Wednesday, March 9, 2011


"HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY! GET ON!...." I bolted out the back door, arms flailing and feet pounding. I probably set some kind of speed record as I whipped around the corner of the garden shed. The adrenaline was pumping and I felt like I could've run forever. I stopped at the fence line at the edge of the hayfield, though - didn't seem much point in going further. "GET ON, YOU DOGS!"

Three dogs - one black lab, one lab-sized fluffy white dog, and one St. Bernard-ish behemoth - had just run through my back yard, headed for the chickens. Fortunately, I spotted them just as they reached the flock of hens, and my screaming rampage sent them running.

Folks, we live in the country. Out here, big dogs, running in packs (that's groups of 3 or more), are nothing but trouble. All three of these dogs had collars. They were probably just somebody's family pets. Affectionate, docile, harmless. Until they joined each other for a romp through the countryside. Unfortunately, no one had given them lessons in chicken etiquette. My guess is they haven't had lessons in cow etiquette, either. Their owners probably think these dogs wouldn't hurt a flea, much less a chicken or a newborn calf.

I have some sad experience with bad dogs of my own, but I don't have any problem with the country man's rule: if you see my dog in your cows (chickens/etc.), you have my permission to shoot him. Still, I'm a bit of a pushover, a bit soft around the edges. So today, my tactic was run and holler. But we have new baby chickens on the way, and no dogs of our own to guard them. I'll be keeping a sharp lookout now, and, with the boys' help, I'll be getting in a little target practice this weekend. Just in case.

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