Friday, December 7, 2012

Gone With A Bang

Well as we all know, dogs come in many shapes and sizes with most dogs having a specific shape and size in order to accomplish the task of the breed.  For example Beagle's and Jack Russell's are bred to hunt rabbits and foxes (and not the two legged kind that wear bikini's. Just want to make that clear to the male readers.),  Labrador's are bred to swim and retrieve ducks from the water, Huskies for the endurance to pull a snow sled, Brittney's to hunt and retrieve quail and pheasant, Australian Shepherds to herd and sort cattle, German Shepherds for personal protection and to eat criminals, and poodles to wear dumb looking hair cuts and prance around some old ladies house.   You can probably tell which breeds I like the most.  Each dog has a specific purpose for existing and ole Red Dog is no exception.  I don't really understand why but I am absolutely fascinated with the fact that Red Dogs blood line is bred to track and hunt lions.  If nothing else it just sounds cool that his ancestors hunted down something so majestic and lived to tell about it so to speak.  A fox or rabbit will always run away. A quail, pheasant, or duck will fly away.  But the thought of Red Dog's ancestors chasing down a critter that could turn and eat them just captures my imagination.  I've seen a rabbit stop to stand his ground when he is being threatened by a coyote but that didn't last once the coyote decided it was lunch time and I've even seen cattle chase Australian Shepherds out of a corral when I used to work for a rancher.  I have never seen duck, quail, or pheasant make an organized aerial attack on hunters unless pooping before take off is considered to be some kind of ugly symbolic gesture on the bird's part, however I have witnessed a Yellow Billed Starling dive bomb my oldest daughter multiple times when she was twelve years old and that just made me laugh till I cried.  But to think that this big red muscular smart stout handsome looking animal known as a Rhodesian Ridgeback could hold his own with Mr. Lion, the cool factor is off the chart in my mind and I own one.  It makes me want to stand tall with my hands on my hips, look skyward and do the Tim Allen man grunt "ARARRARRARR". It's so cool.  That's why I like my Red Dog so much but today I found out something about Red Dog that I was hoping not to be true so let me tell you about it.  
Many months ago I decided to get back to shooting my guns that I haven't shot in many years.  Since crashing my Harley at seventy miles per hour 6 years ago, (and not being able to get the wreck out of my head) I have been looking for a way to fit some quick stress relief into my busy schedule.  Shooting my old guns and buying some new ones to shoot seemed to be the way to go.  So that's what I have been doing lately, burning up ammo every chance I get.  Well this afternoon as I gathered my gear for the firing range I thought I would take Red Dog along and he could enjoy it with me.  Red Dog, being the observant fellow that he is, noticed that I was no longer in my work scrubs but in my play clothes so to speak.  He began watching every move I made, following me from room to room in order to see what I was going to do next.  Finally Red Dog heard the jingling of my truck keys as I grabbed them off the table and he went into full alert.  His ears flew skyward, his eyes locked on to me like a missile defense systems, and began to wag his tail around and around as though he was rapidly cranking a World War II warning siren alerting everyone that something was up and Red Dog was pretty sure he knew what it was or at least he thought he did.  The jingling of my keys and a wardrobe change could only mean one thing to Red Dog..."ROAD TRIP!"...and I told y'all in the last adventure how much Red Dog likes to go for a ride and he was "RED DEEEEEEEEE" to hit the road.  Out the door he went, with the excitement of a six year old headed to the Toy Store.  He jumped into the bed of the truck and immediately moved to his favorite riding spot (which is the front right of the truck bed so he can enjoy the view of the country side) and off we went.  He likes sticking his head outside the bed in order to catch a cool breeze but once we hit sixty miles per hours his face looked like Tommy Lee Jones face while in the G Force machine in the movie "Space Cowboys".  Red Dogs ears are flapping like a flag in the wind, his tongue is hanging out and flying straight back touching his ear, his face has that distorted G Force look to it and he is smiling from ear to ear the whole time.  Sometimes I swerve around in my lane because I'm trying to watch Red Dog in the rear view mirror.  We finally make it to the firing range to see that we are the only two out there and have the whole place to ourselves.  Yippee!!!  I decided to let Red Dog stay in the truck for a while since he has never been to the range with me and let him get accustomed to the gun noises from a distance.  So after thirty minutes of sighting in one of my rifles I walked back to the truck to get Red Dog who was patiently lying down in the truck bed.  I opened the tailgate and he jumped to the ground with the excitement he had before leaving the house.  He was "Happy Happy Happy" as Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty says.  We walked back over to where the guns and gear were and I told him to sit down beside me.  Now that he was in a safe place I was eager to see how he would react to the report of the rifle and I would soon get my answer.  I continued to pet Red Dog as I fired the first round and oh my goodness he wasn't ready for that.  He gave a full body jerk and started to slowly walk away like "holy crap what was that?".  You could tell he didn't care for it much but he tolerated it none the less.  I called him back and he obediently came and sat down beside me but the excitement he had only minutes ago was immediately gone.  No more perky ears.  No more tail wagging.  I was hopeful that after shooting for thirty minutes prior to letting him out of the truck might have better prepared him but that just wasn't the case.  As Red Dog sat there beside me I fired a second shot down range.  He didn't flinch near as much as he did the first time but he was done.  He started walking off and would not come back at my command.  As I continued to call his name he would stop for only a few seconds to give me a look like "go jump in the lake, that's enough of that business" and walked away with as much dignity as he could possible muster.  With his tail down between his legs he slowly headed back to the truck.  As I watched him walk away it reminded me of when I was thirteen years old and forgot to take out the trash one evening.  It was eleven o'clock at night when my dad noticed I hadn't done what he asked me to do earlier so he told me take it out now.  It was pitch dark and we had no back yard light to brighten my path as I walked to the alley.  When I reached the trash can I began to throw the sack inside when suddenly the neighbor's cat jumped out of the barrel.  I jumped ten feet in the air while my heart leaped three feet out of my chest and simultaneously wet my britches.  In those few seconds I felt more terror than any human should ever have to experience.  So I gathered up what wits I had left and slowly made the walk back to the house just like I saw Red Dog doing. But in my heart I was running like an Olympic sprinter expecting an ax murders or the boogie man to grab me at any moment.  I completely understand what Red Dog was going through with him trying to calmly walk away from a situation with your dignity intact and your is brain screaming "RUN SUCKER RUN".  So I gathered up my gear and headed back to the truck.  When I got there Red Dog was sitting in the bed in his happy place looking at me like "what the heck were you thinking, I'm a lion killer not a bird dog.  My ancestor's owners used spears and bows to hunt with not nuclear bombs".  I don't think I could have baited him out of the back of that truck with 10 racks of ribs at this point so I shut the tailgate and we headed to the house.  
Don't worry about Red Dog, he completely recovered and was back to his old self by the time we arrived home.  When I opened the tailgate and he jumped out with the same swagger that he left with.  He Immediately headed over to his water bowl and take a big long gulping drink like he really needed that after this little adventure.  Although Red Dog is a big strong loud lion killer of a dog I think he might be getting a little soft or "Yuppiefied" as Phil Robertson would put it by living indoors in the lap of luxury.  I don't think I will take him back to the firing range anytime soon because I still want Red Dog to use his "Sonic Bark" to scare the pudd'in out of those uninvited guest who might come snooping around our place.  As far as home security goes, I think Red Dog will just continue to use his God given "Sonic Bark" to guard the place and won't be pack'in heat anytime soon. Until the next adventure, God bless you all.