Friday, July 20, 2012

City Girl Lessons

My garage and meditation area.
These days, the lessons are coming hard and fast. Everything I thought I knew dissolves like sugar in water. And speaking of water, I just learned hard lesson last night amidst a raging thunder and lightening storm:

Before showering, for the love of God, make sure you have water so as to avoid jumping out - soaped up and naked - to grab the drinking water jug to rinse your pits and other dark parts.

After a lifetime of having endless water at my disposal, I still have to remember I won't have water if I don't fetch it myself. Being a stoner version of Laura Ingalls has its challenges.

Here's another fine lesson I learned earlier this week:

If you think the dog is lost, you're probably wrong. 

Yup. I was coming down a dirt road - something I go out of my way to do - and came upon a solitary dog in the middle of nowhere. I stopped. He wagged and I checked for a tag - nope. Next thing I know, he's in the truck, anointing my dashboard with long strings of drool.

I take him to the nearest farm. He gets out but has no reaction other than to keep looking at me and wagging. Also, nobody is home. We keep driving and pass another farm. He acts kind of anxious so I back up to take him there, "Is this where you live, boy?" 

I quickly discover that the dog is anxious because they have a horse in their yard and he'd like to bark at it and/or eat it. His blood curdling passion for the horse nearly runs us off the road and I keep driving. Honestly, I have no other ideas - there is no 'pound' or animal shelter that I know of in the area so I take him back to SCRANCH and I call Evelyn, my Filipina neighbor: 

"Can you bring over some dog food?"
"You got dog?"
"No, I found him. I think he's lost. Maybe. I don't know. Hey, do you have a leash?"
"Leash? What is that?"

Mind you, English is not Evelyn's first language so there are still words that trip her up but in this case, she was actually ahead of me.

There are no leashes here. No leash laws. No dog parks. No pooper scoopers. No half gallon jugs with plastic bags. No doggie daycares. Why? Because here, dogs are just dogs. They run free, they chase tires and they pee and poop wherever they want because there is so much damn space, they can. Nobody has to "walk the dog" and with the exception of a blizzard, most of the dogs I've met are never allowed in the house. Cats too, for that matter.

In fact, Evelyn's husband, Powerful Pierre, has a dog named Preacher. He's so adamant about chasing tires - and especially Pierre's because he doesn't want him to ever leave - that Pierre has run over him twice. Both dog and owner remain unfazed.

My other neighbor, Manny, got a flat tire and brought it to town to be fixed. The mechanic took one look and said, "I see you've been visiting Danny's place." He then pulled a dog's tooth out of the tire and told Manny the guy's dog popped two other tires the week before but with the tooth gone, he might slow down a bit. "Sad too. That dog brings me a lot of business."

So that's where I live now, in a place where dogs live outside full time and eat cars.

ANYWAY, so I bring this strapping male Lab back to the homestead and go about my business. Evelyn comes with the chow and he ignores it, though he's very thirsty. He follows me around wherever I go - to the garden, to the shed, to the shop. Of course, I'm loving his presence but that all changes when I turn my back at one point and he lunges at me from behind, with amorous intent. I get long painful scratches down my back and suddenly, I'm scared.

Twice more it happens and I realize that this dog is now fully aroused and too strong for me and I can never turn my back on him. So, I go in the trailer and leave him outside. He whines at the door. I get into my pajamas and into bed, not knowing what else to do. Shit, I was exhausted before I even saw this dog and now I'm ready to cry.

I've texted Brent earlier in the evening and he finally shows up and starts making, "You missing a dog?" kind of calls. No luck.

At this point, I feel like an idiot. With Brent there, I feel safer around the dog, who lays at my feet, wagging his tail. He's not a bad dog, just blind with lust for yours truly. And really, who can blame him? Since I've moved to NoDak, my suitors include a pre-teen boy and a stolen dog so romantically, I'm off to a roaring start.

Brent loads the dog in the red pick-up bed and off we go to take him back where we found him. The dog is in sheer heaven, ears flying in the wind as he overlooks the passing fields. "He's used to riding in the truck, that's for sure," Brent says.

As we drive and turn down the gravel road, it clicks in Brent's head. "Ahhhhhhh! I know whose dog this is! It's Al Petersen's! It's the same dog that chase everyone who comes down the lane." We pull into the homestead where I had first taken him and Brent has to drag the big dog out of the truck - he does not want to go. "I can drive faster than you can run," Brent says to the dog, and for awhile, I'm not so sure - that dog could really fly! Finally, Brent lays on the gas and the dog disappears into a cloud of dust.

I curl up in a ball on the front seat. "I feel so foolish," I mumble. Brent laughs and then gives a gentle lecture about how country dogs are different from city dogs and pretty independent creatures. Generally, dogs don't get lost out here, they just have much bigger 'yards', as it were.

We drive through the tiny town of Leroy and pull up to Chizzy's bar. "Wanna drink?" Though I'm still in my PJs, I agree that the day certainly warrants some booze. We go in, meet up with friends of Brent's and drink all night, telling stories, including this one. 


The next day, I'm driving down the same road with Evelyn on our way to town. She wants to know where I found the dog. We go past the farm and here he comes, ripping down the lane, his face is THRILLED to see me and the truck again.

"There he is!" I say.
"Oh, look! He's lost again!" says Evelyn, howling with laughter.

So at least it's getting funnier. 


quirkychick said...

So I guess in addition to keeping dogs outdoors where they run free, they don't neuter'em either?

Hilarious story Heather.

You shouldn't be surprised, everyone loves you!

Heather Clisby said...

No, not really. Wouldn't be rugged enough.

Heidi's heart said...

I really was hoping you'd have a canine friend.

Would like to know more about Brent. He sure spends a tremendous amount of time helping you. How does he get his own work done? And what is the association between you? Is he a friend of a relative? I read all the posts, but perhaps I missed where you explained how he came into your life.

Heidi's heart said...

The photo you have chosen as your signature photo is gorgeous. A good choice.

Heather Clisby said...

Brent grew up on the farm and I have known him my entire life. His father, Perry, was my grandfather's right hand man, helping him run the farm. We have leased the land to Brent for decades now and I think that technically, he is a distant cousin. These days, he is mainly my teacher and friend. I could not do any of this without him and had to get his blessing before I even started. He works constantly doing one thing or another - does not know how to say "no" to anyone, including me.