Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

As the Tail Wags

Dog and Pony Show

The loyalty of a dog is an amazing thing. To have an amazing horse that works better for you than anyone else, plus the company of a great dog that looks at you, like the world revolves around you, is incredibly wonderful. I know, because I had that.
That dog went everywhere with me. Her training began as soon as I got her, and continued most of her life. From ten weeks old, she learned to sit and stay. We started with a couple of feet, and gradually increased the distance, until she stayed wherever I told her to. She was incredibly adorable, what with her crying in her little puppy whimpers that increased in volume, as I walked away. The sheer joy, when I would ask her to come to me was the cutest thing ever. Those short, little legs would move as fast as they could, as she raced to rejoin me. As she grew and matured, her training level increased with her. She learned to hold a horse by the lead or reins for me, and got onto my old pickup truck on command.
“Chum, go get in the truck.”
She would run and quickly jump into the cab, either through an open window or open door. If I wanted her in the box instead, I only had to change the command.
“Not in there, Chum. Get in the back.”
Without hesitation, she would leave the cab and jump into the back.
Sometimes she rode in the truck, sometimes she ran alongside, but she always went along when I travelled the mile to the horses. Likewise when I rode out.
Once, she accidentally touched the electric fence as she passed under it. Letting out a yip of surprise, as the end of her tail was snapped by the shock, she tucked her tail between her legs and kye yied all the way home. Chasing after her in the truck, I called to her but she was having none of it. Some invisible monster had surely bitten her, and there was a darn good chance it was hot on her heels. It took a good deal of cajoling and reassuring before she’d get back in the truck, and even then, she appeared extremely concerned. That worried expression on her pretty face and expressive eyes increased as we pulled back into the yard. Surely, I didn’t expect her to get out of the truck, not with an invisible monster lurking about?
Chum stayed in the truck until I rode up the driveway and turned onto the road. Then and only then, she’d leave the safety of the truck to race after me. On our return, she’d jump back into the truck. Never again did she wander around the farmyard. Apparently, it wasn’t worth the risk.
That dog, put on twice the miles, the horses did. She had to catch up on the daily news, all the scents of passing critters and the like, nosing out anything interesting, yet catching up to me, too. She was absolutely obedient, until little Tuffy came along. That scoundrel tried my patience, though I suppose being dumped in the middle of winter, and having to fend for yourself for a few months, allowed Tuffy some leeway. Tuffy loved to chase rabbits, and he was fast, too. If we could remind him to be obedient before he took off after one, the chase could usually be stopped before it really got started. Except for one, very memorable time I will never forget.
It was winter, and we were out riding on a crisp, sunny day. It was the kind of day where the snow sparkled and shimmered, and the landscape was hard to really see. Travelling along a road that rose up between gravel hills where the town of OakBank used to be, before it moved to be beside the rails when the train tracks were laid. We were nearing the cemetery that still existed there, when a jack rabbit burst out of the snow in a flurry of action. Just like that, Tuffy and Chum were after it. Now, Chum had been taught not to chase any critters, yet when your buddy does something exciting, the impulse to react the same way, is very strong.
“Chum! Tuffy! Come!”
It took calling the command twice to stop Chum. There was no stopping Tuffy. He had dinner in his sights. The thrill of the chase was too strong. The rabbit beelined it straight at the chainlink fence running across the front of the cemetery. It didn’t look like anything good was going to come from this. Tuffy was hot on the big Jack’s furry, white feet. So close, he could surely imagine tasting it. Our calls fell on deaf ears.
Then it happened. Quick as, well … a bunny, that white Jack rabbit scooted under the fence. Tuffy wasn’t quite so fortunate. He hit that fence at full speed. I never knew that a chainlink fence had that much give or flex to it. Nor did I know that it could be spring loaded. That little, white, stocky dog hit that fence with such force that it gave before him, then launched him a good ten feet backwards, right onto his furry dog butt.
As amazed and relieved as we were that he hadn’t broken his little, fool neck, the expression he wore was unbelievably hilarious. Happily enough, that incident cured him of chasing rabbits. How he didn’t need a chiropractor after that, I’ll never know.

  1. Too much snow for me!!!!!!!❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️❄️⛄️

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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