A ridiculous dog
Friday, December 2, 2016 7:13 AM
We have three large dogs – one male and two females, one pure bred and two rescued – and though they are all same breed, they are as different as night and day. The male is the ultimate companion. He sits as close as he can to the nearest human, and when a loving hand moves too slowly, he offers a gentle nudge to remind that more vigorous affection is in order.
One female is a touch-me-not. She is independent and needs nothing to do with people. She is a sleek and beautiful hunter, patiently waiting for hours at the bottom of a tree until her quarry either loses its balance and falls or unwisely decides to descend. If she leans into us for what appears to be a request for companionship, in a matter of seconds she snaps and reminds us that she really did not mean to ask for attention.
The only way to describe the other female is that she is simply ridiculous.
She is 6 years old but does not know it. She leaps onto the couch with wild abandon. She knocks into chairs, and if a person happens to offer a petting, she melts to the floor and flops over on her back, legs pedaling the air. She never tires, and I am certain that she smiles constantly and laughs often.
But the two females do not get along, not in the least.
After one too many ferocious arguments, we simply decided to live a split dog life, always keeping one female in her pen while the other is out in our creek valley world.
We change them out three times a day, so that the morning dog spends the afternoon in the pen, and then returns to our world for the evening. They thus spend every other night in their pens and every other night out.
Each pen contains a beautiful straw-filled doghouse and a nice front yard. They have a view of the upper field and can watch the pigeons, ducks and chickens as they strut about.
I am glad that they both easily run to their pens at the appointed time, and we always offer a treat.
The touch-me-not settles into her doghouse, nose at the door, front paws gently crossed and seems content to sit back and relax, but not the ridiculous dog.
She sits out in front of her house, as if a guard at Buckingham palace, and keeps a vigilant eye on everything, every little thing, that happens in the upper field.
The chickens often stop by, as if to tease her, to see if she will try to jump at them though the chain link fence. She simply sits and watches.
The foolish birds even poke their heads through the links, looking for any crumbs from her most recent treat. If I were a chicken, I do not think that I would be so bold, but our ridiculous dog simply cocks her head to the side and watches.
When the ducks waddle by, quacking in their linear formation, her head turns to follow their passing, but she does not budge, her haunches remain firmly planted.
As the pigeon squadron circles above over the creek valley, she follows their path, her head turning to follow their flight.
When a deer enters the orchard, she watches intently but does not move a muscle. Her gaze only leaves the beautifully grazing creature as it returns to the woods and is out of her sight.
When I pass by her pen after dark, on my way to close up the pigeon palace, I always find her still sitting, just outside her house, keeping guard over the night. When I look out the loft window, on all but the coldest mornings, I see her still sitting, looking out across the field.
But as soon as the touch-me-not is once again safely in her own pen, our ridiculous dog bounds out across the field, her silent watch over, to skid full tilt into the cabin, laughing as she jumps up onto the couch or skids into our legs.
Her smiles are absolutely contagious, and we find ourselves laughing right along with her.
Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.