A river runs through it — it being a corner of our place. Our Labrador Retrievers enjoy that feature of ranch life. But this is a story about a cat.
Beau, our male Yellow Lab, has taken upon himself many responsibilities. Some of them I share with him. For example, at the crack of dawn’s first light, he barks. Since we let the dogs sleep in the house to prevent fraternizing with coyotes, his bark requires me to get up and let him and Sadie go outside. Sometimes I return to bed, but if I slumber too long, Beau barks again from outside. This is my signal to feed him and Sadie on the back deck. I also put out food for the cats, in the elevated feeding station described in another blog. Beau is very vocal and very bossy. He has a routine. He likes all of us to follow his desired routine.
This particular morning, I did not return to bed. I gallantly allowed Sleeping Beauty aka Miss Sugar, my hot trophy wife, to sleep longer, and to sleep, I had hoped, undisturbed. So I fed the dogs without prompting by Beau. Nevertheless, as I was making coffee, I heard him bark again. He sounded troubled. It reminded me of Lassie, or Rin Tin Tin, or Bullet. What is it, Lassie? Is Timmy in the well? Yo! Rinty! Bullet, show me where Roy is! Beau ran to the river. He barked at something on the other side, wanting me to look. So I looked out and saw why he was barking. One of the cats was on the other side of the river. That bothered Beau. Maybe he wanted it to come for breakfast, per the routine. But now the cat was stuck on the wrong side of the deep waters. This was a job for SuperDog!
Beau believes he is responsible for the safety of the cats. I was fascinated to watch him swim across the river and come up the bank to where the cat was crying. The cat was directly across from the house, but the direct route meant swimming across the water. Apparently, the cat forgot where it had crossed the river. To get back to the house without getting wet, it needed to go to one of the two bridges, neither of which are by the house.
Beau sniffed it and then trotted toward one of the two bridges. He wanted the cat to follow him. He did not swim back across because everyone knows, including Beau, that cats do not enjoy swimming, hence the problem this particular cat was facing.
I have a lower opinion of the cat’s intellect than does Beau. I went to get my rubber irrigation boots on so that I could walk to and over the bridge, which is past the barn. I did not want to walk barefoot in order to rescue the dumb cat.
Instead of needing to rescue the cat, by the time I got to the bridge, the cat was already on the house side of the water. He had, as Beau desired, followed Beau across the bridge. Now who is the dummy? I guess it is me! The animals had solved the problem with no help from me. It seems that Beau at least is capable of critical thinking and problem-solving.
Below you can see the bridge they crossed. This is me riding Scamp another day. Some horses don’t like to cross bridges. I think the hollow sound of the clopping of their hooves and maybe looking over the side spooks some, but not Scamp. Beau is with us in this photo too.
Above you see the other bridge, the one the county road crosses over. We don’t like our pets out on the road, so Beau made a prudent choice.
This is one of the waterfalls about three miles downstream. The cat probably would not have enjoyed going over the waterfall. Thanks to Beau, the cat did not have to find out.