Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “dogs”

Hunt Team

hunt team

I pity whatever is hiding in the hole.  The hunt team is on the prowl.

hunter

It takes concentration.

Hunting Party

And a willingness to go far afield.pointer

And it don’t hurt to bring a huntin’ dog to point out the quarry.

Huntoverview

Team work!

To the Rescue

I have been posting a marathon of Beau stories. This one is about the circumstances of Beau joining our family.

Shootin' the Breeze

ballbully

Sadie lost two friends in 18 days, Max and Rover, her only two friends.  Those of you who follow this blog have read about our losses in Passing of the Ball and Sad Times at Cross Creek Ranch.  Sugar and I have been in mourning.  Sadie has taken it just as hard, probably harder because she spent all her time with them so her world changed drastically.

sadie3

It was sad to watch Sadie stare out the window, waiting for their return.  She also slept much more, as if to escape her pain.  She was needy, following us from room to room, never wanting to be alone.

After Max died, for a few days, she perked up when she heard one or the other of us drive up the lane.  She watched the vehicle as if expecting Max to return.  Of course, she was disappointed every time because Max did not…

View original post 783 more words

Colorado Ranch Photos

Colorado Ranch Photos

Here are some pictures that my wife took with her camera that I gave her for Christmas, so I want to be credited with providing my loyal readers with these Colorado ranch photos.  All were taken on our ranch or a neighboring ranch.  As soon as you click on the link, a slide show will start.  Enjoy!

Rover Update

 

In earlier posts, I described how we came to be adopted by Rover.  Well, it has been working out well.  Today, Miss Sugar said to me, “Rover is very smart.  I think he is the smartest dog I have ever had.”  She has, by the way, owned many dogs.  Many smart dogs. 

Why does Sugar think Rover is so smart?  By the way, I agree.  She said it because he learns quickly and is eager to please, of course, and responds to commands like “Come,” “Sit,” and “Fetch.”  That is good, but not unusual.  What is unusual, is his vocabulary. 

I know it is unrealistic to attribute human characteristics to animals.  There is a name for it.  I think it is called anthropomorphism.  However, I can’t explain this.  A few days ago, I called Rover and he came.  Then I said, “Why don’t you go for a swim?  It is hot.”  So he did.  Immediately.  (Those of you who have read other posts of mine or been to our ranch know that a river runs through it.)  I was about twenty feet from the river bank.  It could well be a coincidence that when Rover came to me he came up with the idea of swimming on his on.  But get a load of this.

He jumped in and swam for only a few seconds, climbed out and returned to the task that I had interrupted, which was to nose about the wood pile, seeking rabbits.  I called him again.  He came again, reluctantly leaving the more interesting wood pile.  I petted him again, praising him for coming.  Then I said, “Rover, go swim.”  And he did.  Immediately.  Without hesitation.  As if he had been ordered to do so.  As soon as he obeyed, he got out of the water and ran back to the wood pile.  Two for two.  I quit while I was ahead, but I think it would have been ten for ten, just like he sits every time. 

Even if someone else had taught him the word “swim,” which is possible but not probable, he sure is obedient. 

I am pretty sure he had not spent much time indoors.  We do not know about his previous life, as he showed up on our porch as a stray.  However, when we let him inside at first, he was tooo rambunctious.  He ran around.  He ripped up some packages in the study when we were not looking.  He found a hammer and brought it into another room.  He jumped up on furniture.  All that was not acceptable behavior.  So Miss Sugar trained him to stay on a rug that she put down in the room where we watch TV.  That is not amazing.  Lots of dogs learn to stay on a rug.  But this one learned it virtually immediately.  All Sugar did was put him on a leash and show him the spot.  She told him that is his rug.  After very few times on the leash, like six times, she could tell him, “Go to your rug,” and he does.  He stays on it, unleashed.  He is better than our Yellow Labs, who tempted him by demonstrating their freedom to leave the room.  Sugar told him to stay on his rug, and Rover did.  He learned about staying on his rug in maybe three minutes.  Phi Beta Kappa material!

I think Sugar is correct.  Rover is pretty smart.

On the Run

Yesterday I posted something called “Don’t Scare Easy.”  It was about the courage of the firefighters at the High Park Fire and people evacuated.  Today I am writing about creatures afraid of the fire.

My wife and I have not been required to evacuate from our home as have so many in Larimer County, Colorado.  We are near some areas that have been evacuated, however.

On Saturday, June 16th, we went into Fort Collins. When we returned home, we saw two large black dogs behind our house.  We do not have black dogs.  We had left our yellow Labs in their pen in the barn.  The black dogs were rummaging in a pile of wood.  My guess is that they were trying to get to some rabbits which live under the woodpile.  The dogs appeared hungry.  They looked up when we drove in and parked, and then resumed their task of hunting rabbits by digging, a method unlikely to bring success.

One of the dogs was a black Lab.  I think it had a collar.  The other dog was much larger and more furry.  I’d guess it was part Newfoundland.

My wife immediately called Larimer County Animal Control.  We suspected that the dogs belonged to someone who had been evacuated from the path of the fire.  She promptly received a return call from an officer who politely thanked us for trying to help the dogs, but candidly stated that no one was available to get them because their department was working to remove animals in the evacuation areas.  We were advised to be careful about approaching dogs on the loose that we did not know.

So I approached the dogs.  I crouched down in a non-threatening position and gently called them.  The lab stopped digging in the woodpile and came a few steps towards me.  The Newfoundland also paused, but then he warily left his task and trotted away, toward our barn.  His action caused the Lab to turn away from me to join his buddy.

In order to avoid a fight, my plan was to get our dogs out of their pen, into our car and up to our house so I could lure the stray dogs into the pen with food.  I would keep them in the pen until someone could come get them, either the owners or an officer from Animal Control.

One of the ways animals that have been separated from their owners in the fire can be reunited is that a photographer friend of ours went to the fairgrounds, where displaced animals have been brought, and took pictures of them.  Then owners searching for their pets can view the “inventory.”

My efforts to proceed with my good plan did not get very far.  The black dogs just kept going, traveling off our property and into a wooded area along the North Poudre Irrigation Canal.  They are on their own, trying to hunt and scavange.  I wish them well.

They are obviously not feral dogs.  They are somebody’s pets.  Their lives have been changed by and challenged by the fire.  I hope they will be reunited with whomever is missing them.  My heart goes out to them all.

Sharpshooter

My trophy wife, Sugar, was outside with the dogs while I watched Chisum.  As it turned out, viewing the John Wayne movie was a good way to prepare for my imminent deadly showdown.

I heard my wife’s alarming scream.  Then she called out to me, “Al, come out here.  Hurry!”  I moseyed up from the couch, ever obedient, ever vigilent.

I still did not know what she was frightened about.  (Girls can be overly dramatic and mysterious).  I empathetically inquired about what was troubling her.  Her response was not responsive to my question.  She uncalmly commanded, “Get a gun.”  Well, that was the main idea.  She was much more eloquent.

As an aside, in order to give some background to the scenario, I want you, gentle readers, to be informed that Sugar grew up in Texas.  Also, she is of Italian extraction.  You may combine your prejudiced stereotypes as you imagine  her emotional communication.

Further, Sugar’s desire that I bring a gun was not unrealistic.  I possess several firearms, including a pair of Colt .45s in a quickdraw holster, various rifles, and a couple shotguns.  They are part of the decor of our mountain cabin and readily available.  The NRA sends emails to me daily concerning unconstitutional threats to gun ownership.  I also am a member of the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS) which sponsors cowboy shooting competitions.  My SASS alias is Big Bronc.  Her’s is Miss Sugar.  Clearly, it was not unreasonable for her to ask me to get a gun.

So I emerged from the front door unarmed.  Sometimes I opt for hand-to-hand combat.  I wanted to assess the enemy’s strength before selecting a weapon.  I try to make it a fair fight.  No sense wasting ammo.

“Who needs killin’?  It don’t make me no nevermind.”   I stated the obvious.  “Womenfolk got nothin’ to fear when Big Bronc is around.  I will fight to the death anyone that threatens you and them yeller dogs.”   This little gal surely knew she could count on me.

“Oh, Big Bronc, there is an evil rattlesnake down there.  Please protect me and our precious pets.  You are so brave and strong and handsome.”  Those were not her exact words, but I knew that was what she desired to tell me.

“Get the shotgun with the snakeshot shells!,” Miss Sugar daintily suggested.  “Shoot it from up here on the porch so you don’t git yerself kilt.  I ain’t in the mood to call no hearst.”  She doesn’t talk like that either, but it would sound more like an authenic western story if she would have.

So I went to the toolshed and got a shovel.  I know she wanted me to use a gun, but this particular shovel is a narrow type of spade known in these here parts as a “sharpshooter.”   It is a weapon with which I have beheaded unfortunate snakes in the past.  Yes, this was fixin’ to be a fight to the death.

Miss Texas noticed what I had selected.  “You dang fool!  That rattler is going to bite you.  They can strike further than that little shovel.”  I wish she didn’t talk like that.

So I walked over to the snake, carrying only the sharpshooter shovel.

It was coiled and shaking its rattles.  It was a mean one, poised to strike.

Women are no help at a time like this.  I didn’t need some girly girl weeping about me.  I can take care of myself.  Still, through it all, I could hear Sugar’s sweet voice.  “Watch out, you idiot.  He is going to strike.”  I supposed that she was addressing the snake, giving him one last chance to retreat.  That is certainly how I took it.

Members of the general public are not usually quick enough or coordinated enough or brave enough to attempt what I was about to do.  That mean old snake probably did not recognize who he was facing.  He probably thought I was a member of the general public.

Instead, he was dealin’ with Big Bronc, the toughest hombre north of the Pecos, or at least the North Poudre Irrigation Canal.

I met his steely glare.  He didn’t show any fear as he hissed and rattled, but I had a feelin’ that, deep inside his cold heart and reptile brain, he knew this showdown would be his last.

My calloused hand was ready for action.

“Say when.”  I confidently offered him that advantage as I smirked.  (I have found that smirking intimidates.)

The tension grew.  Then Old Snake Eye made his move.  It was the moment of truth.   Or consequences.  One of us would soon be dead as a doornail.  He had my vote.

A blood-curdling scream broke the tense silence.  (Sometimes smirking alone is not intimidating enough.  One has to be adaptable when engaged in a fight to the death.)  I should not have called it a scream.  It was more like a war-cry.  A manly war-cry.

Well, I’m here to tell you that with one lightning fast blow, I pinned that coiled snake to the ground.  The blade of the sharpshooter got it right behind its open-mouthed head.  I did not let up until I cut its head clean off. Sugar warned that the venom is still dangerous, even after it was beheaded.  Like I don’t know that.

I scooped the detached head into the shovel and proudly showed her the proof of my victory, waiting for her to praise my skill and courage.  She did not express her admiration in words, but I could see it in her eyes.

“Shucks, M’aam.  It weren’t nothing any old hero wouldn’t do.”

I could tell she longed to reward me with a kiss.  There was things I had to take care of first.  After disposing of my vanquished foe, I put my trusty sharpshooter back in the shed and quietly rode off into the sunset.

Post Navigation