Sunday, November 25, 2018
The Dogs of Dancing Rabbit
It’s Thanksgiving morning. Riley, my sister’s dog, just went nuts barking at the front door of my parents house at something. “What is it Riley?” Could be something. Might not be anything. Riley is not the only dog that barks at imagined things, but Riley is a “special dog.” It could be her medication kicking in or running out.
I’m not sure who else will be bringing dogs today, but we are a dog family. My parents and I are the only ones that don’t have a dog come to think of it. Wonder what that says about us? I generally like dog people, but I’m not a dog person. Do I like myself? Would I like myself better if I had a dog?
Dog’s are part of everyday life at Dancing Rabbit.
I missed two DR dogs on my initial post so here they are:
Penny of Thistledown routinely barks to say “Hello” when one visits Thistledown even if she already knows you. Penny is blonde with wiry hair, and me thinks she has some Wheaten Terrier in her. Her head is almost thigh high on me. Another villager when asked about Penny assured me, “Penny likes butt pets, and she REALLY loves walks.” Apparently, Penny has also been known to roughhouse with other dogs.
Regarding the other dog I missed, Isaac, my sources tell me, “He is a people person.” He is seen around the village on the heels of his owner and favorite person likely keeping close tabs on her by his nose more than his eyes as he is blind in one eye. His current caretaker says Isaac loves to snuggle and lick her face. He also likes to have company when he eats instead of eating alone. And Isaac eats well. I almost had his food for breakfast this morning as it was on the counter at my kitchen co-op. He eats a mix of oatmeal, rice, amaranth, and veggies. I’ll probably just go ahead and have some next time as I love all those things. Isaac will still have his bones to eat. He loves bones no matter what. Isaac is a black Lab.
Angus is a big ol’ boy that joins us at the Mercantile for breakfast most mornings. His owner found him in a cattle lot when he was only weeks old. She thinks Angus is a Labrador/Shepherd mix. Angus is black on black on black. I haven’t checked, but I bet his tongue is even black. The other day I wondered, “What is hitting my leg?” Angus’ head was poking out on the other side of the table looking into the fire about 6 feet away so I dismissed the possibility that it was him whacking me under the table. When I kept feeling something hitting the side of my leg, I finally looked and unbelievably it was Angus’ tail. He is very long. I think he might be a Lab/Shepherd/Dachsund mix; he’s so long and big.
At coffee in the morning, Angus will go from person to person until someone scratches his ears. He doesn’t beg. He just moves on until someone obliges him with an ear rub. Angus then usually pulls a bait and switch though, which is so subtle I forgot about it until now. As I’m rubbing his ears, he eases forward, a scitter step at a time until his ears are out of reach and I’m scratching along his back. The end result is always me rubbing his back end. How did that happen? Someone else had to point this out to me, and now I’ve watched Angus run this con on other people too. He lures us in with head scratches and next thing you know I’m massaging his ass. Smart dog that Angus. He’s not the only smart dog in the village though.
Banjo is also smart. Banjo has been dubbed The Sausage Fox, because Banjo looks like a combination of a sausage and a fox. Not a sausage pattie but a sausage link. What dog breeds look like sausage patties? That has me thinking. Anyway, we have video footage of Banjo trying to chew through a piece of 2x6 wood to get to what was most likely a rabbit. Banjo is smart, because Banjo gets help from a beagle, Sophie, to hunt rabbits and everybody including other dogs know beagles are good at hunting rabbits.
Sophie has the most adorable face and the softest ears ever. Her head seems slightly too small for her body, but I’ve heard that’s a desirable quality in show beagles. She’s tan and white with some darker brown and maybe black; classic beagle look. Sophie is often heard before she is seen especially when she’s chasing rabbits. One of Sophie’s favorite places in the village this summer was lolling in the grass in the garden at the entrance to the village - doggy heaven for sure. She relaxed on the grass with that “I can’t hardly even open an eye to look at you right now” kind of relaxation. Good for you Sophie.
Virgil has the best name in my opinion. Virgil likes to walk with Kurt in the morning. If Virgil was an athlete he would be a rugby player. He’s medium-large and very solidly built. Virgil reminds me of a mix between a Jack Russell Terrier and a Mastiff He likes chasing rabbits too, and he is afraid of the fireplace. Fires can be scary Virgil, but don’t worry, we won’t let it get you. Virgil has a sweet face and especially noticeable puppy-dog eyes. He’s white and tan. Virgil has a signature move when he wants to be scratched that is a little different than the move Angus has. Virgil will ease up next to my leg and just start leaning over; it feels like he’s even pushing against my leg. If I was standing up, I swear it might knock me over. But who can resist those puppy-dog eyes? Not me.
All the dogs dogs I’ve mentioned so far are pets.
There are other dogs at DR that are working dogs and not pets. They also have names; Xena, Fang, and the other one I always forget. Is it Lowell? Probably not. Lowell would not be a very apt name for a guard dog. As working dogs, or guard dogs, they guard the livestock. By guard I mean bark all night to keep predators aware that they are not welcome. It seems to be working, because I have not heard of any raids on chickens or ducks or goats in many months. I’ve heard of near total livestock obliteration by predators in the past. By livestock, I mean chickens and geese and goats in case you missed that. Xena is a Great Pyrenees with mounds of white hair. Apparently her hips hurt. Mine too Xena, mine too. The other two livestock dogs are Pyrenees/Karakachan mixes that are just over a year old. These are all large dogs that are people-friendly and predator-scary. Oh, and there are pigs. Pigs of some of the livestock being protected by the guard dogs.
And that’s it for the dogs of which I am not an owner. I like having the dogs around, and I like that I don’t have to take care of them. Thanks to all the dog owners who let me enjoy their pets and that keep away the predators. Too many foxes in the chicken coop would deprive me of delicious eggs that I enjoy oh so much. Quite neighborly of you all. I appreciate you and your dogs!
Posted by Troy Matthews at 12:59 PM