One of the good ones
He came from Oregon, born in the spring of the year to a yapping half blood Kelpie and McNabb cross mother, and a full-blooded border collie daddy who would gather entire mountains of cattle by himself. He got his name, Concho, for the single black dot on his forehead in the middle of his otherwise trademark border collie face and nose. He was the best friend of a 16-year-old girl who spent most of her days changing pipe, checking cows and singing in the local church praise band. For a rural teenage girl who lived a long way from people and civilization, Concho was the friend and companion that was her shadow.
A few years later the girl and her family would move to Nebraska where Concho would roam the sandhills of the western panhandle with his human companion close by his side. Wherever she went, he was there also. Trotting along behind her horse and never barking while they moved cows, only putting the border collie sneak on them. Gently applying more and more pressure until those ornery bovines did what he asked them to do. On occasion he would have to bite one just to get her attention, and to make sure that the rest of the herd knew that he was the boss. On one occasion a stubborn rogue cow decided that she preferred the pond in the pasture to the company of her herd mates as they moved to greener pasture. Concho was quick to swim out to encourage her to leave her bath, but this growly ol’ witch had other ideas. She thrashed her head and tried to drown poor Concho. Much to her surprise when she stuck her head back in the water, Concho latched on with a vice like bite onto her nose. This was the motivation that she needed to leave the pond and join her companions. Concho coughed and flipped his head to shake the water from his ears, then happily trotted back to his spot behind his master’s horse.
Another cow earned herself an education from Concho, but in his later years he wasn’t as quick as he once was and donated a canine tooth to this teaching session. This injury would forever change his grin, for every time he would open his smile then close his mouth, his upper lip would hang up and leave his bottom teeth exposed. Like his trademark smile, he was one of a kind. Loyal only to the girl who had raised him from a pup, that is until the girl got married. She was so mad that her best friend of all those years took a shine to her new husband. When they would go ride through cows, it was his horse he chose to follow, and his voice to which Concho would come.
As the years went on, children came into the house and the girl was worried how the gruff old ranch dog who was now almost deaf and blind would take to the new additions to his house. The worries were for nothing, as the old dog who had retired himself from ranch work took to letting children play with his ears and tail. Arthritis began to take its toll, and the simple task of standing up became a difficult thing to do. Then one sunny fall day Concho laid down in his favorite spot in the yard and decided it was time to chase cows down the streets paved with gold.
My wife was the girl who raised Concho from a pup to the cow eating, kid loving, kind hearted dog that he was. We decided that God must be weaning this month and needed a good dog to be the ramrod. We buried him neath a tree on the home place, but he will forever live in our hearts and in the hearts of our children. He was sure one of the good ones. That’s all for this time, keep tabs on your side of the barbed wire and God bless.
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