Shootin' the Breeze

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Who Let The Dogs Out?

The Beau marathon continues. This post from the past describes an event that resulted in a liability claim against our homeowners’ insurance policy. Sad but true. Beau is to blame. We offer him for sale. We don’t want to make a profit — we will sell him for just what we have in him, $50,000.00. Any takers?

Shootin' the Breeze

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Yesterday was our annual John Wayne Birthday Party.  This is the 2013 sequel to the 2012 post, Dangerous Dangers at Cross Creek Ranch,

beaumodelMiss Sugar, as usual, out-did herself.  She made about nine pies, including pecan, sweet potato, and apple pie, more than one of each kind.  Plus, some of the guests contributed to the dessert table.  Sugar made enough side dishes, such as potato salad, Oklahoma caviar (black beans with something good), baked beans with sausage, cole slaw, cornbread, deviled eggs, and corn casserole, to cover a long serving counter.  I think she put out twelve different dishes that she calls “the fixins”  when she invites our guests to enjoy Texas Bar B Que with all the fixins.  She made her special Texas barbeque sauce.  After last year’s party, she chose to not make three bean salad.

kitchenmargbotelloIt was all pretty good, but what folks will…

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Who Let The Dogs Out?

beaumodelMiss Sugar, as usual, out-did herself.  She made about nine pies, including pecan, sweet potato, and apple pie, more than one of each kind.  Plus, some of the guests contributed to the dessert table.  Sugar made enough side dishes, such as potato salad, Oklahoma caviar (black beans with something good), baked beans with sausage, cole slaw, cornbread, deviled eggs, and corn casserole, to cover a long serving counter.  I think she put out twelve different dishes that she calls “the fixins”  when she invites our guests to enjoy Texas Bar B Que with all the fixins.  She made her special Texas barbeque sauce.  After last year’s party, she chose to not make three bean salad.

kitchenmargbotelloIt was all pretty good, but what folks will likely remember is that I served the pulled pork by expertly dumping it onto their sesame buns.  Although I am generally modest about my accomplishments, for historical accuracy, allow me to point out that I am the one who mowed the lawn and I am the one who put the chairs and tables out on the lawn.  (I would also claim credit for putting up the open tent canopy thing for shade, but, to be fully truthful, I must report that Sugar showed me how to do it and then when it blew over, helped me raise it again.  Then Mitch fixed it right.  He also set up the stakes for horseshoes and provided the horseshoes.)

Oh, and another thing, before the festivities commenced, I put the dogs in a stall in the barn because, for reasons that should be obvious and will become more obvious, they were not invited to the party, especially the aspect of the party involving food.

We had over 50 attendees during the course of the afternoon.  A good time was had by all, it seemed, young (a nine day old baby pictured with Sugar and his father) and older.  Baby Colton is the only person whose age will be specified.

Coltonyoung and oldbentonamigorodneylolly and gingerLuckyDL Roberts

We even had live music provided by four talented musicians.

Alexis and StevePatrick and Jennifer

My father-in-law, Bob the Barkeep, served the adult beverages in addition to Miss Sugar’s sweet tea and her friend Jeanie’s lemonade.


The weather was perfect.  That and the beautiful scenery was provided by God.

I said above that a good time was had by all.  That was true until Beau, our exuberant Yellow Lab, joined the party.

Some folks visited Beau and Sadie while they were imprisoned in the barn.  Miss Sugar was begged to let them out.  After all, most everyone was finished eating and were just listening to the musicians.  Yellow Labs are inherently “party animals.”  Miss Sugar succumbed to the pleas.  Free Beau and Sadie!  Free Beau and Sadie!  So she did.

Later, the story was told to me that as soon as Beau emerged from the barn, the cowboy hat of our friend, Mitch, blew off his head.  (I know I said we had perfect weather.  Really, we pretty much did.)


So I was sitting under the canopy with other guests, enjoying the performance on the back deck serving as an elevated stage, when Beau came running up to me with a hat in his mouth.  Apparently, Mitch’s hat looks enough like mine that Beau confused it for mine and helpfully brought it to me.

Al HatAs you can see, our hats are similar.

Perhaps as you read this you are thinking that Beau is a wonderful animal.  Of course, if you read other posts such as Doggone Bad Dog Gone,, or The Usual Suspect,, or Jail Bird Dog,, you can surmise where this is going.

Okay, you do not have to surmise where this is going.  I will tell you what happened next.  Next, one of our neighbors who was at the party came over to where I was sitting, enjoying the performance, as I said, and told me to “Come quick.”  So I did.

Outside of the courtyard area, I saw a woman laying on the ground.  Just moments before, this very same nice lady had thanked me for inviting her and her husband, and then left to go to their car.  We offer plenty of free parking, but we do not provide a parking valet.  She probably had a good time at the party until Beau came running after Mitch’s hat and, in the process, knocked her down.  She was easy to knock down because she already had one leg in a “walking cast.”  So really she just had the one good leg, the one that Beau clipped, sending her into the gravel on the lane.  Poor lady!  Bad dog!

We hope she will recover soon.  We haven’t heard how she is doing since her husband took her home.

Mitch’s hat is somewhat the worse for wear, thanks to Beau.  We are praying that the lady’s leg comes out of her contact with Beau better than the hat did.

Water Dogs

Max, about whom you read in Deadly Dangers at Cross Creek Ranch, is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  He has been an enthusiastic swimmer his entire life … until we enrolled him in a class. 

Max enters fast flowing rivers without hesitation, especially to fetch a ball or stick.  But when asked to jump into a pool to fetch a toy, well, that’s where he draws the line. 

Advanced Animal Care in Fort Collins has the nicest doggy daycare that I have ever seen.  Miss Sugar discovered their new building and brought home a brochure with photos of the aquatic venue.  Owners can enroll their dogs in classes after first passing an orientation.

So we signed up both of our dogs.  Sadie is also a Yellow Lab; however, she has not shown a natural affinity for the sport of swimming.  Rather, one of her tricks is to let Max jump into the water, get the stick, and swim back to shore, where Sadie awaits to take the stick and claim credit for retrieving it, all without getting wet.

The swimming instructor at the Advanced Animal Care pool requires the dogs to wear life jackets.  I informed her that for Max it would not be necessary.  She insisted.

So I put the life jacket on Max.  I put one on Sadie as well, of course, because she can’t swim.

I had to get into the pool too.  The instructor had hip waders for me to wear.  I got in.  To show off, I threw a toy and commanded Max to fetch.  He didn’t.  That was a surprise because Max always fetches.  He fetches even without a command.  He fetches as a creature with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

So Miss Goody Goody Sadie jumps in.  Max never did.

The life jackets have handles on the back of the dog so they can be held up if they panic.  Sadie used her front legs but not her back legs.  I had fun playing with her.

We forced Max into the pool.  He swam to the steps and got out on his own. 

I shouldn’t have bragged about him.

Service Puppy

People with health problems, both physical and emotional, benefit from the assistance of service animals.  Think of seeing eye dogs, seizure dogs, dogs trained to assist a person in a wheelchair, and companion dogs for PTSD sufferers.

Now, by way of contrast, let’s talk about Gus, our Yellow Lab puppy.  When I became temporarily “disabled” by a fractured femur and new hip, I was provided with a walker.  As I took each step, Gus liked to get between my feet and move forward with me.  Now that I have progressed to merely using a cane, he bites the bottom of the cane every time it moves forward.  He seems to appreciate the entertainment.  He seems unaware of safety concerns, but he is young and has little OSHA training.

He also jumps on me, sometimes landing on my incision.  Ugh!  However, it is nice when he falls asleep between my legs.

gus as therapist

He’s no Rin Tin Tin or Lassie, but Gus is excellent at providing “emotional support.”

I must bring this post to a conclusion so I can rescue my wooden cane from the jaws of a puppy who is chewing on it.  Guess who.

gus with cane

At least he gives good foot massages.  Moist ones.

foot massage

Sin of Materialism

Everybody likes my lovely wife, Sugar.  Or should.  I myself am quite fond of her.  She is kind, generous, smart, talented, and, like the beauty queen she was, easy to look at.  So far so good.

We have some guests at our bed & breakfast.  Sugar helps in her own way.  She makes wonderful breakfasts.  Now let’s talk about me for a minute.  I am the person who makes the coffee and, get this, pours it.

Miss Sugar tries to assist me in the many important tasks required of “the coffee guy.”  Today she handed me a crystal thing from which to pour cream.  When she entrusted me with it, she sternly warned me, “Don’t break this.  I have had it for 30 years.”

I know what you are thinking.  You are expecting me to say that I broke it.  I most certainly did not break it.

All I did was use it to feed the dogs.  It serves well, with the pouring part, to measure and pour dog food.  (That’s right.  I do more than serve coffee.  I also feed the dogs.}

So, Miss Sugar noticed the multiple uses to which I employed her precious crystal pourer thing and, nice as she might seem to the rest of the world, she put this object ahead of my personal emotional feelings.  She criticized my judgement.  She accused me of endangering that object.

How materialistic.

I thought that she loved our dogs.  And me.

I will pray for her immortal soul.

I guess that goes to show you — nobody’s perfect.

Equine Companionship

Walked out in the pasture

To clear my mind

To enjoy God’s outdoors

Walking alone through the grass

When I heard the hoof beats.

Two geldings ran up to me

Inquiring about my presence

And whether I needed friends.

I did need their acceptance

And their comfort.

They each sniffed my hands

And my hair, letting me pet them

Even hugging their necks.

It feels good to know they care.

One can have a relationship

With horses as well as dogs.

Beau Gets a Friend


Duke is not a puppy.  He is a six year old German Shorthair Pointer.  Miss Sugar, my kind-hearted wife, saw on Craigslist that Duke needed a new home.  (I do not understand why she was looking at pet ads on Craigslist.)  As an historical note, we previously were owned by another German Shorthair Pointer, Rover, who was a wonderful dog.  Rover and Max, pictured above, got along well.  Sadly, both have passed on.

German Shorthair Pointers like to run.  They probably need to run.  The family that posted the ad had decided that their living situation was not meeting Duke’s needs for lots of room to run.  We have lots of room to run so Sugar said we would take him.  That happened yesterday.

Duke adjusted well to our family and home immediately.  We introduced him to Beau and Sadie, Yellow Labs, and the horses, and even a cat.

We took all the dogs for a long walk in the pasture, with Duke on a leash, to show him the place.  We took a chance letting him off the leash, hoping he would stay by the other dogs, and he did stay by them, sort of.  He runs circles around the rest of us.  Literally.  He runs in big circles.  But he came back.  That was yesterday.

Today, we took the crowd out for another “walk.”  Even the cat came.  Beau spotted some Pronghorns (antelope) and Duke was glad.  They chased the fastest land animals in North America.  Beau gave up after awhile.  Duke did not.  The Pronghorns and Duke all disappeared from sight.  Sugar and I worried that we had made a mistake letting Duke off the leash.

To our relief, he eventually returned.  Sugar met him with joy.  The prodigal son returned.

In the house, Duke is a gentleman.  He has accepted us.  And we have accepted him.

Beau seems glad to have another buddy.  They are both “sporting dogs.”  So they have that in common.  They are supposed to be bird dogs, of course.  That is what the antelopes would like them to be.  The rabbits in the vicinity also feel strongly in favor of these dogs sticking with retrieving birds.

Beau Visits E.R.

Beau hat

The meeting was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. at a location in another city about forty miles from our home.  I wanted to leave in plenty of time, so I let the dogs out around noon so they would have a restroom break before being left in the house for a few hours.

As it turned out, the restroom break was not what I expected for the usually exuberant Beau laid down on the porch and would not go down the steps.  When I urged him down the steps, he laid at the bottom and whined.  I got him to go another ten feet into the yard and he laid down again and whined again.  I had to decide what to do.

I decided to put Sadie, who seemed fine, back in the house and Beau into my car.  I drove away with him and wondered if I could make the meeting on time if I took him first to the veterinarian on the way.  I decided that he is more important than this important meeting with the C.E.O. of a new hospital, but maybe I could still make the meeting.  I called the vet clinic, arranged to drop Beau off on my way, and did so.  Of course, I could not merely drop him off.  We had some paperwork to take care of.  They weighed Beau.  He weighs 90 lbs.  Then he laid on the floor in passive resistance mode.  We coaxed him into an exam room. Still it went pretty fast and I got away in time to make the 1:30 meeting with the C.E.O.

I called my wife and told her Beau was at the vet’s.  Sugar called to see how he was doing.  She authorized x-rays in order to determine the reason for his gastric distress.  We both went to get him at 5:00 p.m.  Thankfully, he seemed to be feeling better.  The x-rays did not reveal any tumors or even pantyhose or 3 lbs of three bean salad, which have been discovered in other Yellow Labs we know, but I digress.  See

Without  going into a complicated medical explanation, I will simply report that Beau seems better after the treatment by which he was treated.

The veterinarian included in the diagnosis that Beau is a funny character.  (We knew that already).  We were told that he would not walk on what he had determined to be “the carpet of death.”  I do not fully understand, but apparently Beau refused to walk on a certain carpet and they could not make him do so, being 90 lbs of dead weight when he passively resists, like protesters of yesteryear.  See also,

Sadie was glad to see us all come home.  All is well that ends well.

Making Rounds

Some professionals with important responsibilities “make rounds.”  Physicians make hospital rounds.  Security guards make rounds.  Military personnel go on patrol.  Beau and his assistant, Camo the cat, make their daily rounds by patrolling around our ranch.  It kind of ticks me off.  I will explain.

Beau is a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  God designed him to, well, retrieve.  God invented other breeds to patrol.  For example, Great Pyrenees dogs patrol the perimeter.  We used to have a half Pyrenees/ half Australian Shepherd who could both herd and patrol.  Beau has refused to accept his designated role in life.  So has Camo.

Each morning at first light, Beau and Sadie wake us up by shaking their collars.  They do not bark.  They do not scratch at the door.  They shake their collars and have trained me  to respond by letting them out.

Sugar, my sleepy wife, has trained me to get out of bed and attend to the needs of the dogs.  I let them out the front door and, as they go around the house to the back door,  I prepare their breakfast.  I feed them on the deck.  So far so good.

However, after breakfast, Beau and Sadie leave the deck to do what nature calls them to do.  I stand in the kitchen watching through the windows.  I watch Sadie come back and let her in.  I watch Beau, joined by Camo, go on patrol.

That would be cute if we had a regular yard.  Their patrol  takes a long time and involves crossing a bridge, disappearing in the woods, checking out the barn, and sometimes going out on the road before coming back up the lane to the house.

The tour takes about 20 minutes, during which time I look out windows on each side of the house, sometimes losing sight of the pair.  All the while, Sugar is in bed.  All the while, I am eager to return to bed.  All the while, Beau and Camo take their sweet time.

I suppose I could do a few hundred push-ups while waiting, but then they would be out of my line of sight.  Being the sentinel is as important as being on patrol.

A Thousand Dawns

At first light each day

Before I open my eyes

I hear dogs shaking their collars

So the metal tags on them jingle

Which is my order to get up

To let them out

To do their business

And come back to the porch

To be fed

So I comply because

I don’t want to awaken my wife

Which means that I cannot

Return to bed, instead

I stay downstairs with the dogs

While I drink my coffee

Proving to my pets

That I have been trained

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