How do your dogs relate to other species?

Photo by Mike Lewis

How do your dogs relate to non-canine members of the animal kingdom? Do they want to eat or harass every bird, moose, cat, you-name-it they see? Or do they get along? Bonus points for examples.

I was reminded of this topic when I took the attached picture last night. Lucy, my senior Chessie, slipped into the macaw's cage when I had the bird out in the living room. Lucy is not allowed in the bird's room, let alone cage, but she has a problem with rules sometimes. Fortunately, when I brought the bird back and set her on top of the cage, both Lucy and the bird did fine. They just stared at each other for a while as I was snapping the picture.

But back on point: Lucy came to me as a 9- or 10-year-old rescue a year and a half ago. She is a sweetheart, but has a tendency to march to the beat of her own drum. I was initially concerned when I introduced her to the bird. Being a bird dog, she has certain instincts that can't be ignored.

She wasted no time when they met by accident -- she lurched at the bird who was walking on the floor and both got agitated. Interestingly, though, when I calmed them both down and introduced them, Lucy visibly relaxed. It was a new concept -- a bird she can't fetch -- but she caught on pretty quickly. I wouldn't say she likes the bird, but I'm not afraid of her trying to retrieve it either.

Having a large bird in the house -- especially one that talks -- can make life entertaining. I'll never forget the first time a Chihuahua we owned hopped up on my wife's lap as my wife was holding the bird. The Chihuahua was surprised but didn't budge until the bird said -- clear as a bell -- "No." The Chihuahua's ears came up and head tilted as if he didn't believe what he'd heard. So the bird repeated: "No."

Next thing I know, the Chihuahua leaped off my wife's lap and went somewhere else where life made sense.

But after that introduction, they got along fine. Even my Yorkies now hardly flinch when the bird comes out, and the bird has never tried to bite them. They're not best of friends, but they tolerate each other, even at close quarters.

But I can't be the only one with dogs who interact with other species: How do yours do?