterly for in the past. "What has changed?" they asked the Cursed One. She replied simply, ďThe New Girl.Ē

The New Girl was just like them in body but never attempted to go onto any of the forbidden areas. She seemed to enjoy staying off them actually. The Queen and Brothers could not figure her out. Whenever they tried to talk to her, she responded to them with snarls. In talking with the Cursed One, it was discovered that she was just petrified and was trying to make them not hurt her. Once they assured her they had no intentions of such things, the relationship warmed between The New Girl and the Alliance. Since the Great Ones seemed to favor her in their company, the Alliance decided to use her as a decoy. She would continue to win the Great Ones' favor, and then the rest would slip in when she had them duped.

Although the Great Ones had consented to letting the Alliance into a small portion of the forbidden area, they wanted more. If they had stopped there, this story could end now, but the Queen convinced everyone that they could take the large area where the Great Ones spent most of their time. The Brothers were actually happy with the concession but didnít wish to upset the Queen. They pushed on, but a flicker of dissent had begun among the Alliance.

During the summer months, the New One became increasingly approachable and at the same time was still welcomed with the Great Ones. The dissent that began as just a flicker was slowly growing into a small flame. The small area was not big enough for the Queen and the two Brothers, so they bickered constantly over it. Who was here first? Who was to be allowed, and when? The Cursed One watched this all from the sidelines, knowing that eventually it was going to blow into a giant bonfire, and she would enjoy watching it happen as she always did.

As summer wound down and the new winter approached, an amazing thing occurred. The New One had been accepted into the Great Ones' area, and there was no fighting.

How could this be, the Queen wanted to know! There she was, the New One, right with them, sitting among them, even sleeping there. The Brothers had no clue, and the Cursed One just smiled and walked away. The Queen, seeing the New One resting in the forbidden area, approached cautiously as the Great Ones watched. Placing one tentative paw forward onto the couch, she slowly raised herself. Pausing, she looked around for the inevitable defensive attack. The Great Ones had used a hard, steady stream of bitterly cold water in the past to throw the Alliance off. When it didnít happen, she settled herself down and in a few moments was sleeping peacefully on the forbidden couch for the first time in two and a half years without being chased away. In her dreams, she believed the war was finally over. It was only just beginning, but not with the Great Ones anymore, but instead with the broken-down Alliance.

The Brothers, not wanting to be left out in the cold, quickly launched attacks against the Queen and the New One as they lay quietly on the couch. Using every available weapon to them, they swiftly pushed the Queen away, taking her place. She retreated back to the smaller couch but with a smile on her face. She knows she can retake the larger one at any time and will do just that, but not right now. Right now, she will have the smaller couch all to herself, and when she is ready, the Queen will again attack and reclaim what is rightfully hers.

So it goes, the endless war for that place on the couches. Battles are waged and plots are made with no clear-cut winner as the five armies - Queen Gracie, The Brothers Mack and Jack, New Girl Allie, and We Great Ones - continue battling to this very day with Emmy sitting on the side watching it all, a smile on her face!

Greyhounds aren't just dogs, they are a way of life!