Well, it’s all about the pets these days around the ranch. Just in time for the snow to fall we have a couple more furry friends to help keep us hunkered down and warm.
I tell ya, between keeping the tiny kitten inside, alive and well fed and working to prevent the puppy from destroying my boot collection and all of the rugs in the house, it turns out Big Brown Dog, the easy one, the established member of the family, just wasn’t having the takeover.
Seemed like he needed to create a way to be noticed…
So last week he went out for a run around the ranch, checking things out, making sure there weren’t any giant sticks or random animal bones he missed dragging into the yard. He needed to get away you know. The damn puppy was driving him crazy with his crying and jumping, and nipping at his nose.
He’s too old for this.
So he took a hike to clear his mind. He needed his space. He needed to follow his nose…
Turns out his nose led him straight into some sort of trouble, because Big Brown Dog showed up back home after dark with one of his top canines poking through his lip.
And a scrape on his foot.
And on his face.
“What the hell did you get into you poor, sweet animal?” I asked him as I kneeled down by his bed in the garage.
He just looked at me with those sad brown eyes and said nothing, because no matter how I wish they could, they can’t talk.
I called Husband out and he scratched his head, and the dog’s head, and we wondered together there looking at him what sort of adventure didn’t quite turn out as our dog had planned…
So the next morning I hoisted the stiff, sore, pathetic, sweet 110 pound dog into the back of my car (front feet first, then the back end) and we drove to the vet where they fussed over him, put him under, did a few X-rays, put the lip back in place, stitched up the hole, pumped him full of meds, prescribed enough pills to sedate an elephant, and $430 later they sent us on our way.
But not before he took the world’s longest pee outside the clinic…I mean, it was like 45 minutes…at least three patients came and went before he was done…
And then I loaded him up (front feet first and then the back end) into the car and back to the ranch where he struggled up the steps to his spot by my side of the bed and slept the bad memories away.
Poor Hondo. Always a lover…never a fighter…
8 years ago, a month after Husband and I were married, we took a trip to a farm about 70 miles from the ranch and my new Husband picked out Hondo from a litter of squirrelly, wiggly, chubby, adorable brown pups. He picked the one that seemed the most even tempered. He picked the darkest chocolate one he could find. He picked the biggest. He picked the best.
I paid $200 for that dog. He was Husband’s birthday present. He was going to be his bird dog. His hunting dog. He was the third member of our family and he’s been quite the companion, the steady link, the wagging tail when we got home.
And he’s gonna be just fine. Right now he’s under the heat lamp on his bed next to the new puppy who is likely trying his damnedest to get the big guy to play with him.
I know from experience the softie will warm up to the pup, just have to let him heal up…and let the pup grow up.
And then the two of them will be off getting into their own kind of trouble out here together.
I wrote this week’s column before Hondo went off and got himself buggered up, but he proved my point anyway. That these animals out here are part of the fabric of this place. Growing up out here as a kid, these dogs and horses and goats and cats and lizards we were charged with learning from and taking care of were what made the place magical.
But beyond their magic they served a purpose. They had a job to do.
Hondo’s job these days might be less bird-hunting and more companion, but the new members we’re growing up and introducing will have their place soon…
But for the next few days the big brown dog and I have a date in the morning for three pills stuffed in summer sausage and another in the evening before bed.