The Alpha Bit

March 2013

It seems a true alpha male comes in varying forms. And I’m always intrigued by how different species demonstrate their alpha traits. A male peacock will show off his extravagant colors through a spectacular display four times larger than he really is, if only to impress and attract a female. An alpha chimpanzee will show aggression and strength that undoubtedly intimidates others. Wolves, elephants, bee’s; there’s a dominant one in every bunch. And then there is the alpha among alphas; The Lyon; Ruler and king of the animal kingdom and entire jungle; the decider of life or death.  

The fact is, a male brain is wired to naturally find a place in his social hierarchy and continuously strive to reach and remain at the top. Almost subconsciously, a few attempt to dominate while most take the passive-aggressive route. But when considering the canine alpha male, I don’t believe this philosophy is always true. Buddy suits a perfect example of this exception to the rule.

His style is different than that of the typical alpha dog. Rather than showing dominance through aggression, he’s convinced himself that he’s already known, respected and in some cases even feared. Instinctually, even at the fragile age of fifteen, he never stops cultivating his own reality and demonstrates his belief that a true alpha dog quietly commands the attention of all solely with his presence. He is confident in his step, owning the room in which he walks and all of its’ contents for that matter. He fears nothing, or at least he’ll make you believe. Buddy has convinced me (and actually proven more than once in his life) that a real alpha dog doesn’t start a fight to prove a point; but instead breaks it up.

Within the confines of his palace (and comfort of his bed) he assumes his role; knowing he is older and wiser than other dogs far beneath him. As the proper and deserving alpha male he rests, but never fully asleep. With one eye open he is aware of his surroundings; constantly observing who is present and taking account of their exact location at all times. As the alpha it is his duty to monitor relationships, assess his own being and be ready to attack within a seconds notice. Or so he’d want you to believe. Mostly, it is his honor to guard and protect his master. But don’t allow his artificial snoring to deceive you. With both ears standing tall at attention, he is carefully listening for intruders even though he is completely deaf.

As a guest in another home he maintains his confidence and takes his alpha-ism a step further. Strutting about with his crown bearing head held high, it’s almost as if he adorns a velvet cape with an “Alpha Dog” nametag. He carries himself with pride and dignity; self assured that it is HE who is king of the thrown, the jungle and entire universe for that matter. As alpha, it is his responsibility to confiscate everyone else’s squeaky toys and nylabones. Not because he wants to play or chew, but rather, simply to remind all of his power to possess if he so chooses. With great humility he rests his chin on his stuffed toy collection from unworthy and submissive fellow canines. And if another dog has a toy, it is only because he willingly relinquished.

If the ultimate alpha dog is mild-mannered, physically unassuming and never willing to falter in his loyalty, it is Buddy. If the alpha displays the most convincing poker face you’d ever see, even under great pressure or demand, Buddy is this dog. There’s an undeniable aura about him. His eyes will tell you he didn’t “earn” or “become” the alpha, but rather was born the alpha. And he commands a respect that puts even a Godfather to shame. In his mind he is far more than the owner of every lake and trail in Vermont. He is admired as the king of the land itself; of every forest including all of their trees. He is the wise, all-knowing sen-se; the lord of lords and almighty master and ruler of earth. The alpha, omega and everything in between. Question or doubt his status and authority and he will turn his attention elsewhere without bother or concern. Challenge his strength and he will stand tall and stare you down, or if he so wishes ignore you altogether. Because he needs to prove nothing to anyone.

But one thing seems certain and maybe you can relate. It’s not that Buddy is or isn’t the mighty true alpha that matters.

More importantly, and what matters most, is that whole-heartedly he believes he is.

Leave a Reply