Saturday, February 16, 2008


I took Jesse with me to the feed store and stocked up on my diminished supplies. Jesse loves going to the store, and had to be talked into getting back in the van to come home. There were two people there who hadn't cuddled him! It smells so good there! The guys were charmed by Jesse's woo woos of complaint, and the way he uses his body to let me know he doesn't like what I'm asking him to do, and makes it very clear what he does want me to let him do. They were also disappointed I hadn't brought Charlie. "Where's that big dog? I don't know his name, I call him Polar." This about the dog who gets in their faces as they try to load my van with hay and feed sacks. He's not aggressive about it, but he really isn't sure about people coming in his van, even if they are putting things in. He wants to get a good smell of them. I have to get in and keep him from getting out to really check out the place.

Charlie was locked in with the sheep, so when I got home I just opened the gate to unload.


Jesse and Ursa took the opportunity to go walkabout. Millie had been barking down at the corner of her field, but the neighbors were out making noise, I thought she was barking at them. I had forgotten that the last time I let Jesse and Ursa out together while I did chores, they took themselves off for a walk.

Last time they went up the hill, where we go for walks, on our property. I found them on their way back. That's the most interesting area, so that's where I went to look for them. Usually I go down the hill first to find any missing animals, since that's the area towards danger, but up is more interesting, and up is where they went last time. No footprints. Not of dogs, that is. Nice footprints of a raccoon heading up, and very clear, recent prints of a deer heading down. No dogs. So I went down the hill. No footprints, but this direction is gravel not mud. No dogs. No answer to my calls.

The neighbor dog was barking, and I've been curious about whose dog that is and what kind, so I walked up the road towards the noise. This large, grey dog, obviously young, is tied out a ways away from the house, poor thing. No wonder he barks a lot. As I was walking back down the road I saw some moving white in the trees. I waited until two cars went by to call out, and sure enough it was Jesse. Ursa wasn't far behind. They were checking out the log house, the one that's been for sale for ages, the one that the sheep liked to go visit to mow the lawn last summer, and that has a new car and trailer parked there. They probably followed the deer scent down, and then got interested in the new rig.

Jesse came up to me with that "you really love me and aren't mad, right?" look. Ursa laid down on the grass.

Ursa, 13 with severe arthritis and a tumor hanging off her jaw, was tired and sore and didn't want to walk back. I massaged her back and legs, and she agreed to move to our road. We spent a long time walking the 1/4 mile back to the house, stopping frequently for rubs, rests and encouragement. Once home she got all her feel-good pills, and another massage.

This is the dog who was walking out on the county road, crossing the road. Thankfully those two cars I waited for were the only ones to come by while we were there. It isn't a busy road. But really, a gimpy CO and a Samoyed with two bad knees, on a road with no shoulder. There aren't many cars use the road, but it only takes one car to hit a dog.

They are both such stick-around dogs, I used to have them out with me all the time while I did out-of-the-fence chores. Until one day several months ago they went walkabout. They haven't been out since except for walks with me. Except for today, when I forgot I could no longer trust them. Tonight we are all inside the fence, and we are all tired.

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