Tag Archives: dogs



After I mowed the lawn, I opened the gate for the cows and their Wagyu X calves to the horse pasture to eat the grass and weeds horses don’t like to lessen the fire danger and make it easier to spot a rattlesnake at a distance.  A treat for the cattle as we wait to process their calves on Tuesday and a treat for us to see them in the evenings. 


We let our big dog Buster, a Great Pyrenees/German Shepard X that was part of the litter dumped on Dry Creek Road several years ago, loose to work at night keeping the coyotes, feral pigs, raccoons, skunks, etc. out of the yard.  We don’t want him to make a mistake while we’re sleeping, so we move the cattle out before dark.


Last night, Robbin walked and worked our Border Collie Tessa on commands to gently ease them toward and out the open gate—a great exercise and confidence builder for them both.  Tessa has been with us enough around the cows to know how we work them (old people slow) and plenty of herd in her breeding.  I’m guessing they’ll do it again tonight, it’s been good watching.


Buster’s New Digs

With his sister and three brothers, Buster was loaded into the pickup to go for his first ride. The sensation of traveling as trees flew by was nauseating as his eyes blurred and stomach churned to the sound of the radio and engine combined. Finally it all came to a stop at a wide place in a narrow road, a dirt turnout with a sign he couldn’t read, tall weeds and loose barbed wire fence beyond.


All five puppies got out, glad to be back on solid ground and feel the dust between their toes. They began to explore beer cans and potato chip bags with their noses, intrigued by all the new scents that preceded their arrival.
Engrossed in their roughhouse games in this strange place, it wasn’t until the pickup engine started, did they notice it leaving. Buster’s big brother Bert gave chase up the road, with the rest of the puppies trailing as night fell, squelching the day’s 100-degree heat.

Exhausted after the quarter-mile chase, they stopped to rest at another turnout while Bert went out into the road to greet the sound of each approaching set of headlights. The third car struck him and he crawled to his frightened siblings huddled around him until he quit breathing. Sally, his sister, led the pack away from the road to cross a cool irrigated pasture to find a mossy pond in the moonlight where they all got a drink and fell fast asleep.

Traveling only at dawn and dusk, the four three-month old pups spent the next week hunting for something to eat up and down the dry creek bed. The pack awoke a feral hog in the thick riparian of alders and willows, barking fiercely at its retreat; then gave a loud chase after four wild turkeys hens and later backed a lone coyote off. They were indeed a pack, but had nothing to fill their empty stomachs but an occasional drink of water.


Pack @ 3 months

Desperate and hungry, Sally led them back to where they had been dropped off. They looked like coyote pups to the man and woman who stopped. Buster overheard the man saying angrily, “The most humane thing we could do is shoot them all—goddamn people!”

Thirty minutes later, the man and woman returned with a big dish of dog food and water. “Their ears are full of ticks,” the woman said after petting three of the four pups. “Tomorrow morning, I’ll call Animal Control.”

However, the next morning, another woman stopped and caught all of the puppies with distended bellies pin cushioned with foxtails, and put them in her new car, bringing them to work where there were some empty dog pens. For the next two days, she and her sister picked ticks from their ears and between their toes, dunking them in a tick and flea bath before worming them all.


Within a week, all had found new homes.


Buster @ 4 months




Clouds low,
black night,
dogs keep the wild
backed off:

coyotes, bobcat
raccoons, feral hogs—
an occasional bear
or mountain lion.

They are busy.
We sleep easy
editing intensity
and intonations

to fit our dreams:
an ebb and flow
approach to home
we trust.




The Elberta ripens
thinned by ground squirrels—
dogs bark at night:
raccoons down from the hills.

I have lost my car again
trapped in another strange place
without friends, backtracking
in my dreams to rise

in the dark, fumble
for a light too bright
to find my way outside
to follow the dogs with a rifle

to the gate beside the peach tree.
No eyes burning in the black,
barking fades out of range,
I am now awake

and wonder what it takes
to save a peach,
or why we bother—
other than its taste.



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Dogs bark into the early morning blackness,
up-canyon scent of something feline, half-bayed
young lion in the oaks to rock piles arched—etched

in their minds, they become a pack of oddities
standing-off coyotes, rousting coons from the garden,
escorting possums and skunks—we know their bark.

Your Beagle inheritance, inside fat, old and waddling,
following his nose to new frontiers beyond a life
on the couch, instincts fired to chase and bay

sharp claw or teeth he’s never dreamed before,
barks in his sleep—deep furrows in his derrière.
The dark stranger, jumpy, blockheaded Queensland

slinks and investigates the far water trough
every evening for smells—fell out of a cowboy
pickup and moved-in waiting to be found

likes his soft outside bed more than anything. Just
how they admire your Border Collie Jack-the-Good-Dog
                    keeps them lined-out circling the house.