Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “yellow lab”

Beyond Reproach

Many of us have enjoyed the cute videos shared on the internet of dogs confronted when they have done something naughty.  Usually the owner recording it will say something like, “Fluffy, what did you do?”  And Fluffy will look so remorseful that it is funny.  Fluffy will hang his head under the burdern of guilt.  Fluffy will display a conscience.

Our puppy Gus is not burdened by a guilty conscience.  He does not hang his head in shame.  He does not put his tail between his legs.

He has mastered a sincere attitude of pride in all he accomplishes.  He wags his tail.  He looks up and smiles, as if to say, “I am glad you noticed.”

/For example, today, my lovely wife, Miss Sugar, bought a new grill and a cover for the grill.  We grilled some steaks within an hour of bringing it home.  When it cooled, Sugar put on the grill cover.  I suppose she intended to protect the grill from the elements.

Gus discovered the tray that catches drippings of grease.  It was not an easy task.  He had to get under the cover, which was awkward, so he wisely decided to remove the cover altogether.

So when I said, like the owners of the cute remorseful dogs, whose videos I have viewed,  “Gus, what did you do??”  his response with body language said what, if it was in words, would be: “Yeah, ain’t it great?  I know what you were thinking.  You were thinking that next time you want to use the grill, you have to take that cover off before you can even use it.  So, I knew you would be happy to see that I removed it in anticipation of your needs.  And don’t think it was easy.  It had those Velcro straps.  I had to use my mouth to bite through that Teflon material.  It took a long time, but now it is mostly off.  I just need you to help me get the tattered remains off too.  It looks stupid to have the grill partially covered. You are welcome.”

I hope Sugar has learned a lesson in utilitarianism.  She often fails to express appreciation for what Gus does for us.  She is very forgiving, but what is there to forgive?

Gus wishes that she would come to recognize that he is, indeed, beyond reproach.


Thirty Pounds of Puppy

Gus at 15 weeks

At 15 weeks of age, last week Gus  went to his primary care physician for his veterinary care, which included shots and a checkup.  The checkup involved weighing him on a scale.   The scale read 30 pounds.

That weight for a Labrador Retriever of that age is not unusual.  Some are smaller, some are bigger.  What was remarkable to me is the rate of growth.  Three weeks ago, when Gus had a vet appointment for his 12 week checkup, he weighed less than twenty pounds.

Now for me to gain ten pounds in three weeks is easy.  But for a puppy to increase his body weight by half again what he weighed would be like me gaining 100 pounds in three weeks.

With the holidays here, I will give it a try.


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


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.


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

Doggone Bad Dog Gone

The Beau reblog marathon continues. This one describes another aspect of his sinful behavior. Sinful! Unrepentant!

Shootin' the Breeze


Here we go again.  I hope my loyal followers do not mind another story about Beau, our Yellow Lab, and his misdeeds.  Actually, I mind writing about more of his misdeeds because that means I experienced them, which I did, again.

On Sunday evening, Miss Sugar and I made plans to meet another couple for dinner at the local restaurant at 5:30 p.m.  Note that I wrote the local restaurant.  Where we live, twenty miles from town, the restaurant that is closest is at a mountain resort called Western Ridge with cabins to rent, a horse stable, pool, and (this is important) a LAKE.

We drove the pickup and brought the dogs, who were to wait in the pickup per our plan.  When I say the dogs were in the pickup, I mean in the cab, not the bed of the truck from which they could jump out.

Miss Sugar…

View original post 683 more words

Pasture Protectors

While I was in Cheyenne having breakfast with my cousin, Tom, Miss Sugar went out to catch a horse in our pasture. We have a good system — if you catch one horse, the others follow. Instead of me helping her, she had plenty of other companions — two yellow labs and a cat. Simba and Beau

Yes, one of our cats, Camo, likes to go on hikes with us. He also helps me get the horses. Sometimes they are a mile away. One of the horses, Woody, is interested in cats. He puts his head down by them and follows them. I worry that Woody might trample one, but so far that has not happened.
woody and cat

Beau, the male Lab, and Sadie, are more likely companions. It turns out that it was good they went along. Beau anyway.

Sugar told me when I got home that as she went through the gate between the small pasture into the big pasture, something stealthily came out of the tall grass. It was a coyote. It swiftly charged to within four feet of Sugar, which was very alarming, of course. Camo was walking close to Sugar’s legs and was likely the target of the coyote, who wanted to snatch the cat and run off with it. That was a frightening moment for Sugar and Camo, but there was no need to worry because the heroes were there to save the day.

Who are the heroes? Beau and Woody!

Sugar described that Beau quickly sized up the situation and ran to the rescue. The coyote had to decide whether to continue toward the cat and Sugar, or head for the hills. It chose to head for the hills, or, actually, for the trees by the river.

It did not get far into its retreat when Beau caught up and bit it on its hindquarters. It yelped and kept going. Sugar called Beau to come to her and, thankfully, he did.

Then Woody took over. Woody is a buckskin Quarter Horse from cutting horse breeding, which means he has the instinct to “hook on” to cattle as they move. Good cowhorses are “controlling,” making cows go where the horse’s rider intends. Woody, however, does not limit himself to cattle. Nor does he require a rider. Remember how he follows the cat? In another post I wrote about him chasing pronghorns (antelope), the fastest land animals in North America, and keeping up.

Woody chased that coyote right out of the pasture. The critter escaped being trampled when he ran under a barb wire fence.

Beau and Woody, together, saved Camo and Miss Sugar from that mangy coyote, and I am right pleased that they did. 3amigos

Beau and Mitch — Psychological Warfare

Mitch does work around our ranch when we need help from someone with superior skills to my own, which is frequent.

Mitch is thus familiar with Beau, our male Yellow Labrador RETRIEVER.  I emphasize the word retriever because Beau is a compulsive retriever.  The word “retrieve” sounds more noble than an equally descriptive word, which is “steal.”  The distinction lies in whether or not the object Beau gets is gotten at the request of a person or over the objection of a person.

Mitch was telling me today that Beau took his hat, hammer, and some other tool.  Mitch is catching on, however.  Mitch said that he has learned to act like he does not care because Beau is eager for a reaction.  Mitch explained that if he feigns unawareness that his hat or tool is missing, Beau brings it back.  Apparently the fun for Beau comes from a reaction by Mitch that he values the object in Beau’s mouth.  This is called in scientific circles “reverse psychology.”

The UPS and the FedEx delivery drivers could learn from Mitch.  As described in previous blog posts, which you could look up in the archives, Beau has retrieved packages and one lunch from those trucks.  Those guys made the mistake of caring.

Sheik of the Sheets


Beau likes to sit under the clothesline, viewing his vast domain.  Sugar thoughtfully decorated the clothesline in a manner suitable for Beau’s station in life.  His Royal Highness selected green satin sheets on which to lounge.  He arranged his headpiece himself.

Maybe he thinks the birds can’t see him.  Notice that he is parked beneath bird feeders.  After all, he is a bird dog.

Camouflage is okay for the general public, but classy hunters prefer silky satin sheets — in green, of course.


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.

Lassie, the Well, and Criminal Minds

Beau hero

Baby boomers old enough to remember the TV show “Lassie” are familiar with Lassie’s ability to communicate with humans.  She would run for help, bark, and then the human would follow her back to whomever needed saving.  She was a beautiful Collie.

“What is it, girl?  Timmy’s in the well?  Show me!”

Roy Rogers’ dog, Bullet, and Rin Tin Tin, who was the hero of Fort Apache, both German Shepherds, exhibited the same talent.

Our new dog, Beau, a Yellow Lab we just adopted from an animal shelter, performed in a similar, yet opposite, manner.

Timmy was not in the well.  Beau was.  Kinda.  I will explain.  Labs like to play in water.

Here on Cross Creek Ranch, we have a PVC water pipe that formerly was connected to a mobile home on the property.  The mobile home, being mobile, was removed many years ago.  However the electric, septic and water hookups remain, in case we build another cabin on the site.  That PVC pipe sticks up out of the ground.  The water pipe is capped on the end with a plastic plug.

We learned by a very recent experience that if the plastic plug is removed, the area floods.  We also learned that when water is pouring out of that pipe like a fireman’s hose, we lose water pressure in the main house, the bunkhouse, and the barn.

We lost water pressure yesterday morning.  Lassie, I mean Beau, came up on the back deck, soaking wet, made eye contact with Miss Sugar, and left.

“What is it, Beau?  Is Timmy in the well?  Show me!”

So Miss Sugar followed Beau to the well, sort of.  She followed him to where the PVC pipe was spurting out water, to Beau’s delight.

Beau and pipe

Our hero!  He was alerting us to our water problem.  Isn’t he smart!

Is he smart enough to remove the plastic plug?  Why has it never come out before?  Why is his rawhide chew toy, left as a clue, laying next to the pipe?  Who would leave a dog dish at the scene of the crime?  If someone who enjoys tug of war  and chewing thought it was fun to bite the plastic plug, might the plug come loose?  I’m not naming names of suspects quite yet, I’m just investigating theories.

Beau knows, but he ain’t talking.

Beau fixing pipe

At least he helped me fix the problem that he “found.”

Beau advising


If Beau is so smart, why did he bring a hammer to a plumbing project?

Bone of suspicion

Pictured above is the usual suspect, standing in the water.  Note the rawhide chew toy immediately below his left front foot.  No one else’s chew toys were in the vicinity.  Another photo of the crime scene above shows a dog bowl and the chew toy.  How did they get there?  Either someone is attempting to frame Beau, or he must remain being considered a “person of interest.”

I invite readers to serve as jurors.  If you believe in your heart, after reading the description of events and clues, that Beau is innocent, please give your opinion in a comment on this post.


              It was high noon.  Miss Sugar, my trophy wife, was fussing in the kitchen when she hollered, “Big Bronc, they’re coming!  Lots of ‘em.  You better be ready.  I’m gittin plumb nervous.”

           Soon they commenced to coming up our lane to the ranch house.  Dozens of folks arrived in waves.  We was surrounded.  

            Me and Texas Bob took our stations, him by the cantina, me peeking out from inside the house.  We was ready, providin’ there warn’t too many of ‘em.  I lost count at 65.  That seemed about right for me and the little woman and Texas Bob.

            Also, Texas Bob had brung a woman with him, as was his way.  She was a spunky redhead, a fancy dresser, name of Ginger.  I’d seen her before.  Once down in Fort Worth Stockyards, at the Cattlemen’s Club, Bob and Ginger was there with me and Sugar and we had a good old time.  Now we four was going to have a different kind of party.

            The womenfolk tried to help, but they was just gals.  Bob and me would have to “do the heavy liftin” as far as taking care of the situation.  The way I looked at it was, we’d done it before so there was no need to think we couldn’t handle this situation just like we done other times.  As you can tell, I don’t scare easy.

             So what are you’all thinking we was facin’?  The people surrounding us had been invited to our annual John Wayne party, this one to celebrate the 105th anniversary of his birth.

              We had a band.  Karen aka Sugar had been preparing food for weeks, baking and freezing a score of pies and all.  She done what she could, but of course I was  the one who set up the folding tables and chairs.  I unloaded the keg.  I dished out the barbequed pork.  Karen only made a dozen or so sidedishes and her special Texas  barbeque sauce.  I appreciated that minor assistance.  Like I said, she done what she could. 

             Texas Bob manned the cantina bar, like the experienced barkeep he is.  He served beer, margaritas, sangria, sweet tea, and lemonade.  He was very popular.  But the meat was my department.   A feller ought not to delegate the biggest job.  That buck cain’t be passed if Big Bronc wants to keep his title of King of the Wild Frontier, assumed by him after the untimely passing of Davey Crockett.

            Anyways, I expect none would argue when I tell ya’all that a good time was had by all.  No brag.  Just fact.

            After the crowd thinned out, Bob and me loaded the chairs and tables into my Ford F250 Supercab shortbox pickup truck.  We picked up the garbage bags too while the little ladies messed around in the kitchen on account of they ain’t no dang good at loading pickups. 

            Sugar and Ginger got along like peas and carrots.  Some say Ginger made her way out West by way of Jugtown Mountain, New Jersey.  If that ain’t true, it should be.  It is well known that Texas Bob is Miss Sugar’s Daddy.  The DNA results proved that.  As for that Ginger woman, the rumors are that she might be Sugar’s biological mother.   Regardless of whether the rumors are true, Sugar treated Ginger just like kin.

            You might be wondering why this tale is called Deadly Dangers at Cross Creek Ranch.  I’m fixin to tell you why or I’ll be a blue-nosed gopher. 

             Recall what I said awhile back about Miss Sugar making a bunch of side dishes.  Well, one of them was something called Three Bean Salad.  (This writing technique is called foreshadowing.)

            I reckon I might not have done a proper job of securing those garbage bags.  A couple days later, Max, our ten year old yellow lab, seemed bloated and was having trouble breathing.  We speculated that he might have been bitten by a rattlesnake.  (See also Sharpshooter blog.)  We took him to a veterinary emergency room where x rays showed that it was not a bite by a snake, but rather, lots of bites by Max as he consumed “leftovers.” 

           He had surgery.  The doctor told us that she recovered from his stomach a couple pounds of deadly Three Bean Salad. 

            As a result, I’m betting that our next party menu will not include Three Bean Salad.


Post Navigation