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Monday, June 14, 2010

Holding the Line

Sunday was just us, Bow and Sword and me. Bow asked me if Megan was mad at him and would she come back. I told him she would come back, but she would stay only if he behaved. He answered: "Yes."

This morning, Bow staged a confrontation with Lawrence. It was about nothing in particular. Bow rattled the door, Lawrence told him not to, Bow lashed out with an attack posture, but did not follow through. In the process, Bow wet the floor, and this resulted in his getting disciplined,which consisted of being sprayed with water. After that, Bow was very conciliatory and deferential toward Lawrence, and the rest of the day was filled with friendship and camaraderie and playing in the outer pen. Lawrence and Bow had a great time together.

This is a lesson that is hard to learn, and one that we tend to suppress in this day and age: giving in to bullies results in more bullying. A show of strength restores peace and allows for a smooth relationship to develop. It's kind of like what my mother told me when she sent me off to kindergarten: "If anybody hits you, you hit back harder." We do this not just for ourselves, but for the sake of the next person, too. Bow likes to know that the rules haven't changed. It gives him a sense of security. But the only way he's absolutely sure the rules are still the same is by crossing the line every so often and seeing what happens. What happens is up to us.

2 comments:

  1. Hello Aya, I am a long time reader of your hubs who only recently discovered your blog here. I've been reading a lot about Bow's interaction with Megan and I have a question. I have no experience with non-human primate behavior, but the way Bow seems really reluctant to use language with Megan (treating her perhaps more like a chimp than a human), along with the way he showed off by 'displaying at her', the way he's concerned she won't come back and the statement "When will Megan let me act like a guy?" makes me feel like Bow sees Megan as a potential romantic partner/mate. Is this even a remote possibility?

    Thanks for the interesting work and writing that you do!

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  2. Rachel, thanks for your comment, and that is a very good question. I think Bow sees every new female as a potential romantic partner. This is one of the things he thinks about constantly. It has nothing to do with using or not using language, as Bow will even use language to express that he really likes a girl in that way.

    I caution new volunteers to dress modestly and not to reveal too much, because Bow is very aware of them as complete beings, not just disembodied minds.

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