Going to the Dogs

I woke up after daylight feeling better and have been able to drink some coffee and keep it down. I’m even feeling a little hungry, but afraid to try anything right now. Thank you to those who wrote wishing me wellness.

Mike is gone for a few hours. Fortunately, he finished taking care of the soybeans this week before the heat hit us so hard. Since his tractor is not air conditioned, it would have been dangerous to work for hours on it in this heat. I think you can imagine 112F air temperatures reflected back from the hard soil and the sun baking down on Mike’s head. If it is not bad enough not to have a cab on his tractor, there isn’t even a place to put a cooler. Who designs those things?! You know if I did, there would be a cab, air conditioning, a small refrigerator and a potty…kind of a tractor Winnebago with captain-chair seating for two. Yes, the price would be prohibitive, (like they aren’t already) but I figure if you have to spend so many hours on the thing, you should at least be comfortable!

Nevertheless, this morning he is off on errands after he feeds the cows. He needs to sign some papers for the government, pay for some crop/cattle/whatever insurance, and get fuel for the next few days. Since he is going into town anyway, I asked him to pick up a few things at the grocery too. That’s a chore he really hates, but he knows I won’t be venturing far from home today. “Calling off sick” on the farm means more work for the healthy guy, unfortunately.

With the heat, it also means Fritz and Eddie will miss their morning r-i-d-e and they whimpered when he left them at home. They also look forward to his trips to town, as several places, including the bank and the drive-thru where he buys beer, give them dog biscuits for being such good riders. It must be a cultural thing. I never traveled with a pet in California, but I’m sure I would have noticed them handing out dog biscuits at the bank. I think it tells you how many farmers keep their dogs with them in their pick up trucks as they travel around here. The wife and kids might willingly be left at home, but the farm dog…rarely. I think there is an unalterable hierarchy of affection: farm, dog, woman/children…in that order!

But Caddyshack sees it from another perspective:

The farm dog just is.  Just is an essential part.  Morning routine:
Pants?  Check.
Hat?  Check.
Pickup truck?  Check.
Dog?  Check.

I don’t understand it. What is it that a farm dog actually does? The wife is the farm helpmate. She works in the field and garden, tends the yard, takes care of the house and children, cooks… The children help too and earn their keep with odd jobs alongside one (or both) of the parents. But dogs? Sure, some help with herding or hunting, but from what I can tell, they eat, sleep, and just hang out while the farmer does his thing. They might also protect “their” truck from approaching strangers, but basically they are happy to lie around, get an occasional pat from the farmer or a dog biscuit from the bank. What a life! And for that, they rank higher? Well, maybe not, but it does sometimes appear that way.

I don’t see a lot of purebreed farm dogs in this area. Most are mutts and of the medium to large-sized breeds. You probably won’t see a poodle, chihuahua, or shitzu riding with his head stuck out the window and enjoying the breeze, but the sighting of a collie, a retriever, or a german shepherd mix is common. These are ‘manly’ dogs. I guess that is why when we got Eddie from the pound and I specifically asked for a big dog, I was surprised at the caretaker’s comment, “Really, we don’t get many people asking for big dogs.” What?! I was also surprised that they hesitated to let us have him because we don’t have a fenced-in yard. We live 1/2 mile from the nearest road, have 155 acres butted agains farms of equal or greater acreage and you want a fence?! I could understand their hesitancy if we got him from the big city, but the shelter is in the county seat of a county with less than 10,000 people. That’s a lot of farmland you want fenced!

Mike might have taken me with him today on his errands and left me in the truck while he went in to sign papers and such (he always does), but he didn’t ask because I’m sick. The dogs are home because it is too hot for them. I guess after while, I’ll make pickles while they nap in front of the air conditioner and dream of their next r-i-d-e, tomorrow, to see the cows.

If I’m a good girl and feel better tomorrow, maybe Mike will invite me along too!

About cattlebaroness

I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a BA in History, nearing completion of a Master of Arts in American history. Born and raised first on military bases around the world, then in Orange County, CA, I moved to Kentucky when my children were small. I now live on a small family farm and am learning about farm life, planting and our newest addition to the landscape--cattle. Until a month or two ago, all I knew about 'cows' were that they came in brown, black and white and that some are raised for milk and others for meat. I am a quick study out of necessity.
This entry was posted in Animals, humor, Kentucky, lamentations of a city girl, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Going to the Dogs

  1. JAS says:

    Ack- sorry to hear about your flu! All the drive-throughs here give out dog biscuits too… can’t imagine that happening where i grew up, either!

  2. jennyg82 says:

    Cory calls his whippet the ‘pretty princess’…occasionally he has the good grace to look a tad guilty if I’m in the room. Hope you feel 100% soon!

    • Ha! Glad I’m not the only one. I’m feeling well and the ankle is healing nicely. I’ve been very busy this week trying to finish the final draft of my MA thesis. Will be back soon, I promise!

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