Returning readers will recognize that from time to time, A Dude is called upon to care take some animals. There has been Buddy Willis, Juniper and now Missy. When a friend offered me the opportunity to get away from the near-nightly next-door neighbors unsanctioned cantina. They serve beer and play loud northern music from south of the border (yes, that border, I’m in Texas), I jumped. There was also a house, seven chickens (all you can eat eggs!), and plenty of tell-oh-viz-yun. As for the dog, she was a handful, a piece of work, and a real character. So let me tell you a few things and show you some pictures of Missy, the Cattle Dog.
She’s a Scorpio, at First
The owner told me she would take a while to warm up to me. I like to think it’s my magnetic personality, but it was only two hours before she wanted old Dude’s attentions. As mentioned in a previous post, it was to go on a walk and take a big dump that I would have to pick up. So pretty soon we could tell who was going to wear the britches in this relationship (not I). If I had to guess her name came from being a bit of a bossy-pants, like “Hey, little missy, you don’t get to do whatever you want.” Then she does whatever.
After the first walk, we were fast friends, and she was eager for affection. But also reward. This wasn’t her first rodeo, and I wasn’t her first cowboy. She is a cattle dog, after all. And if you know anything about them, they certainly are good at rounding up the herd. And if it’s just you and her, then she lets you know what’s required: move along for a walk, let’s go out, time for a snack, you may pet me now and then stop, and her favorite: SQUIRREL! If you even say the word, she barks and goes nuts. Luckily, she didn’t bark much except when I was returning or someone was outside.
Tricks Are for Snacks
And also for buying love, as the instruction sheet said. Missy’s commands included the usual sit and stay but also down, roll over, wait for the food, eat the food (even when a treat was placed right in front of her), and my favorite, the high five. She’d get up on her back legs and with her little left paw tap my hand. Sooo kewt, right? Another trick, like many dogs, is big sad eyes. This happened when I wasn’t doing the right thing, like going for a walk a little late or leaving to go out. But the frenetic dance equaling the religious fervor of a Whirling Dervish she would do when I returned was pretty cool too.
As a smaller dog, Missy enjoyed jumping up on the curb and walking along it. She also sure liked to “read the paper,” as I call it, a phrase I would guess I learned from my grandmother. Stopping at every pole got old so sometimes I wouldn’t let her. I was told after the first night my usual 30 minutes may be too long, so I’d walk her about 15-20 minutes in, hen drop her off and finish up on my own.
I guess she may have been a rescue dog or didn’t get much time with other dogs because she would go nuts if one passed by. I had to hold her back from going after much bigger dogs. It was like Dr. Jekyl / Ms. Hyde. It annoyed other pet owners but I found it a little amusing and instructional. Size doesn’t matter and a good bark may prevent the need for a bite.
The Days Wind Down
When we weren’t walking, napping, watching the last two seasons of The Americans (about Russian spies in Washington, D.C. in the 1980’s – still relevant today), or otherwise hanging out in the back yard, Missy pretty much did her own thing. She did more sleeping, laid in her bed, on the chair or couch staring at me, or wandered around outside. Every time we’d go past the owners’ car, she’d look at it and then me, as if to say, “Hey, aren’t we going for a ride?” I explained her people would be back soon and then she’d go on all the rides they needed her for.
I admit that little bossy Missy grew on me. On the down side, she did a lot of self-licking, and sometimes that tongue made it onto my hand or something. Gross! And she needed some work on her breath, for sure. Otherwise, she was a great dog and buddy for 10 days. She got a lot more attention than usual since I did not have to go off and be gone all day at my job or school.
As I cleaned up and brought things home, she could tell I was leaving, and seemed a bit sad. So was I, but I was not going to miss the halitosis — or having to pick up and then carry home to the trash can — the steaming piles of poo. I’d like to think we parted ways as friends. We didn’t go on any bike rides together, but we certainly enjoyed our daily walks and other activities. If you’re a dog person you know what it’s like, if not, maybe you’ll get to hang out with one as cool as Missy someday. Except for the poop, licking and all that, they’re fun!
As Groucho Marx said, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
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