I imagine it isn’t a normal ranch scene by any means. A half-awake, pajama-clad woman stepping out of the house at first light, with a swirling black and white mass bounding out the front door rushing past, snorting and fanning out in various directions. It doesn’t take long to complete the first order of the day and everyone rushes inside for the morning snack. Food kibbles and fresh water are available for the taking all day long, but for this crew, a good snooze is the choice activity while the man of the house prepares for work and mom starts her day in the kitchen.
We started out with Zoe, the only female of the group. I suppose like women tend to do, she took charge as the straw boss around here. From the very beginning, she let us know the world revolved around her. However, she was worth the trouble. She proved herself as a great watchdog; be it a visitor or a plastic bag blowing across the pasture her Flintstones “Dino” the dinosaur bark alerted us! She chased varmints off, and yet managed to mother little orphaned animals and birds that found a place in our home temporarily. She’s always seemed to know her duties.
At times Zoe seemed lonely so we adopted Bear from JCCARE, a Japanese Chin rescue. He had all the fine qualities we were looking for; house-trained, masculine, laid-back. Zoe was not the least bit interested at first and neither was he with her. They took separate ends of the couch and refused to sleep together. They gazed at one another as if each of the other was an alien. And then, it became apparent that Bear had a very refined side. He let us know he had certain expectations… of visitors. Yes, we began to notice that Bear had a habit of deciding when a guest had been visiting long enough (about 30 minutes). He’d get up, stare boldly at the guest for a few seconds, then walk slowly to the front door and finally look back at the guest with eyes that said, “It’s TIME for you to LEAVE”. Now then, where does one obtain such training? He was also effective at putting the crabby straw boss in her place when she lost her temper, which was often. He would tussle with her for just a bit, then in a flash had her on her back, growling but immobile. Then, in his butler charm he simply walked away as if to say, “That will be enough of that Missy, now settle down.” And, of course she walked away subdued.
Eventually Zoe and Bear found friendship, even though Zoe still occasionally tried to boss Bear around. Zoe was outdoors all day, alongside me as I worked. Bear preferred the cool of the house and the comfort of the couch. Then one day a plea came forth from JCCARE for help fostering incoming chin from the Dallas area. I decided we might try fostering another Japanese Chin just to help out. Why not? Well, FD thought of one important reason. How was I going to handle detaching when adoption time arrived? Good question and concern! I argued that I wouldn’t know without having the experience, and so we plunged forth, thinking we’d get a sweet little girl or a cute little guy. What we ended up with were two BIG boys whose owner had to go to an assisted living facility. Niko and Tori joined our ranch crew making us thankful we had a few acres to deal with!
Niko is a lover. He gets along with everyone, even though he vies with the straw boss to be in charge every now and then. He and Zoe are excellent ranch hands. They both ride with me making the rounds around the 10 acres in the buggy. Niko visits the chickens several times a day. He’s been pecked in the nose a couple of times, but somehow that has only caused him to be all the more interested in them!
Tori is a sweet boy. He’s a gentle giant. He’s timid around people and he appears not to have been socialized much in his life.
He’s afraid of tile floors, so a haphazard hillbilly type runway graces our kitchen and dining area. Tori is terrified to be out of his element so we work gently with him, to acclimate him to guests in our home. The rugs, in time, will be spaced further apart to help him at least manage a little better on tile and gain a little courage! Tori’s gift to the ranch is his boundless joy! When he runs or leaps around, that big, hairy coat is stunning. He also has an unusually long tongue that never seems to go all the way back in his mouth. It gives him and adorable “stupid” look! FD endearingly calls him “Dorkfish”.
Everyone has their niche on a ranch. Every hand has his area of expertise. At the end of the day it matters not whether you chased down a varmint, laid
around being a pool slug all afternoon, or if you did your part picking up sticks after a storm. Maybe you just sat and listened with empathy while mom had a major breakdown
over something you couldn’t understand. A days work on the ranch is about family helping each other. As long as we all get a good meal at the end of the day and we can
flop into bed at night feeling relaxed and happy, then we can call it a successful day!
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…