so named after killing a goat & calf. He's now our official garage wolf!
I'm going to depart from my regularly scheduled rant, and talk about something that brings me real joy. Out here on the ranch, there are quite a few dogs and horses - most of them rescues - who owe their well-being (if not their lives) to the compassion of a woman named Amy, daughter of Tennessee Titans owner Bud Adams. (We seem to have a tendency to live next to sweet dog-lovers. Our last neighbor is the President of the Homeless Pet Placement League in Houston. Another sweetheart!) Many of the dogs live in fenced-off yards, but the most sociable are allowed to roam free on the ranch. And a few of them have adopted Connie and I.
I say adopted, but what has actually happened is that they have grown accustomed to the 6PM suppers we offer, the morning treats, and the affection we bestow upon them. They have us pretty well trained.
At first, we felt sorry for them, since they didn't have warm houses, soft beds, or people they could claim as their own. But that perspective was based more upon our own preconceptions than upon actual circumstance. No, they don't have warm houses; what they do have is a collection of barns and garages where they can huddle together against the cold, or hide from the sun on the most blistering summer days. Their beds are wherever they want them to be, frequently in our garage, or on the soft grass of our lawn. They wander as they please (and seem to know that the road is not a good place to go), with no demands placed upon them. They swim in the pond when they feel like it, play in the pastures, and grace us with their presence when they see fit. Oh... they also manage to show up at 6 on the nose every afternoon, and announce their availability for the feeding ritual. Most nights, Muncher stays the night on a bed we've prepared for him. When it's cold outside, Truffles lets us know it's time to bring her into the warm house for the night.
Our feed bill has gone up considerably since they made us a part of their routine, but I can't imagine anything we could spend that money on that would give us so much in return. You see, these guys are living the life that most people only dream about. Their needs are met. They are loved (probably by more folks than we are aware of). And they have the kind of freedom that we humans only know as children, and most, not even then.
We like to tell ourselves that they love us as much as we've grown to love them. Might be little more than a fantasy, but I doubt it, because even when they're hungry, they still belay their feasting for as long as one of us offers a kind word and a scratch behind the ears. Ever since losing my beloved Rex, shortly after moving to the ranch, there's been an empty place that only a big, friendly dog can fill. And these guys do a great job of filling that hole in my heart. I only wonder if they know how precious they have become to us. I hope so.