Country Mouse City Mouse 5-17-10
May 18, 2010
Dog. Depending on where you live determines your idea of what that word means to you. Now, if you’re a city dweller, a dog has a seat at the dining room table, a monogrammed dish, a weekly play date, his own suitcase, and doggie booties not to mention his own anti-depressant prescription. Dog in the country means work. He has to earn his keep, maintain sentry at a prairie dog hole and he can leave the doggie-do-do bag at home.
Growing up in the country, I had my share of dog experiences. My sister and I carried a bucket of rocks on our handlebars to throw at the mean farm dogs that would have liked nothing better than to eat our feet from the bike pedals. Well, that’s what we thought they’d do anyway.
The road to our house had a nice country road bend where this small dog would wait, every day, hidden in the ditch, only to chase a car as soon as it came upon the curve. I never knew what happened to him.
I have a long history with dogs. Pepper was my first dog I owned as an adult with my own house in Denver. My first experience with her was what city dog owners call “separation anxiety.” The very first day she spent on her own, she most likely panicked, went through the window screen, knocked the stick that propped the window open and got stuck out on the porch roof. Her relief at my return was the typical dog wag, butt-dance. My greeting was anything but typical: “Don’t jump!”
Another dog we adopted wasn’t anxiety prone, just dumb. She decided that my living room needed a change of scenery. She redecorated by opening three bags of birdseed and spreading them all over the floor. I guess she thought a beach scene would be nice. Discussing her behavior with one of those know-it-alls at the pet store told me to roll up a newspaper and hit myself over the head for leaving the birdseed within dumb doggie range. I had to fight to not hit her over the head!
Attending the Western Stock Show this past January, I watched the ranch dog preview event. These dogs knew their job. Only a 10th the size of the steers, they chased, coaxed and herded those animals right into the stock trailer. And there was no “Snausage” treat reward when he was done. That was impressive and so were the bidding amounts at the auction for one of these dogs.
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I now own a miniature Yorkshire terrier named Mushu. Hang on! Don’t laugh yet. When he came home he was 10 weeks old, and a hair shy of 2 pounds. And I guarantee that even if you’re a leather skinned, Rough Rider spitting out the side of your truck, you’d have thought this little guy was cute. He now is a 4.5 pound furball with natural instincts of duck and cover to prevent being stepped on. But, when it comes to chickens, he can herd with the big guys. Every day when the chickens need rounding up, we just call on this professional and he chases them back into the chicken garage. He too is way smaller than a hen but he doesn’t put up with them getting their feather panties in a wad. Heff, the rooster, thinks if he hides somewhere in there and makes himself small no one will see him. Ha! Mushu will stand over Heff and bark incessantly until Heff gets caught and put in his coop. A reward? Yes, he gets a Snausage.
City dog? Country dog? I think a little of both. No matter where your dog lives, they all love a ride in the truck and feel the wind in their faces. A city dog chases squirrels and a country dog chases every other rodent. A city dog curls next to you on the couch, a country dog curls up at your feet and they both will greet you upon your return as if you’ve been gone forever.