Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Barking Orders

Cletus went wild today, barking at…who knows what? I couldn’t see a thing, but he was insistent. It was quite awhile before he gave it up. I looked and looked, but the only out of place thing I could see, was a flock of birds off in the elk field, a mile away.

Tonite, both Cletus AND Bruno were barking. It was an insistent, unending, impossible to ignore sort of thing. I stepped out front and heard a dog up at the top of the ranch barking too. I was so disappointed. Here they were, barking just because someone ELSE was.

I hollered to them through the window, and they both stood up and peered in at me from the dark. Then they went back to barking. So, I called their bluff. I brought Bruno in the house and let him out the front door. I know better than to let BOTH of them out, because they will go “patrolling” for hours at a time, arriving home covered with mud and bearing treasures in the form of whatever bones they came across.

Bruno raced to the corner of the closest building and barked furiously, with Cletus backing him up from the yard. As I watched, Bruno would advance a step, then retreat again…I began to realize, there really WAS something out there…something big enough that Bruno wouldn’t approach it too closely. I had mixed feelings.
I was relieved that he would not be foolish about approaching what might be too much for him on his own, and I was nervous about what exactly it was, that was clearly NOT leaving with 200+ lb of dogs threatening it. All I could think of was COUGAR.

In 2007, a cougar attacked one of the cowdogs right in front of our house. This one was hiding in the shadows. Randyman offered to grab a light and go see. I voted him down, as he is still moving slowly from the muscle tear in his leg. I volunteered myself to go, as I knew if I was in trouble, Bruno’s courage would rise, equal to the task of defending me. Not wanting to sacrifice his life for mine, I praised him and took him by the collar. WE approached the area he had been aiming at, and I flicked on the flashlight.
My first reaction was to gasp, as all I could see initially, was a HUGE area of yellow. I gulped and moved the light up…up…and over to the head of a big yellow, loppy horned cow. She paid us no mind at all, just kept on grazing there.
I had to apologize to both Cletus and Bruno for doubting their word. They are used to cows, as they are all around us, and they often guard the cows and calves…but THIS cow, she wasn’t one of them, and she was NOT where any cow was SUPPOSED TO BE. So, they warned her, and snitched her off…and I thanked and praised them for doing such a fine job.

I am one proud mama. Now when they speak, I listen.

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