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Friday, March 06 2015

There are levels of being a ranch dog around here:

Baby Cow Dog:

Sometimes useful Cow Dog:(not really)

Retired Cow Dog:

Useful for lots of chores Cow Dog:

"Go-to" Stock Dog:

But there is one role they all want above any other. This spot is not based on experience and working ability but on desire, and good behavior  - The Truck Dawg!

Job Description:

Must accompany Driver on any and all vehicle trips. Must be able to sit in truck unattended for hours on end. Must be a silent buddy who does not stomp on packages, and raid the groceries in the back seat. Must not chew seats, or steering wheels. Must have good record of not peeing in the truck. (This excludes Mesa at the moment.) Must not lick the windows or bark like a damn fool at passing vehicles. (This excludes Cowboy unless you're feeling generous.) Must be a good guard dog who makes having a "club" or car alarm unneccessary. Must be ready at any hour for the moment the car keys jingle.

Now the Bible says that faith moves mountains because if you believe, God will reward that faith. I'm not sure I really understood this concept until I met this dog:

Trace is living proof that if you want something bad enough, if you believe in it, if you have faith, then God will smile on you and move that mountain. This little guy has taught me much about faith. When things don't go his way, if someone takes something from him, he doesn't dwell on it and pout, he darts his little eyes at us, confident that we saw his problem, confident that we'll make it right. And even though we didn't plan to intervene on his behalf, because of his faith, we do. We make it right for him, because he believes we will. The day I made that connection was quite an epiphany.

And it's that same faith that earns him the front seat. He is no more qualified than Dillon or Ranger, but Trace understands the concept that "Chance favors only the prepared mind." He knows what he wants. He prepares himself so that by the first jingle of car keys, Trace can race through the screen door and across the yard and wait at the truck before the other dogs have even noticed you are preparing to leave.

Trace has a PhD in human behavior. He does not occupy his time with silly things. He stares at his world. He is a scientist with a lab coat, marking his clipboard each time the humans do something. So while Dillon is absentmindedly chewing on the Log Of The Day, and Ranger is rolling in cow poop, Trace is studying the variables and analyzing the probability that we are headed to town. Trace makes his notes and acts accordingly and is waiting at the truck before I've even found my purse.

He is a poker player looking for your "tell." Something as simple as moving a purse from the kitchen table to the counter will have him racing through the screen door to wait underneath the truck. Yes, under the truck. He hides like a stowaway, waiting for you to open the door when he can slither inside like a shadow moving across the seat. We see his faith and are moved.

I have seen him wait two hours in the front seat because he saw us pack one box in the kitchen that he knows we only load when we are going to the ranch. I assure you, the Blue Heeler has yet to notice this box even exists, yet like NASA tracking the stars, Trace's computations show him that the red box filling with hamburger buns and corn chips will eventually lead to a road trip to the ranch. And sometimes Trace's faith alone, has gotten the poor Labrador bumped from riding in the cab to riding in the dog box in back of the truck, simply to make room for a little red dog with lots of belief. One cannot help but be charmed by someone who puts so much time, energy, and faith into achieving one goal.

The pinnacle of Truck Dawg trips is working the Livestock show. Every year Other Half works the show, checking in exhausted exhibitors who have driven across Texas, who fight the traffic of a metropolitan city with bleary eyes and a loaded stock trailer. And every year, these tired travelers are welcomed by a fellow rancher who answers their questions and gets them set up. And little Trace is right there, sitting in the truck, studying, taking his own inventory of stock trailers. He is Ralphie in the Christmas Story, daydreaming of the day the bulls get loose and someone needs a Border Collie to keep them off the freeway.

He will save the day! He will be the Morning News story. He will make the Yahoo News! He will be a viral internet sensation! He will star on The Tonight Show!

Or maybe - maybe he'll just sit in the truck, waiting, waiting to be needed. Because that's what makes a good truck dog.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:05 am   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
He may be the Troll, but he is learning to be a really good dog. Atta boy, Trace!
Posted by Patty on 03/06/2015 - 07:06 PM
Oh yes, he is a good dog. In fact, at the Livestock Show someone tried to buy him from Other Half last night. The man offered him $100 for the dog. Other Half told him he wouldn't take $5000 for that dog.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 03/07/2015 - 09:37 AM
People who are that ignorant/insulting drive me crazy. They don't even know how far off the mark they are, and they don't want to learn.
Posted by Patty on 03/07/2015 - 09:43 AM
Yeah, he didn't know any better. Trace is a nifty little dog. Folks just don't know how much work goes into shaping a good dog. Plus, our dogs are family members thus no one is for sale. The only way we let one go is if the home is clearly better than we can provide. Trace has a pretty good life with us and he's happy. Thus, he's not for sale.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 03/07/2015 - 12:18 PM
My old Border collie Chico (RIP) had two most favorite activities: going for a ride and waiting by a vehicle to go for a ride. Really miss him.
Posted by Peg H. in Wisconsin on 03/08/2015 - 06:41 PM
Your dogs worship the one who controls the fast running beast... :-)
Posted by Eric on 03/09/2015 - 12:33 PM

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