Recently Fort Curmudgeon was host to a friend’s dog. Our compound is already fully staffed in the dog department but our dog (a.k.a. “doorbell”, “security unit”) didn’t seem to mind the addition. The guest dog (temporarily referred to as “auxiliary backup dog”) seemed to enjoy our company too.
I love our family dog. She’s slightly smaller than a pony, has a heart of gold, and a brain of rock. She’s the perfect size for a homestead. Huge. That’s her job; “be huge”. She does it well.
She’s also a good watch dog. She seems to take her duties seriously and is fully capable of setting off a Def-Con IV racket if something sets her off. Her bark could scare a dragon and her growl is like something in the pits of hell is itching to go on a spree of mayhem. If I heard sounds like that coming from a house I would never break in. In fact I’d leave the state. Presumably if a burglar rejected all sense of self-preservation and got inside, she’d remove a limb or two for identification purposes but let whatever is left run for the door. She’s not one for holding a grudge. Of course, once you’ve been formally introduced you’re “good people” and you’ve gained a friend for life.
Walking a furry mountain of canine is interesting. She usually stays at heel but occasionally she’ll forget and rip your arm out of it’s socket. Not because she’s straining to escape but because she has a high torque but low RPM brain. She doesn’t always remember the flailing human being dragged behind her. Morning walks are a combination of relaxing stroll and combat training. She always stops pulling the instant she realizes what she’s doing; but sometimes I’ve been dragged a bit before her cerebral cortex processes the insignificant weight dangling on the leash…which happens to be me.
When she’s outside we keep her chained. We use a logging chain hooked to a swivel that’s double chained to a cattle gate / railroad tie that’s planted in the ground. We added the swivel after she broke a lag bolt. (I blame the cats for teasing her.) I’d have bet the bolt could have held back the Oakland Raiders and six wildebeest but the dog proved me wrong. I couldn’t be mad. She just looked at me apologetically when I found the torn bolt. As if to say; “Sorry about tearing the bolt in half but the cat is now safely re-located to the tree where it belongs. It won’t come down until March. Did I do good boss?”
As part of taking care of “axillary backup guest dog” my wife ordered me to take it outside and tie it up so it could do it’s business. How? Our dog’s leash is a horse lead. Wouldn’t using it with a strange dog be rude? Call me old fashioned but you’ve got to maintain decorum. My dog agrees.
My wife produced a small ribbon of something I refuse to call rope; the leash for the guest dog. “This? This is a leash? For what? A mouse?” My wife, who was sick of my Neanderthal questions, booted me and the auxiliary backup dog out the door.
I discovered a new treat; walking a dog smaller than a buffalo is easy! The new dog rocketed for the end of it’s leash. Fully expecting a walloping recoil I instinctively planted my feet, adjusted my stance, leaned back, and got a good grip. The little dog bounced at the end of it’s leash like a butterfly on a fish line. Huh? It quickly returned to me; tail wagging madly. It had expended all six pounds of force it could muster. I was shocked. This is how it is to walk a little dog? Interesting.
Then I realized a terrifying fact. I was smiling and walking a dog the size of and weight of a bag of chips. Perhaps I could be seen! What if someone saw me walking a poodle? This wouldn’t do! I’ve got a reputation as a surly and bad natured ogre and I need to protect it! Walking a dog the size of a farm implement always seemed to fit my disposition. Walking a poodle might make me seem…approachable? Possibly even pleasant?!? The horror!
I hustled over to the dog chain and quickly tied it up. Then, after looking around in case someone had a camera, I sprinted for the house.
Ten minutes later I peeked out. The little dog hadn’t moved an inch. How lazy! There are weeds to sniff, cats to annoy, and chickens that need to be barked at. The poodle was just standing there looking sad.
I looked around carefully for cameras. None in the vicinity. No planes flying over head. Satellites? You can never tell…best to hurry. I sprinted back with the micro-ribbon “leash” in hand.
Turns out the poodle wasn’t strong enough to move the chain. It looked at me with sad eyes. In our homestead universe of interesting smells it hadn’t been able to sniff anything. I slipped off the hefty chain and clicked on the little leash.
Sigh…the indignities one must endure…I started walking the little guy around the premises. Soon it was animated again. It started frolicking about. Me, walking a dog that’s frolicking? A frolicking poodle? It was prancing! A prancing, frolicking, poodle delicately sniffing flowers in the backyard. The horror!
I walked the happy little poodle all around the back yard. Not the front! The road is several hundred yards away but suppose someone had binoculars? Nope, too risky.
Then I brought it back inside and locked the door. I drew the drapes and hid in the garage. I’m still worried. I walked a poodle and I can’t deny it. There could be satellite photos! They’re probably on Facebook right now. (Not that I actually use Facebook…but I assume that’s where all embarrassing photos go.) A poodle; I might as well have been wearing a tutu while driving a Prius to yoga class. How embarrassing!