Monday, December 3, 2012

Barking Dogs

We have two dogs ... Sam and Fang. Sam is an Australian Shepherd and Fang is ... well .. I dunno. I found him as a puppy in a culvert where someone threw him to die.

As an off-grid household, we have no lights at night around our property. A few lamps inside but nothing that really illuminates very far outside.

So we (as many homesteaders do) rely on our dogs as an alarm system.

Sam barks all the time. Fang barks sometimes. For particular reasons all his own. Sam has three different barks:

1. "I think I heard/saw something and I'm just barking to let you know that there might be something out there. Just as an FYI. Don't get out of bed."

2. "Hey, master, just wanted to let you know that some dog about a mile away is barking and there might be a problem. No info as of yet, but I'm passing the message along that there might be something happening over there at the other house over a mile away."

3. "I definitely see something and it's standing right there!! Get it, master! Get it! Kill! Kill!"

Bark #1 I hear relatively all night long. Bark #2 is sporadic but usually occurs around 2am on most nights. Full moon nights are the most noisy as the dogs can see further and there's more critters moving around. Dogs have a different threat system than we do. Other animals are major threats. Deer and rabbits? BIG TIME threats that need a serious barking. Cars with muffler problems? Threats. Anything slowing down on the road? Threat! About the only place we agree on the threat is someone walking around the farm at night.

Bark #3 is the only thing that gets me out of bed at night.

Weirdly enough, Sam barks almost constantly at our farmhand Kelly. For the maybe 7 months now that Kelly has worked here (at least 2 days per week) he walks by the dog pen and Sam goes berserk. He's like "Hey, master! There's that guy again! Look out! He's right behind you! Look out!" Sam does not seem to understand that Kelly isn't a serial killer about to stab me in the back of the brain with a pitchfork.

Sam, being an Australian Shepherd, doesn't have very good eyesight either. Sometimes if I'm too far away he runs at me barking like he wants to kill me and eat my liver. Then he gets close enough to recognize me and gets all shamefaced.

I'm a dog guy. I like dogs. Especially Sam. Fang too, mostly, but some days I threaten to throw him in a culvert myself.

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