Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Smallest Critter on the Farm

July 25, 02

Normally, I'm not a little dog fan, but our neighbors ended up with an unexpected litter of puppies this spring, and my wife decided to get her mother a lap dog. We got the pick of the litter. It is a Shitzu/Miniature Dachshund mix, which means that it is a furry, long-bodied, low rider with hair around his eyes in big dishes like an owl. He has half a nose and stubby legs that seem like optional accessories. He has a brown/black, almost brindle coat with a light under down ending in dark tips. He fits quite conveniently in my jacket pocket when I go to do barn chores on chilly mornings.

It turns out that he is really quite the clown and my mother-in-law gets a pretty big kick out of him. He piles up toys in one spot under the dining room table, and then sleeps in them resembling that scene of E.T. in the closet among the stuffed animals.

His favorite toy is a small plastic butter dish with a lid on it. He chases that thing around like a hockey puck. The other day out in the barn, my wife gave him a butter dish with water in it. He took one drink then grabbed the far side of the cup in his jaws and carried it off, succeeding in spilling it all over his chest and the lane. At the far end of the lane he dropped it, looked around, then grabbed the near side of the butter dish in his jaws, which succeeded in totally enclosing his head in a little yellow helmet. He then came racing back down the lane only to smash into an open stall door. After pulling his head out of the dish, he did a whole body shake, and looked all around with a look that said, "I meant to do that, you know."

He plays like a big dog. He's all jaws and pin teeth. Our Golden Retriever, Riley, lies down on the floor on his back so that the pup can maul him. Our Aussie, Sprocket, tolerates him for the most part, but doesn't play much. Riley and the puppy will get going chasing each other. The puppy will make a dive at Riley as he goes flying by, and the pup usually ends up with a mouthful of yellow fleece. Once in a while, though, he will get hold of the tip of Riley's tail and hold on for dear life. The puppy looks like a water skier zipping across our wooden floors until they reach the end of the kitchen where Riley makes a sharp U-turn at which point the pup goes crashing into the wall. Undaunted the pup keeps coming back for more.

He definitely has a big dog attitude and doesn't seem afraid of anything. More than once he has come too close to our goats and sheep, and has been sent rolling like tumbleweed in a desert wind.

Our biggest problem was coming up with a name for him. First, we decided to let my mother-in-law name him. All that she could come up with was "Tiny". Deb and I thought that was a pretty ho-hum name, so the naming chore went to Deb. She started calling him "Little Bit". But I still didn't like that. Then she came up with "Ein Bischen", which is German for a little bit. I didn't much care for that one either.

Then one day, I was watching the puppy yelping at one of our cats perched on an unreachable shelf. It was a surprisingly loud bark for a dog that size. The cats mostly just glare down at him in disdain. That made me think of a perfect name for him: Bob..... Bob Barker. He had been given to us free of charge. The price was right. And he is a big barker. The name stuck.

Surprisingly, I found that I like Bob so much that I was thinking of contacting the neighbor again and getting another one just like him, so that he would have a playmate more his own size. My wife said, NO though, and threatened that if I do get another dog, she will banish it to the paddock with my camel. Well, I haven't decided what to do yet, but if I decide to be bold enough to actually get one, I've come up with a name for it. I'm going to call him King...... King Arfer of the Camel Lot.

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