Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Dog Tails

Chubby Dog

I don’t know if many people buy a farm, and have a dog come with it, an old dog, but that’s what happened to hubby and I. We bought a farm, and got a dog. From what we understood, the folks we purchased the farm from, hadn’t owned him. Chubby Dog owned the farm. He’d grown up, and lived all his life in the same place. His first owners had sold up and moved to the city, and after Chubby, a Bernese Mountain dog, had walked all the way back home several times, they made arrangements for Chubby to stay where he wanted to be, the farm.
We came into the picture, four years later. As the new owners of the farm, we also got the dog. Not that we minded. We love animals, and as far as we were concerned, a farm needs a dog. On top of that, Chubby was a lovely, old fellow. He had a wonderful, doggy smile, and his tail would slowly wave back and forth when he barked, as if apologizing for doing so. He was the yard greeter. When a vehicle came in and parked, he would amble over then stand there by the driver’s side window, tail slowly wagging while booming his big ‘woof’ at the occupants. He was about as sweet and gentle a dog as there ever was. Yet met by that giant bark, most people remained securely within their vehicle. When they finally dared venture out, Chubby would beeline it straight for any children. He would be smothered with pats, hugs and a good deal of attention, yet for him, it was never enough. The minute the patting stopped and the child would leave him, Chubby would cut him or her off, and look for a bit more. He would go so far as to flop down directly in front of children, all the while grinning that big, doggy smile, while his tail wagged against the ground, with happy thumps of sound.
He didn’t mind cats or the horses, and took to hubby, like a bee to honey.
There was one thing I really liked about that lovely dog, he never left the yard. We didn’t have to worry about him going on the road, or visiting neighbours either. He stayed where he belonged, home.
Now, I’m a ‘save a dog’ person. There are so many perfectly lovely dogs and cats out there that need a good home, and I prefer that route over buying. Hubby however, saw a photo of a Shar-pei, and wanted one so badly. They were super expensive, had some special concerns that required vet treatment, and had to live indoors all winter, but hubby got his dog, Chap.
While Chap was a puppy, Chubby was perfectly fine with the new addition. As Chap grew older, the old dog began to feel threatened. We could see, there were going to be issues between them in the near future.
Hubby and I loved to get out and do things on our weekends. As we were both truckers, our work days were long, and after work, our hours were spent working on the property. One particular Saturday, we had taken the motorhome and headed for Miami, Manitoba to take in the Miami Mule Derby. We’d heard that it was a great time and good laugh, so planned on the whole day. Of course we took Chap along. Now nine months old, he went everywhere hubby went, work or play, Chap was a part of it.
The derby was indeed, a great deal of fun, especially the prospectors race. We laughed so hard at the mule antics that our sides ached. It was a long day, but spoiled by the comfort of the air-conditioned motorhome, we didn’t mind the summer heat one, little bit. Arriving back home at midnight, after a rather long drive, we stumbled out of the motorhome ready to hit the hay and catch some sleep. Hubby was walking ahead through the dark to unlock the door. I felt a flurry of activity beside my leg as I opened the door to the porch, and automatically caught Chap’s harness.
“No you don’t, buddy boy,” I laughed, “Do your business out here first.”
Automatically moving him away from the house, I had no idea that old Chubby dog was standing right there, right in the path I had swung Chap to. That old fellow must’ve thought ‘This is it! The little whippersnapper is attacking me!’ His reaction was to defend himself, by doing what dogs do, he bit at chap! He bit and held on, with all his might. It was a big problem made even bigger, by one simple fact. Chubby didn’t have a hold of Chap. He had my hand in his mouth! All three or four of his teeth, were hanging onto me, not Chap.
It was one heck of a lot of noise. Chap growling and acting like he was in a dogfight, though my hold on his harness prevented him from biting anything. Chubby growling and threatening Chap, clearly doing his best to hang onto and maintain his stature as top dog. As for me, I was hollering at the top of my lungs, for hubby to save us all.
The second the porch light came on and Chubby grasped the reality of what was going on, he let go and ran. He disappeared into the darkness, and I followed hubby back into the house. One look at my hand, said a trip to the hospital was required. There was a gaping cavern atop my hand. The tendons and ligaments that worked my fingers, were morbidly, fascinatingly on full display. Chap still needed to have his needs dealt with, so while I went and found something to wrap my rapidly swelling hand in, hubby saw to him. Chubby? He was nowhere to be found, and didn’t come when called either. As much as my hand throbbed, I worried about the old dog, too.
Of course the hospital wait was atrocious. By the time I was seen, my hand was like a balloon with fingers sticking out of it. The intern who saw me had no concept of bedside manner, and was completely lacking empathy. This is what our conversation went like.
Him, as he vigorously scrubbed my open wound, “We’re just going to give this a good cleaning, then that’s it. We don’t stitch dog bites. They’re too dirty and prone to infection. Leaving it open is the better way.”
My response? “You’re stitching it.”
His answer to me, as tears of pain began to run down my cheeks, and he seemed to be getting far too much pleasure as he continued to scrub, “No, I’m not. And quit being such a sissy.”
That was it for me, the nerve of the arrogant jerk. “How about you get me a big knife, I cut open the top of your hand then give it a good scrub with a brush? Then we’ll see who the sissy is. You’re stitching it, and that’s my final word on it. Just get it done.”
Well, he must’ve gotten that I was out of patience and more than a little annoyed, as he finally did what I asked. It also could’ve been, because a nurse suddenly joined us, but the end result was my hand was stitched. Not stitched closed, as the doc simply refused, but way better than it was. I look at the scar now, so many years after the event, and can’t help but think, if only it had been stitched closer. I bet there’d be no scar at all, as there’s just a fine line now. Even the scars in my palm have shrunk and faded, all three of them. It’s a good thing, Chubby Dog was lacking some teeth, or things could’ve been a whole lot worse.
For three days, we searched for Chubby. At the end of the third, he came out of the thick bush, about as apologetic as a dog could be, and he never stopped apologizing, right to the day he died. The dog that had shadowed hubby from day one, now glued himself to me. The dog that never left the property was coaxed back home, by a young boy out for a ride on his bike. Unbeknownst to me, Chubby had followed when I’d taken a horse out, then collapsed exhausted about a half mile from home! After that, I always had to make sure he wasn’t following when I left the yard.
Some homes come with appliances and lawn mowers. Ours came with one better, a great dog.

  1. Nice story. I love dogs, too. I live in town and don’t have one now. I favor bigger dogs and don’t think it is fair to keep them confined.

  2. Enjoyed this story also.

  3. Love your “doggy” stories as well as the “horsey” ones. If you love one, you usually love ALL animals, four-legged or whatever! Thanks kiddo for the read.

    • I’m going to be posting more stories about the other interesting critters I’ve known, as they’re pretty amusing characters as well, thanks!

  4. I love all your stories. I too love big dogs, we’ve always had Irish Wolfhounds. The last one died this past November and I vowed no more. So I was chosen as a rehoming for a Pomeranian! She is 7 and my shadow. Hubby has Jake, the shortbus yellow lab. That’s another story…

    • Lol, now that’s a big difference! From a giant to tiny! I’ve shared time with many amusing and interesting dogs over the years, one of which was an Irish Wolfhound named Mr. Smit, or Smitty as we fondly called him. He was super sweet, and my father spoiled him! Lol

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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