Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Big Yellow Stray that Stayed

I love dogs.  They are one of my favorite all time animals to have around.  As a child I had a really sweet dog and almost all my adult life I have had one or more dogs all the time.  I have had some good dogs over the years and we have had a few that were great!,  just special, truly exceptional.  Almost all the dogs I have had as an adult have been indoor dogs.  They only went outside for a little exercise and fun.  If I had my dogs outside for any length of time they were either on a leash or in a secure pen.   

I have often talked to my dad about wanting a farm dog.  You know how on farms there are these great dogs that know to stay on their property, protect their family and are just, well you know, great.  You know like Lassie or Old Yeller.  I pictured myself working in the vegetable gardens, standing up to wipe my brow  and looking over at a nice farm dog laying in the shade just happy to watch over me working.  Or a big farm dog laying on the playground watching over my kids as they play.  Or a calm and confident dog sitting on the rise of the field looking out over the farm just guarding the goats.  Ahhhh….

Other people I visited seemed to have them but I never pursued getting one.  We sure didn’t need any more animals on the farm and between dog food, treats and flea treatments, we spend so much on all our dogs already.  We just couldn’t afford another one.  Also to go to the animal shelter and just pick one, you never know what you are getting when going to pick out a dog. If I had a farm dog, I wanted that special 1 in a million.  After all it takes a special dog to be a good farm dog.   If I picked wrong I didn’t want the responsibility of a dog that would leave our farm and get into others trash or chase their livestock.  I didn’t want to be” that kind” of dog owner.  So I always pushed the dream farm dog out of my mind and was very happy with the dogs we had. 

Last year about this time of year I got a call from my dad.  We live on the same piece of property and he had just gotten back from walking his dog down to the pond.   He said there was a stray yellow puppy down there and it had followed him up to his house.  My dad’s house is on the end of the property that is close to the road.  So he wanted me to walk up and get the pup and take it back down to our end.  He didn’t want to see it get hit in the road.  So I did. 

                                                   Yellow a few days after he showed up here.
The pup was a big boned, sad faced, loose skinned, huge yellow puppy with a brown collar, with no tags.  Cute as can be.  But not ours.  He had a worn brown collar on him so I thought; this will be easy to find his home.  Someone cared enough to put a collar on him.  He must be some ones puppy, Right?   I took him and drove to all the houses and farms around us asking if it was anyone’s.  They all said no.  The next day for home schooling the kids and I made up a large amount of big signs.  “Yellow Puppy found” and our phone number.  We drove all over putting up the signs and we waited.  We never got even one call.  I also at that time put up notices, with a photo of him, at all the vet’s offices, the pet shop, at the pound and on Craigs list.  After four weeks we had not one single call.  He was growing fast and eating A LOT so we decided to try to find him a home.  We asked everyone we knew if they wanted a big yellow puppy.  Again we posted all over trying to find him a home.  We called him Yellow as we didn’t want to get to attached as he was NOT staying.  We tried for months to find him a home.  All the time we were feeding him and training him as he did wrong and the kids loving on him as he was such a happy boy.   
                                               Yellow after a few months of showing up here.

As time went on he grew and grew and grew quick.  As I searched for a home for him I realized that the market was flooded with people’s pets and dogs.  People trying to find a home for their animals because they either lost their jobs or had to move in with relatives or apartments that would not allow pets.  Sadly so many people, because of the economy, had been losing their homes.  I knew if I took him to the pound he would be put down.  So after many months, and at the time he was getting to that gangly teen stage, we took all the signs and posts about him down.  I took him in to have him fixed, went and bought a collar for him, had a tag made with his name on it. (by then he would only answer to Yellow)  And called him ours.

 He is a huge big lug of a dog.   An enormous puppy not realizing his strength and size.  He has made more messes, chewed up more things, gotten into more trouble.  Everything he does he does big.  Last spring when I was working in the gardens he kept running off with my work gloves if I set them down.  It was a huge game to him and took me forever to get them back each time.  Another day while working in the raised beds,  I didn’t have a pocket that day so had put my cell phone way up in the nook of a tree.  He saw me do it and when I had my back turned he got it down and chewed it up!  One day when I went outside to go to the barn Yellow had, sometime in the night, pulled up a whole landscaping timber and shredded it in our yard!  He chewed up whole logs off the wood pile, put holes in the kids jackets while playing, dug out flower pots, dug holes in the raised beds. I could go on and on.   He is a large dog and for liabilities sake I got a “beware of dog” sign and he shredded that as well.  He doesn’t mean to but knocks me over all the time.  He started to think it great fun to panic the ponies when my kids were walking them back and forth to the fields every day. So I had to get a shock collar to let him know that, that was just not safe or exceptable. He loves to brings me sticks to throw for him and eats like a horse.  I have to buy fifty pounds more dog food every month!  
                                              Yellow patrolling the farm.  Down by the pond.
                                Laying on the play house porch watching over the kids play on the playground.

But…. he also can be calm and sweet.  Playing nicely with the kids and following them everywhere they go.  When they muck their pony stalls every day they have to push the cart down to the muck pile.  He actually grabs it with his mouth and tries to help them pull the cart down there.  He has a great recall when I call for him.  Tries so hard to be still and please me when I ask something of him.  Lays and watches me when I garden and watches over the kids while they play.   He also spends most of his days lying around guarding the farm animals.  He has killed possums, rats and squirrels and has run off many stray dogs.    He even had a huge deer cornered in the ponies “run in shed” out in the pony pen one day!  Because he didn’t think it should be on the property!

It has been a year now since that stray, yellow puppy showed up.  As time goes on he is learning and maturing.  As time goes on he is calming down and he has fewer goofy puppy moments and more good farm dog moments. When I am out with him I see him think things thru and then look at me for guidance now.  I know he has had a bumpy start in some areas but I can see he is going to be one of those dogs that someday I will look back on…and say he was exceptional.  I can see in him the dream farm dog I always secretly wanted.  
                                                 Your a good dog Yellow.  We love you!

My dad said, every since the big yellow puppy showed up, “that you never know, maybe God sent Yellow to us because we needed him.”   And now that a year has went by.  I tend to smile and agree.

God be with you,


Matthew 6:8
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

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