Writing to you Faeries and Ladybugs, first, because I, Brownie, am the present ‘dog in residence’. Maybe some of the dogs of the past will get their stories told at a later date — or maybe not.
I am a chocolate lab, of a gentle personality. I have always been well treated and loved, but have recently moved to this new home in Missouri which is a major weather change for me. I was born in sunny California, then moved to the high deserts of Wyoming. Things sort of fell apart in Wyoming and my people had to move to another state and an apartment with no yard at all. They felt (and I sort of agree) that I wouldn’t be happy.
For a few weeks, I lived with some of you Faeries and Ladybugs until you could get together with my current Mom and Dad — your grandma and grandpa.
I was with them just a few weeks when we traveled to Georgia and I got to play with more of you and ‘bond’. That was a little confusing, but the same people kept turning up every day, so I wasn’t worried about belonging somewhere.
When we all got back to the Ozarks from that trip and after a few day trips where I was included, I’ve come to realize that these two people are my people. I will stay with them when going outside to do chores or get some air. (Although, I sometimes have to cross the road to check on the ‘welfare’ of the neighbors). Mom and Dad have used a clicker and whistle communication system with me from the get-go and I like it as much as they do. Some will say the little clicks are ‘mental’, but they comfort us and connect us. When mom blows that whistle, she’s sending a message that I had better show my face pretty quick. It is just a dumb $2 whistle that’s supposed to be ‘for-dog-ears-only high-pitched’, yada yada, but she can get some ’emotion’ into the tweet and I know when I’ve pressed my ‘ignore limit’.
When the weather is terribly hot or something else is afoot, they leave me in the house with maybe one cat, maybe none. As soon as they leave, I get up on a dining room chair so I can see out the window and know when they are coming back. At first I was sort of tentative about getting up on the chair and only did it when no one was looking. Now, sometimes I get on Dad’s chair and curl up to nap — boy, that is a chairful — forcing him to get another chair so he can eat!
I love Dad and getting to go with him to get parts or lumber, but Mom is my job. I stick with her a lot. Of course, she’s the one with the summer sausage treats and the one who goes around asking if anyone has seen a good dog who needs a treat. You can bet I know where a good dog is and I’m right there, butt on the floor, showing her how good I can be. My favorite three places to be are under her desk, right behind her chair and right in the middle of the kitchen floor, stretched out so she has to notice me.
Mom’s the one who cleans up when I have an accident. She never scolds me, but sometimes she looks at me really sad. She takes my collar off at night so I can rest better. I sleep by her side of the bed almost all night although there really isn’t room there for me to be comfortable. Mom gets up early and slips an egg to me before we go outside to see what is going on in the morning air. Usually the grass is wet and we come back with wet feet all around.
Last week a wasp must have gotten ‘scooped’ into her slide/shoe and it stung her really hard just under her toes. I knew there was trouble when she told me to come RIGHT now or get left outside. Her toes swelled up and were red. I licked them for her when she let me. (I lick her ankles to show her how much I love her and watch her dodge out of the way) She was impressed that I seemed to know that her foot was in trouble and would try to fix it for her.
This week, some larger bees, maybe bumblebees have been bothering her in the yard. No stinging, but they buzz her head. She waves her hands and yells “Get away from me”, but I don’t think bumblebees speak English. Today, she gave me that ‘call’ and headed for the house. No, she wasn’t stung, but she was getting a large spray bottle of water to defend herself.
Last night, after Dad finished off loading the hay bales, he was backing the trailer around and I got to ride. I did my ‘cow dog’ imitation pretty well until the trailer dropped off the hitch. I jumped off to safety, or so it appeared to me, but I was still having fun. I just had to tear around the yard in a ‘doofus attack’, I was that happy.
I want to make one thing clear — I am NOT a cow dog. Cows can take care of themselves or suffer the consequences. Cow dogs are noisy and they stink. They pee on our tires when Dad goes to their place. He never takes me along because it would be such an insult. I seldom bark anyone twice, but when the guys with cow dogs come, I bark them every time. I just want them to know that I am NOT a cow dog. This week, Dad did some chores for one of those guys and Mom went along a couple times to pick over the tomatoes and peppers. Those cow dogs touched her — All FIVE of them. When she came home I ‘vacuumed’ her legs and clothes smelling those other dogs. I just couldn’t believe it. She had to take a shower and change her clothes so I could find some peace.
Dad took me along to the neighbors who have beagles. What a noisy bunch they are! I stayed in the truck. Need I say more? There is another dog in the neighborhood, a boxer, whose people can’t seem to keep home. She has to cross the busy highway to come over here on walk-about. She won’t talk to Mom or Dad, but walks through, peacefully visiting the cats. At first Mom and Dad were concerned that someone had dumped her. They were glad she has a family, such as it is, because Mom especially likes being a “one dog show” which is ME. And she’s never happy when that dog shows up because the next time we go outside, we have to use the leash in case that dog is still here.
There is ever so much more to tell, but I had better save some for another time.