Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm Not Sam

If it weren't for this hound, I'd be a Couch Potato.Make that-Recliner Recluse.  Mandy is the queen of -The Look. She works it well.  Sometimes I can tell when its an urgent, puleeze let me out look.  The other day I mixed in some left-over soup in her dish. One half hour later she's pleading with me to let her out. Her frequent lip licking is the kicker. Outside she promptly barfed, ate some grass and barfed again.

By rough estimates, the front field is over an acre. It's not square..  Various landforms and obstacles like the frame for the onion drying shelter, an old stump, the compost pile, a 100 foot row of  red dogwood bushes, a line fence, nine garden plots and the pole shed create a narrow dog run at the foot of the berm that leads to the highway.

Mandy loves to run.  Seeing her stretched out in full stride keeping pace with a vehicle on the highway along the fence line gives me a certain pleasure of seeing a dog run free.  She wouldn't be happy in a city lot, although she'd compensate. I'd take her on long walks in the nearest park. Our need to be outside coincides.  At night, I'd be reading near a fireplace, if we had one.  Dawn's studio has access to the chimney and the former owners used a wood stove there.  Fear of fire made me give the studio wood stove away to the town chairperson.  I've thought about getting it back, but after he died, that thought disappeared with him.

On our nightly excursion, I see things I'd otherwise miss from laziness or the warm comforts of a wood furnace in the basement.  Last night, I watched a cattle truck loudly pass by on the highway.  Yeah, big doins', huh?  Think again.  Over Freymiller's hill I hear the cattle truck approach from a distance. When it crests the hill, it's lit up like a tree in Macy's department store. Red and yellow strings of light outline various features of the cab and the trailer.  It roars by and the kid and I watch as it, the noise and the light circus, subsides, then disappears around the broad 1/2 mile sweep of land to the north and east.On clear nights the first bright stars in the sky, the Milky Way, the full moon and occasional Northern Lights are a free spectacle not to be understated.

The night before last, I walk toward the corn field that was once the town of Kickapoo Center.  Instead of hearing ghosts from the hotel operated by Robert Wilson, I can hear coyotes cavorting about a hundred yards away. They sound like teenagers with a six pack of beer parked by the river.  We used to walk there frequently, until the dipstick new owner, Principal Felty, put up a plastic barrel with a No Doin' Nothing sign taped to it. He has big "Kontrol and Land Baron" issues.   At first Mandy voiced her disapproval loudly and furiously barking at the white barrel which looks like a K K Klansman standing in the road without the pointy hood.  Tonight she barks in a much, much different manner.  It's a deep throaty, menacing bark.  It surprises me because I've not previously heard this bark.  When you hang with a dog 24/7 you become aware of her vocalizations.  There's one for barking at birds, one for-someone's in the driveway.  There's the pissed off yelp of being teased to distraction or the bark of annoyance when I pretend to step on her paws or put two fingers together to snap her on the rump. Tonight, it's stay down there or else.  Jorge tells me a dog got eaten by coyotes somewhere south of our area.  We conclude it must 've been a yipper, those tea cup puppies that don't know their miniature size.  Mandy would be slightly outweighed, but she takes no guff.

Jorge has two mutts rescued from the pound or from starving while on the run.  Sam barks all the time. He's not allowed to run outside on Jorge's 95 acres because he's a dumb mutt.  Unlike Mandy who knows where the food bowl is and stays put on our five acres as if an invisible line is drawn at the perimeter, Sam would be off in a lark.  When he realizes he's lost, he'd be unable to smell familiar landmarks because he has no experience in the local terrain.  Besides his parents were low class mutts( my grandparents thought the same of my father).  Intelligence comes from the mother, and like my first ex-wife, whom Dawn calls "the dumbest woman in the world", Sam's mother was mentally challenged.  Jorge claims Sam barks at me because I'm afraid of him.  Sam knows intuitively  I'd brain him with a baseball bat if he tried to bite me again, like he did as I approached the white picket fence to enter Jorge's front yard.  I should wearing a sign that says, "I'll beat you into next week if you bite me again.'  But Sam, can't read.  When I hear Jorge shouting at Sam to ,Be Quiet! inside the house," I know the dog must be deaf, also.  The only way Jorge can get him calmed down is to cage him. Anyway.

Sam tries to bite Mandy.  She's surprised by the attempted nip of  her nose.  She stuck her snout up through the fence for a whiff and got insulted.  Mandy backs off three feet, barks for five seconds ( Don't ever do that again, she says) and turns around and tosses grass torn loose by her back feet.  The dog's version of giving somebody the finger.  Good for you , girl.


okjimm said...

never hand the dog that feeds you bites... or something like that, huh!

Anonymous said...

Poor Sam! He sounds like a dog motivated more by fear than meanness. I always feel so sorry for dogs like that. And yelling at a dog to shut up is just so ineffective. The other day my sis and I came upon a man whose dog wouldn't return upon the guy's calling repeatedly. I got irritated with the man because he let the dog off leash. Turns out, the poor guy just rescued the dog and he just didn't know the dog's issues. He was so grateful when I finally was able to nab the dog. I felt really bad about criticizing the guy - after all, he did a noble thing and rescued the animal. Long story, but it just says a lot about how we really do need to spend the time to get to know our pets, as you seem to know Mandy. Mandy is a wonderful dog and you are a wonderful dog owner.