I bought one of those Garmin dog-tracking units for Jack. It has a sending collar, which he wears, and a handheld GPS unit for me to keep track of him. There are two screens on the GPS related to the dogs programmed into the unit: one shows his compass bearing, distance, and attitude (running, sitting, on point, treeing, etc.); the other shows a map with his position and movement indicated. I've programmed the local landmarks into the map, like cedars, old shop, barn, salt house, storm shelter, autogate, and the corner limits of the compound. It gives him so much more outside, active time than I could give him if I had to go along with him. We've been doing this for a couple of months now and so far he has been very good about limits. Just the other day he did fourteen miles and was never more than seventy yards from the house. The exercise is doing him a lot of good, as can be seen.
Yes, that time of year again. Actually some early-breeding ranchers did their roundups and brandings in April and have been long finished. But the season is well under way now and will run into June. These are the social events of the season, sans ball gowns and tuxedos! After a hard morning of work, sometimes stretching into the afternoon, there will be a fine big meal followed by some card games and lots of conversation, some of it based on fact. The calves are quickly over the trauma and everyone else has a fine, tired-making time doing a hot, dangerous job.
And when you consider the odds against them, it's almost a wonder any of them do. None of them would make it without the fierce, obsessive care of the mother bird. You can't watch a tiny female defending her fledgling against a snake twenty times her size without feeling some of the awe and wonder of it all.
The season of the prairie flowers is beginning, probably my favorite time of the year. The so-called desolation of this near-desert is becoming colorful and fragrant with an abundance of beautiful gifts. If April is really "the cruelest month" as Eliot claims (it's not), then it leads to the many kindnesses of May.
On our way to the vets the other day we ran into these citizens. We had already seen several flocks but these joggers were on the road rather than in the meadows. The Shorthairs were leaning out the back window and as I eased past them they gave a few"let-us-out!" barks and whines but that was about it. The first turkey Emma actually flushed, a few years ago, was a real experience for her. She just stood and stared as it flew off. I'm sure she thought it was the biggest pheasant she had ever seen.
This is Bob. He lives with a friend who owns a ranch store near me. (Fifty-five miles is "near.") Today I had to run an errand to a town beyond the store and stopped in to visit and swap lies.
Like all the Rotties I have known (that were not owned by psychopaths) he is a sweet, gentle giant. His favorite thing is to follow me around in the store sniffing at my jeans so he can learn all about my dogs at home. By the time I leave the place I am usually pretty wet below the knees. But he's a fine fellow and I do not begrudge him his little pleasures and I appreciate his friendship. He watches the world go by from his special perch outside the store.
Rotties get a bad reputation, and it's undeserved. It's a fact that some people own them that shouldn't. Because of the bad rep it becomes a self-perpetuating outrage: bad people want bad dogs. But without the bad people there would BE no bad dogs. My experience with Rottweilers (and it is extensive) is that they are gentle, loving, sweet-natured critters. They are also very, very intelligent.
I don't have a Rottie anymore. Whenever I visit Bob I think about that with a tinge of regret. But I already have three good friends that I am completely happy with.