Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Dog Tails

As the Tail Wags

Every farm needs a great farm dog, and over the years, we had a few. They protected the farm, were best, loyal buddies to our children, and helped to familiarize the horses to the fact that the world is full of furry, trotting canines.
Buster was one of these furry creatures. A Nova Scotia Duck-tolling retriever, he came to us when his very life was at risk, but that’s a story for another time. This is a story about only one of the many endearing, completely entertaining things this dog with the most expressive character ever did.
After one particularly wild and windy night, I left the house expecting to have to pick up at least a million broken branches. Stepping out into an exceptionally glorious morning, I was met by Buster, my boychild’s friendly dog.
“Good morning, Buster,” I cheerfully greeted him, only to notice the usually happy, doggy smile was somewhat reserved.
“What’s the matter, boy?” I asked with a puzzled smile, as this wasn’t the Buster we’d come to know and love. For some strange reason, Buster appeared decidedly guilty. It was there in the big brown eyes. In the way he wagged his tail down low, instead of with his usual exuberance, and in every bit of his body language.
“Buster,” I asked, much as one would speak to a child, who most certainly had been caught doing something wrong, even though you couldn’t quite put your finger on it, “what have you done?”
As if he understood my every word, and was trying to apologize before I found out, he hung his head, acted completely submissive, and all the while, the very end of his tail with its little white tip of a happy ending, wagged like mad.
Puzzled by the odd behaviour, I patted my leg for him to come to me for a reassuring pat, just as I happened to look up. It was at that moment that I saw it.
“Oh Buster,” I breathed out the words at the sight before me, “what have you done?”
The whole of our very substantial lawn was covered with horse equipment! It looked like every piece of equipment that I owned was somewhere on the lawn. Every saddle, every bridle, brush and blanket, from small to big, it was on the lawn.
The second his hushed name fell from my lips, Buster ran. Tail between his legs, he ran into the bush to hide. He couldn’t have known that it wasn’t my way to punish for something that he simply couldn’t resist doing, and was my fault anyway. I was the one, who hadn’t latched the door to the tack room properly. If I had, it wouldn’t have come open in the wind, and there wouldn’t have been such an incredible temptation before poor Buster. I completely understood why he couldn’t resist. Buster was a retriever … he retrieved, apparently for hours upon hours.
Calling Buster as I walked to see what damage I had caused, I was amazed to find that there wasn’t any damage. Not a single scratch or tooth mark was to be found, not one. My punishment for my negligence was hours of clean up and reorganization, as Buster had pretty well cleaned the tack room out to the bare walls. Anything that had been within his reach, had been removed and moved to the lawn. It was funny, but he didn’t pile anything atop anything else. Each single item had its own special spot of grass.
Needless to say, I learned my lesson. After some sweet persuasion, Buster crawled on his belly, out of the bush to join me then shadowed me as I proceeded to laboriously return the tack, to its rightful home.
Buster was such a sweet, loving dog, and though I reassured many times over that he wasn’t in trouble, he continued to apologize for days.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB