Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 9-19-11
Bailout the Cowdog – Trail Boss of the recent Cowgal Pals Bucket List Road Trip – speaking here. I’m reporting in as my drover crew are all too exhausted to get the job done swiftly (the wimps). For purposes of this essay, I’m referring to them as: P.C.D. (Primary Caretaker of Dog – Gwen); P.D.P. (Primary Driver of Pickup – Debra); and C.C.P. (Chief in Charge of Packing – Jimi). All three of them insisted on treating me like a dog.
They began the journey with the scooter loaded onto a trailer intending to drive as far as Harlowton before putting the scooter into action. I started out riding in the back seat with P.C.D. To which I objected. When I ride in a vehicle I prefer the front seat with access to an open window so I can cool my head in the breeze. Ticked me off, so I clambered over the back and dropped next to P.D.P. That move got the crew’s attention and forced them to rearrange seating. For the rest of the trip, I sat on my blanket between driver – P.D.P and primary caretaker of dog – P.C.D. When I put my head out the window, P.C.D. complained that I stomped on her legs and stomach.
That first day, the crew fed me canned dogfood. Can you imagine? They ate burgers and chicken-fried steaks while I had to consume ugly stuff from a can! I threw it up on my blanket. (The crew washed off the barf at a Laundromat).
For the next meal, P.C.D. ordered a burger just for me. Two patties. So I ate one and buried the second one in the grassy soil bordering Main Street sidewalk. I believe in being prepared. Figured I’d be left lingering and bored while the cowgals went junk shopping in second hand stores. They jabbered on about how the cause is never lost as long as there’s junk to be had. So I stashed backup vittles here and there along the trail.
C.C.P. had driven scooter outfits similar to the Stella scooter while serving our country in Italy. P.C.D. invited C.C.P. to drive the first leg of cycle riding. (She made it sound like a generous offer, but doggily speaking, I think P.C.D. was chicken). I never did ride in the motorscooter. My crew tried to tell me I should. They even made an attempt to coax me using bones as bait. As Trail Boss, I vetoed that idea. Firmly.
All three of my trail crew are amateurs at speaking dog language. Whenever I developed a personal hygiene issue I had to let driver P.D.P. know by poking my nose sharply under her armpit as she was managing the steering wheel. When she objected, I turned and jammed my head under P.C.D.’s chin, pawed at her front and licked her cheek. I spoke as forcefully as I could, but I gotta say, humans are a trifle slow to catch on.
I kept up my practice of burying bones and burgers. At one location (Elk Lodge in Grass Range), I met a huge canine – and I mean HUGE. Half New Foundland and half Labrador, the creature was the size of a black bear and outweighed me by a hundred pounds. I’m telling you, I did the submissive posture big time. Turned out the giant’s name was Buddy. Well, as I was burying a burger in Buddy’s flower garden, he watched. The second I had it covered over and turned my back, Buddy dug it up and ate it.
Wherever we stopped, I made it my business to visit every individual I saw, especially kids. In motels, all open doors were obvious invitations to enter. So I did. I helped motel maids do their chores and accepted pats and hugs. In Fleck’s bar in Ryegate, the patrons fed me tasty beef jerky, gave me water and lots of attention. The owner even showed me the photo of her cowboy son roping a bear. (The bruin looked exactly like Buddy).
Throughout the trip, whenever my cowgal crew decided to shop or eat or do laundry, they would tie me to the bumper of the trailer instead of taking me along.
I didn’t care for that indignity, but I figure they were just jealous of the way I make friends.