Nada & Nacho
I am changing the names of my dogs. Their last name is still Dog, but Protector and Friend works just as well. You see, I have two mutts.. I had never seen the mother and the father, or more likely fathers, were unknown. So, when I talk about my two dogs the term "Breed" or "Pedigree" does not apply, except for maybe coyote.
I had recently lost my ole bud of 12 years. His name was Rufus Clay Dog. His name was very descriptive of his looks. He was a pound puppy and a cross between a Brittney Spaniel and some sort of bird dog. Because of his red spots over white coat many folks mistook him for a red healer cross. But no, he was spaniel and bird dog. He loved water, lplaying fetch, and chasing anything that would run. He was my bud, my friend, my family. I was sad to see him go. Rest in peace my friend. But Rufus Clay Dog is not the story here. However, his passing set up this story by leaving a void in my life that was far bigger than he was. It needed filling.
My neighbor is a pecan grower who owns or manages several orchards in the region. He keeps dogs at these places. As dogs will be dogs they breed. About two months after Ruf passed, on a warm mid January day he brought home a litter of 5 or 6 pups. I went to look. One of the puppies was a fairly fat little thing, brindle, short nose, short curled tail that stood straight up. She was cute and friendly with a need to be cuddled. She loved the my lap never asking, but once there she would never leave. Today, she is still like this. Though, now she has a mustache and a beard and weighs about 50 pounds. She has taken on that wide body look. She still wants to cuddle. Her litter mate was shorter and fatter, if that was even possible, something that would change quickly. The pup's entire upper body was covered with chocolate colored fur while the underside and legs were a bronze color with a small white blaze on the chest. This pup was ofiish but still wanted my lap, always asking but never staying long.
I got them both home. Because the pup was so pudgy and round, I was determined to call the chocolate pup "Bear".....until I turned it over and found something missing. She started changing right before my eyes. Today, the only thing that is the same on her is her color though her pattern is that of a black and tan only she is chocolate and bronze. Her nose matches her chocolate coat, yellow eyes, the pinkist belly, and the goofiest pair ears I have ever seen. The smoothness of the hair on her neck and chest rivals that of ole Ruf's.
The brindle is a simple dog. She just likes to be petted. She has a need to steal tissues from the trashcan and eat them. It makes for some obvious droppings in the yard. She has not yet found the toilet paper role. SSSHHH! She will ride herd on her sister. The extra weight helps. Her job is to rile her sister up when something comes in her yard. When her sister gets to barking then she starts. She still looks like a puppy. The hair on her head and nose stick almost straight up. It is quite pleasant to pet. Portions the hair around her eyes is a tad longer grey and black mix. It gives her that aged wizard look. Along with her beard and mustache are some thin long straight hairs hanging off her ears. The length extends an inch past ear length. Just think of a man bald on top but not enough hair to do a comb over. That is the hair hanging off her ears. She looks...Dirty.
The chocolate pup has always been the nervous sort. I have seen her jump at her own fart....causing yet another fart. It is a vicious cycle. She weighs about 45 pounds. Slender build and nicely proportioned. She loves to run and is gullible as all get out. Her nervousness shows with strangers. She gets really defensive which people mistake for aggressive. She has never bitten anyone though she has had plenty of opportunity. She really acts offish and rude around strangers. This includes other dogs. Hence her name will be Bitch. >
Now you know. I have these two dogs named Dirty & Bitch. It makes for great fun with I call them and some nasty looks from my neighbors. These two are my security system. Anything comes in my yard, they let me know. This includes squirrels, people, dogs, deer, coyote, even armadillos. I have tried to train them to let me know quietly, to not go ballistic when there are deer or turkey out there. I want to photograph the animals not scare them off. They sort of get it......most of the time. They are largely responsible for many of my wildlife shots.
My yard looks like it has golf divots all over it. Yes, I live next to an abandoned golf course, but no, there are not any spike footed varmints forgetting to replace divots. These divots are made by armadillos. They are digging into the grass roots looking for grubs. I normally would not mind, but hey, it is my yard and while I many not have the green carpet that my neighbor has, it is still my yard and not an armadillos grubstake.
One night not to long before the following event, I spotted an armadillo in the back yard. It was dark outside but the critter was in the beam of the outdoor lights. It was happily rooting around in the only section of the yard that has nice grass, some sort of Bermuda that likes shady spots. The armadillos normally stay off that part of the lawn. So to prevent bad armadillo habits, I decided to remedy the situation. I picked up the high powered pellet rifle I normally keep at that door. I cocked it, loaded it, opened the door ever so slightly, aim, PFTAP...tap. Score!!!!....uh...wait a minute. No score. How on earth did I miss at this range? Again with the ritual, cock, load, aim, fire. PFTAP...tap. Bugger didn't even flinch. Again, cock, load, aim, fire; and again, cock, load, aim fire. I unloaded at least six pellets at the animal. Yet it just keeps rooting. That is one tough hide. Okay, dog time.
"COME! DIRTY! BITCH! OUTSIDE!"
Dirty & Bitch, come running up like there is fun to be had, bouncing, barking, yammering, panting, generally annoying behavior you would expect form an over excited 5 year old....or 55 if you are anything like me. The commotion was so great that the armadillo had vaporized into the night and the green wall at the back of the yard. The dogs bounded outside expecting something....anything......but got nothing. They stopped just three steps from the patio. They craned their head back to look at me with that "WTF?" look that they do so well. Easy marks as a con-man would say. Gullible as the judge once said......another story for another time. I invoke the "Do your job" mantra. They both turned back with their heads a bit lower, sulking over the letdown.
Last night Bitch comes bouncing into the room panting with that goofy perky eared "I want out!" look. She was jumping left and right tossing her head evey which way but off. Her back side was mirroring the front. Her nick name is Miss Wiggles. It is close to bedtime so why not. I stand up. She bounces left, wiggles right, tosses her head making a low pitch grunting noise I alwyas likened to rubbing a balloon. She then comes to my left heel and runs her whiskers up my bare leg causing the hairs on my body to stand up. Where did she learn that? Meanwhile, Dirty, asleep at my feet, witnessed the state of her sister jumped up and started dancing in front of me growling and talking, telling me all about it. This is normal.
I get to the door. I open it in the usual manner......................WHOOSH!
One hundred pounds of stripped ass apes bolt out the door like it was the Kentucky Derby, down the stairs and across the yard. In the blink of an eye the dogs melt into the dark. The only sounds are the rapid pounding of the dog feet on the grass matched by their gasping of air in a half snarl half growl, after some critter or critters rapidly making an exit to stage right. The foot pounding turned into an explosion of rustling dead leaves as the chase moves past the green wall and into the woods. I never saw what Bitch was after. I rarely ever do. From the speed and her persistence I guessed it had to be a deer. I do not want the girls chasing deer.
At 11:30 at night I walk out of the backdoor (lucky I had boxers on), screaming "NO! COME! DIRTY BITCH, COME!" followed by some choice expletives. The old Bill Cosby joke of Dammit and Jesus Christ comes to mind.
I make it into the yard at the edge of the light. I can hear who I know is Bitch still pacing her prey through the leaves in the woods. She is about a 200 feet out by this time. One, two, three, four more fits of screaming on my part when suddenly an armadillo comes walking out of the shadows next to the house into the light, walking mind you, right in front of me! It was no more than 10 ft away. It did not pay me any mind. I may as well have been a tree. It was waddling toward the edge of the yard perpendicular from where the grand chase had traversed the lawn and entered the woods (angles); that is, until Dirty came back into the light not two feet from the critter.
The armadillo stopped and turned to face the dog. Dirty quickly moved up to confront. At this moment I was wondering if armadillos had teeth and praying that their only defense mechanism was their hard shelled hide. I also cursed myself for not having a weapon at hand or shoes, shirt, and pants. Though, now I think that was for the best, not having a weapon that is.
Dirty creeps right up to the critter, goes nose to nose. The armadillo did not back down. It did not attack. It did not roll into a ball. It just stood there nose to nose with Dirty!� That is not the same dog I saw taking joy in sneaking behind construction workers and the scaring shit out of them. It is not the same dog I saw chasing two black and one chocolate Labrador Retrievers out of my yard. This is not the same dog that attacked and killed a timber rattler as a pup. Who is this mutt?
It occurred to me that I needed to stop this love fest before something really did happen. I scolded the dog. She heeled and retreated to the backdoor. If she had done that the first time I hollered she might have seen the armadillo before running right past the damned thing. Some watch dog.
The armadillo waddled off like nothing happened. It was happy I am sure. It had made a new friend. I am sure it will be back tonight to sully my dog's good name. As for Bitch, she eventually responded to the foul epitaphs I had uttered. She appeared into the light with her tongue hanging out as well as her head and tail down. She knew full well she is not supposed to bolt like that. I don't suppose she ever thought about what would happen if she ever caught her prey. But hey, she is a dog. That is what they do.
As for Armi the armadillo.....I'm cleaning the .22 and .410 tonight. (Evil Grin)
So I am renaming my dogs Nada Dog and Nacho Dog or in the alternate case Nada Protector and Nacho Protector. I think Friend still applies though. But they won't tell me other than to snuggle up in my lap.
For the record, I do not really call my dogs Dirty & Bitch though there are time when the names do apply.
Also for the record, Armi the armadillo is still alive and kicking, or in his case rooting. I have not had the heart to shoot him but I have not had the opportunity either. I know where his hole is too. Now that spring is here and yard work is beginning I may change my mind. What I have found is that there is a pack of hogs ...What is the term for a pack of hogs, like a murder of crows, gaggle of geese, pod of whales?... Anyway, these hogs are really hard on the ground and vegetation. But they are not in my yard. They are out on the lower portions of the old golf course, tearing up all the works of man. Sad.
Thanks for reading.
This was story written by Marty McKimmey. The original version can be found at www.martymckimmey.com
Copyright 2012 by Marty McKimmey