Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Paul Richardson: Where the tame things roam

(Paul Richardson's column, The Horse I Rode In On, is published weekly in the Neosho Daily News and the Seneca News-Dispatch and on the Turner Report.)

One of the primary reasons that we live out in the county is our animals. While there are limitations set, we are of the opinion that animals need room to be free. Free to roam about the property and the neighborhood as long that their behavior remains with the acceptable parameters.

Currently, we have one dog and a cat. The cat had a litter of kittens. One kitten was rescued from the open territory of the lawn on a wet, cold day.

Believing this was the lone survivor of the litter, we nursed it back to health as the mama cat seemed opposed to resuming responsibility of the young ‘un. A neighbor child heard the kitten during a visit to our home. 

The good wife growing fatigued from the kitten’s persistent crying quickly made this little girl quite happy with the gift of a kitten and the needed supplies for its health and welfare. Since that time, I have seen a solid black kitten and a grey tiger striped kitten both proper age to have been in the same litter. 

Since our calico mama cat is and was the only cat on the property and certainly the only pregnant cat, my assumption is that the calico kitten that was gifted to the neighbor child was not the only survivor.

This is good. We like some cats on the property. There are some conditions. They must be outdoor cats. We do provide shelter, bedding and proper protection and comfort for them, but my allergies just cannot tolerate any indoor pets. We provide food, but they better be showing signs that they are controlling the local pest population. 

Failure to indicate such vigilance can result in the good wife instituting a rationing program. Cats have a problem with the little ration stamps since they don’t have opposable thumbs!

The one constant is the presence of a dog or two or sometimes, the skies the limit, three. Three is the maximum number and only happened once when we inherited the dog that belonged to our neighbor to the south. This dog ended up on our property as a puppy. We began to feed the animal and several days later the neighbor spotted the pup. He stated that his bloodhound had delivered a litter of puppies and his daughter had chosen to keep this one. 

That choice eventually faded after it grew because as all puppies are cute lovable time changes things. While the mother was a bloodhound, the sire was certainly not. With the marking’s indicative of a Doberman or a Rottweiler it was clear that this gal was not going to have any type of formal registration in accompaniment. This dog joined the English Springer Spaniel and a Rottweiler made up the threesome. Although she was an adopted addition to the group, it became apparent that she ran the show.

As it is with the cats, there are also conditions that are placed upon the dogs. Excessive barking is discouraged, chasing cattle is totally prohibited, and they must at the very least act like they are trying to protect the property from intruders. We always had concerns about the threesome forming a doggy gang and violating the most sacred of the conditions by chasing cattle. Neighbors that own cattle have my permission to use whatever means necessary to terminate this violation. These three conditions are to be mandatory and unconditional. 

The remaining items on the list have became negotiable as indicated by the current canine resident. The good wife would like for him to stay out of the garden, which he is improving on. She would also like for him to leave the flowers and potted plants alone during the summer. This is a seasonal request, but that is what she would like. Beau, our half Dalmatian and Black Labrador mix rescue seems to have an addiction on the level of giving up smoking when it comes to staying out of the newly potted plants.

Recently Beau became so bold as to not only remove the plants from one of the larger containers, but to follow that action by burying a roadkill find. Upon finding her plants strewn about, this was followed by another surprise when she went to replant the flowers. 

Now Beau, being a dog, lost a lot of the context of the scolding that followed. It was a wordy admonishment that clearly exceeded Beau’s vocabulary. It was not lost on me as I have a pretty good understanding of the language. I was not permitted to depart during this episode and had to endure it with him. It is uncertain what my presence contributed, but I was ordered to sit-stay. I’m believing that I was present on the behalf of the disciplinarian and not as an associate of the guilty.

I would like to say the dog is getting better at controlling his compulsion, but can I get back with you later regarding that? Let’s see how this summer goes!

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