Bishop, our Australian Shepherd is possibly the most beautiful Aussie I’ve ever seen. From nose to rump (he has no tail) he’s magnificent. Okay, he isn’t necessarily the smartest of his breed but he may be the sweetest. He’s loving. Passionate even.
If you look him in the eyes, all sixty pounds of gigantically furry pooch will be in your lap and licking you to death before you can say “No, Bishop, you’re too BIG!”
As the tractor dug the layer of ice off the asphalt of our crumbling driveway, Bishop, who had been lolling about the living room trolling for treats realized he was neglecting his duties as watchdog.
Bishop has never entirely grasped the whole “guarding” concept, but he has gotten very adept at the “keep barking until they go away” piece of the puzzle. Given even the slightest motivation, he will bark continuously. Motivation is loosely defined as someone or something in the driveway, on the property or nearby in the woods or on neighboring properties.
If no reason presents itself, he will nonetheless bark continuously — for no apparent reason. Perhaps it is a preventative measure lest some unwanted human or critter be considering invading the territory.
Bonnie is more than happy to help with the barking. The two of them together, sometimes assisted by one or more of the other two dogs, can bark for hours if no one stops them — usually by suggesting it’s biscuit time.
Today they had a reason to bark and bark they did. Mostly, it was Bishop’s day. That big green machine must have looked pretty threatening! And barking must have been the right thing to do because it went away. See? Bark and it makes everything alright.
Half a foot of fresh snow overnight. Morning now. Bright clean snow with just a few tiny tracks of local song birds along the surface.
by Ben Huberman on February 10, 2014
If you could wake up tomorrow and be fluent in any language you don’t currently speak, which would it be? Why? What’s the first thing you do with your new linguistic skills?
Photographers, artists, poets: show us TONGUE.
I want to learn DOG. I want to explain to all my canines in their own unique tongues so they can’t pretend they don’t understand (oh, I know your games … you understand fine when you want to) to stop barking all the time at absolutely nothing. Of, if you are barking at something, please … tell me what you see that I don’t see? And about that early morning chorus. You have such beautiful voices, my furry babies … but why six in the morning? If you are all about praising the Lord (other than Garry, your Dog God) … can we reschedule services for a bit later? How about 11 in the morning? Even noon. I don’t think a deity would be offended by a slightly late start and I would be personally grateful.
And about those tongues.
When I get out of the shower, you do not have to lick every exposed inch of my body. Really, I just did that with soap and hot water and although I’m sure you mean the very best, I always feel sort of slimy when you’ve finished redoing the process in your own special ways. And hey, I’ve seen the stuff you eat out in the yard. Don’t lie to me. I know where that tongue has been. Eww and double yuck!
I know you talk to each other. I’ve seen you each approach one another … then get up, and go and a pair to the next canine, then all three of you embark on some kind of group activity … usually barking in chorus or a good howl. Or a trip to the kitchen where you stand around giving us the dead-eye until we produce treats. So you communicate. I just would appreciate you letting me in on the secret.
I could make a pretty penny doing dog food commercials and movies if I could simply explain in native DOG … tell you guys what I want you to do. Training would be unnecessary. Just a simple chat, and voilà! Tricks? No problem. Then, instead of being fuzzy, over-indulged lounge lizards, you could become productive members of society. Maybe with dental and health benefits. And think about how great it would be if you could really tell me what was bothering you? I could stop guessing … a boon for both of us!
Thanks for listening. And please, whatever you are barking at? Give it a rest!
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Daily Prompt: Good Fences?
by Ben Huberman on February 8, 2014
Who are your neighbors? Are you friends with them, barely say hi, or avoid them altogether? Tell us a story — real or invented — about the people on the other side of your wall (or street, or farm, or… you get the point). Photographers, artists, poets: show us NEXT DOOR.
Around the block is a farm (Ee-i-ee-i-oh!)
Dairy cattle, chickens, fresh milk, eggs, and honey … and friendly farmers.
I love the chickens. They are not all regular chickens. Many are fancy with gorgeous plumage. They are all like pets — friendly. They used to range free, but foxes and coyotes were making inroads so reluctantly, the farmer moved the coops and put up wire enclosures. The chickens have a lot of freedom, but not unlimited range.
The local wild turkeys hang around because the farmer feeds them. They are a pugnacious group. Wild turkeys used to be rare, but in recent years, they strut all over the place without any sign of fear, or for that matter, common sense.
No one hunts them. Unless they get eaten by a coyote, their biggest danger is getting run over by a car or truck. They tie up traffic and refuse to hurry.
Yelling at them to move faster makes them angry and they will challenge your car to a duel. They cross roads with no concern for traffic. If you annoy them further (or even they are in a particularly feisty mood), they will attack your car. They are apparently unconcerned whether or not the car is the likely winner of the dispute.
Although they are good flyers — unlike swans, loons and other large water fowl, they don’t need a long runway to achieve liftoff — it never occurs to them to fly. They prefer to stroll. Strut. It’s hard to rouse them to flight, or even to walk or run faster.
When confronted by overwhelming odds — large motor vehicles or people with shotguns — they cop an attitude: ”Oh yeah? Who’s gonna make me?” This has given real meaning to the expression “What a turkey!”
As the old farmer said, “You know, it just takes one tire!” Except, of course, he’s the one who feeds them.
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