My grandkids are going on vacation hither and yon–hither being Utah and yon being any place between their house and Utah. We’re watching their dog again like we did last year (see the Dust Mop with Legs) so again we have our main dog, an eighty pound Airedale and a back up dog, an eight pound dust mop with legs. If our main dog breaks down and is unable to fulfill its duties of lying around, licking itself in inappropriate places, and warning us when suspicious rabbits, birds and blowing leaves with dubious intentions go across our yard, we now have a backup dog to fill in.
The two dogs have known each other since they were pups. When they were little they played constantly. The Airedale had to lie down on her side for them to play, but they played. Now that they’re older, when they see each other, one grabs a ball and the other grabs the tug-o-war rope. They look at each other for a moment then drop the toys and go lay down. I imagine at this point in life, the memories are enough.
Sometimes it seems as if the two dogs aren’t aware another dog is in the house. The little dog will scratch its chin with its hind leg. When it does its foot will pound on the floor.

“There’s someone knocking at the door!” The Airedale barks.
“I hear it, too!” the dust mop barks back.
Off to the door they run barking for five minutes until I open it and show them nobody is there. Then they look at me suspiciously as if I’m playing some kind of trick on them.
Going for a walk with the two dogs by myself is a treat comparable to trying to untie the Gordian Knot blindfolded and wearing mittens. I take them out on a country blacktop with both of them on leashes. The little dog is about the size of a toaster but not nearly as intelligent. She doesn’t have a clue where we are going, but she’s sure we’re late. She trucks straight down the road at the end of her leash with her head down. She doesn’t sniff, look around or go to the bathroom. There’s no time to go to the bathroom. We are already late. If she stops to go to the bathroom, we’ll miss out on the hors d’ oeuvres and happy hour.

The Airedale is just the opposite. She sniffs everything: pop cans, discarded food wrappers, pieces of dirt on the road, patches of grass in the ditch…

Hey, some dog peed here!”

She’s right, it was her yesterday, but she can’t figure that out because she has the brains of an eggplant—and I’m not talking a top-of-its-class, valedictorian eggplant. To her everything might be a rabbit: a clump of dirt might be a rabbit; a pile of leaves might be a rabbit; a blade of grass might be a tall, skinny, green rabbit. The only way she knows for sure is by charging full speed at it to see if it hops away. I’ve only taken her for walks for the last six years so she hasn’t figured out yet that she’s on a leash. She hits the end of the leash at full speed, popping my arm out of its socket and flipping her backward. Slowly she gets up and looks at me.

“What happened?”
And then she sees it: THE LITTLE DOG IS IN THE LEAD!!
Now she runs to get ahead of the little dog, hits the end of the leash, flips onto her back, pops my arm out …
The return home is even better. I get them turned around, and now the little dog is in even a bigger hurry, because the stupid human took us down the wrong road. So now we have to backtrack, and we’re going to be REALLY late. They won’t wait for us, and we’ll miss the soup and salad, and the show will already be started. She strains at the end of her leash, her claws digging into the pavement as she tries to hurry us up..
The big dog has been through this before. She loves walks and never wants them to end. My wife and I could tag team taking her for walks and she’d never get enough. The Airedale knows when we turn around it means we’re going home and the walk is going to end. So she sulks. She lags behind until she hits the end of her leash. Taking her for a walk turns into taking her for a drag.
So here I am on a lonely country road with a little dog out on in front on the end of its leash straining to hurry up, and a big dog way behind at the end of its leash straining not to go. If it were the opposite way with the big dog wanting to get home and the little one lagging behind, I could just tie the ends of the leashes together and let the big one pull the little one home–I wouldn’t even have to be there. As it is I end up pulling the big one up to me then letting the little one go out to the end of both leashes, and then pulling up the big one and letting the little one go out. We head slowly toward home like some giant inchworm, until the big dog sees a REAL RABBIT!.
IN THE STICKS            Graves $3.99                 COUNTY OPS
$4.99 at Amazon                                                     still 99 cents

About thewritingdeputy

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for 26 years until he retired in 2013. He has published three novels: In The Sticks, Graves of His Personal Liking and County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald. He tries to keep his blog light and humorous and sometimes downright silly.
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  1. Gerri Bowen says:

    Loved it. 🙂 So true.

  2. agnesalexander100 says:

    Funny. Were you a stand-up comic in your other life?

  3. Skye-writer says:

    Love your sense of humor. When I lived on the shore in Maine, I had a dog who loved to romp along the shore and it was the kind of place I could let him do so off leash. Even though he’d originally been trained to heal and walk nicely on a leash, it had been years since this had been the way of things. But one winter day we had set out as usual along the shore and it turned out to be treacherously icy. I finally decided that rather than go back the way we’d come, we would take the next driveway up to the road and come home that way. Because Amos was both old and deaf by then, I scrounged around the beach until I found a piece of rope I could use as a leash once we got to the road. He was happy to take the new detour, but as soon as I tied the rope to his collar he sat down and looked at me as if I’d betrayed him in some way.

    “Really? A leash? I don’t do leashes!” And he refused to budge.

    So I ended up dragging him. No easy feat since he weighed about 75 pounds. He let his head loll to the side and anyone seeing us would be sure I was abusing my dog. So, every time I heard a car coming we stopped. I had a reputation to maintain. It took way longer than it should have to reach our driveway, but once there I untied him and immediately he perked up and trotted happily down the drive as if he hadn’t just given me grief.

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