Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bad Dog


Bad Dog

Every ranch has dogs. We have two. We have a McNab border collie pup and a refugee from the Oakland Animal Shelter. The refugee is a chow mix. I guess. The orange color and lion-like ruff around the neck is right. There’s black on the tongue but that’s about it. He’s light and lithe and so interested in digging things out there must be some terrier in there somewhere. He did so much hill work chasing squirrels all summer long he’s now buff like Beckham the British soccer star.

He’s about a good as he wants to be. His name is Teddy which is short for Theodore O’Connor.  Theodore O’Connor was a 3-day eventing pony owned by the world renowned O’Connor’s who competed with him in the Rolex Kentucky. My daughter was into eventing at the time we got the dog. It seemed like the right name for him. The pony passed away but the dog is very much alive. He’s about a good as he wants to be.

You know when he’s being bad because you’ll come in the front door of the ranch house and you hear a thump coming from the bedroom and you immediately realize you forgot to close the bedroom door. Mr. Good as He Wants to Be has been on the master’s bed. He knows he isn’t supposed to be in there and that’s why he gets off the minute he hears the door open. I don’t know what’s going on in that walnut brain of his. Does he think he can fool us? He’s usually filthy from digging out ground squirrels so not only is it bad form to be on the master’s bed but I wind up doing too much laundering of the spread because he leaves a dog size print of dirt when he gets up there. You see his naughty little face and you can almost hear the excuse, “Um, I was just making sure everything was ok in there! Just doing my job!” In our house the dog is Garfield and the cat is Odie.

Bad dog! No, bad master! You have to thump yourself on the side of your head because you know you’ve failed again in being clear on what you want as the Alpha. How clever must a person be to lord it over a 35 pound orange thing who is slightly deranged for reasons obscured by his Oakland past. He’s very willing to be head cheese. Where is Cesar Milan when you need him?

Clever indeed! If you’re going to town you must be surreptitious about it and get the pooch inside his pen before he gets wind that a motor vehicle is involved. If you don’t there’s the inevitable stare-down at the side of the truck. He’s not going anywhere he doesn’t want to go and right now he wants to go in the truck. So out comes the leash. Grabbing him by the collar and pulling could get you bitten. If you do bestow privileges and let him go with you the same routine happens at the end of the ride because now he doesn’t want to get out!

            But we love him. He’s dependable and can be out on his own. He’s a stupendous watch dog. No stranger will get by him! He also wants to stay near us so when we let him out to lay waste to ground squirrels we know he will be back. He’ll be laying on the front door step, lord of all he surveys. The ground squirrels always escape. He’s never gotten one but this does not deter. Nay! Tomorrow is another day. He personifies the best in us for purpose and focus. I can learn from that.

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