As many of you have read in the past we have quite the collection of critters at our place and I often refer to this menagerie as the DMZ (i.e. Debbie's Mini Zoo). We have chickens, goats, parakeets, finches, cockatiels, doves, cats (oh do we have cats), Red Dog, and ducks. Well just one duck now. For some reason our ducks die like flies after a winter freeze around here so I guess because he is the lone survivor of many ducks that have passed through the DMZ and when I say passed I mean that literally. I call him Super Duck (SD). I have never seen SD leap a small buildings in a single bound but he has survived drought, death, and disease so he must have some hidden super powers or ninja skills. But all of Debbie's critters have little quirks that either tickle or annoy me.
Take for instance Super Duck. Not only has he survived many near death experiences around here but during the summer when we broke out the kiddie pool for him and the hens he was always the first one in the water and the last one out. Each time we fill it up he acts like it's his first time to ever see a body of water he could float in and he would jump in the pool for Tasmanian Devil like swim. Now on the other hand the hens stand around the edge sipping on the water like it's a refreshing cup of tea. It's sip and cluck, sip and cluck cluck, then sip and cluck cluck cluck just like any other group of women at a tea party. They are probably sitting there complaining about their husbands so I'm not surprised when I hear cluck cluck, cluck cluck cluck, cluck cluck cluck cluck cluck and understand what they are clucking about. LOL. As far as the roosters go they are just like any other guys. They guzzle down as much as they can hold and hurry off before the hens get a chance to hen peck them. Isn't it weird how nature imitates life. When it come to the parakeets, doves, and finches they are all thrilled just to get their bird bath filled up. They all jump into that thing like a bunch of stinky ole cowboys who have been riding the trail for months and have finally come up to a tank of fresh water. They whoop and holler (in bird talk of course) and splash around like a bunch of little kids.
Although our feathery critters make me laugh the the goats and cat fall into the annoying category. Our goats (Bert and Ernie) aren't here any longer because they figured out how to escape from their 8 foot tall fence and would go visit the Angus cows down on the Brazos River. After chasing them down two different times in two weeks (and when I say chase that means I send my son and his 19 year old legs to do the job because I am in no shape to exercise) so they were given to my little 6 year old friend Weston for goat roping practice and I think the goats have met their match with him. As far as the cats go, it's like having a school of land sharks constantly circling your feet. You open the back door twenty five fussy chia-pets dart into the house at super sonic speed. It's like twenty five miniature hit and run accidents in 3 seconds hitting my leg. I just stand there motionless praying I am still standing after the frenzy is over with. The most annoying thing about the cats comes down to one very large 35 pound black and white long haired cat called Mr. Buttons. He is the size of a small Bobcat and fears no evil. He roams the neighborhood just daring something to come after him. He is an indoor/outdoor cat and comes in and out of the house as he pleases. All in all a pretty cool guy as cats go but he has one quirk that drives me absolutely crazy. When he's ready to got outside he will start slapping one of the window blinds with his front paws. He looks like George Foreman working a punching bag. I have no clue why that's his signal to go outside but it is. The thing that drives me nuts is that he seems to think he always wants to go outside at three o'clock in the morning. Why? Once again I have no clue but all I know is that this goober will beat on the blind until one of us gets up and if you chase him off he returns within minutes for rounds two three and four. If in the event that doesn't wake us up then he pulls out the big one. He jumps up to one of the posts of our bed which is about 5 foot tall and takes a leap right into the middle of one of us. I don't know if you have ever had a 35 pound cat jump on you at night but I can say it is not pleasant and will wake up even the heaviest sleeper from their dreams. Whatever it takes he is committed to his mission. I'm too old to be missing any sleep so I usually cave in and let him out so I can get some shut eye. I guess that's the price I pay for having a wife who is a critter junkie. All in all I can live with it.
I bet by this time you are wondering what this has to do with Red Dog? Well, Red Dog is the one critter around this place that doesn't get under my skin and he causes me to laugh most all the time. Today was no exception. It was my afternoon off from the clinic and I came home to one of the prettiest October days I have seen in a while. The sun was out, there were few clouds in the sky, temperature a perfect seventy degrees, and no wind. I decided to go for a drive through the country side just to enjoy the day. Ever since Red Dog learned how to load up in the pickup bed, he loves to go riding as well. So after I finished lunch I ask Red Dog if he wanted to go for a ride and man does he know what that means. He started pacing around the room wagging that tree branch of a tail like the checkered flag at a NASCAR event. His tongue was hanging out of his mouth slobbering all over the floor and I knew he was ready to go. He was so excited and darted off toward the garage. As we got to the back door he tried to bolt right through and head out to the truck but because I wanted him to control his excitement I made him sit and stay at the back door a few times. That way he could collect himself (doing the calm submissive thing like Cesar says) and learning not to blast through the door so no ones gets tripped in the future. It was like telling a 6 year old kid to sit in front of the Christmas tree and not touch the presents. It was almost beyond Red Dogs self control but he settled down and sat their until I told him he could go. He is such a good Red Dog. As he walked into the garage his excitement immediately turned into great confusion. There was no truck. His tail stopped wagging and he slowly started walking around the area where the truck was supposed to be. Red Dog looked up to me as if to say "what the heck, am I being punked". I must say I was a little surprised myself because I forgot that I parked the truck in the driveway at lunch. Man that empty garage made us both feel like the only two guys standing in the middle of the Grand Canyon, echos and all. At this point I saw the excitement drain out of Red Dog. His ears drooped downward and tail fell between his legs. He was one disappointed hound dog at this point. So I opened the garage door and we walked out into the drive. Within seconds he caught a glimpse of the truck it was game on again. He ran to the truck as fast as he could. You would have thought that he just guzzled down a 12 pack of Mountain Dew. His excitement was out of control...again. Red Dog stood at the tailgate in launch mode with his legs shaking just dying to leap into the truck bed. He got so excited he had a couple of failures to launch until the tail gate was completely down. When he jumped up into the back I could have sworn I saw him strike a pose like one of those extreme BMXer's stretched out over his bike as he flew over the top of the tail gate. The second Red Dog was in the truck he sat down and looked at me like "come on, quit goofing around, let's go". So off we went. Red Dog sat back there with his nose in the air, tongue and ears flapping in the wind. As the Geico commercial suggests, He was happier than Gallagher standing in the middle of a watermelon stand. At that moment all was right in Red Dog Land as we headed off to go pick up my best pal Mark.
What a wonderful way to spend a beautiful fall afternoon. Taking a drive through the countryside enjoying God's creation, discussing life events in the company of a good friend, and Red Dog slobbering down the side of my newly washed truck. If only there would have been some ribeyes cooking on the grill when we returned Red Dog and I could have really hit the big time. But never the less it was a very good relaxing afternoon for all of us. In the immortal words of Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty, it made us "Happy Happy Happy" to go for a ride in the country on such a beautiful fall day. Until the next Red Dog adventure, God bless you all.