Tag Archives: dogs

Meanwhile Back at The Ranch: Life is TWO Good

If you asked me if I liked even or odd numbers, I would say “odd.”  There is something about the numbers one, three, and five that intrigue me.  You would never know this fact based on what’s going on out here at the ranch.

Cats: When we moved to the country in 2004 we brought along our two cats.  Of course, back then we were “city” people, and I won’t even begin to tell you the exorbitant amount of money that was spent on each of them.  A third cat eventually joined the group but died of an unknown illness.  Really, I insisted on an autopsy…of a cat…and the findings were indeterminate.  We were left with two.

Horses: Our Mustang, Jet, came to live with us because our neighbors had one too many horses.  We were clueless new horse owners, but our friends are very experienced and have followed through on their promise to guide us in the right direction.  “The right direction” included buying a horse friend for Jet.  Roxy came to live with us just a few months after Jet’s arrival.  It was great fun watching them get to know each other while they lived in the midst of all the goats.

Cats….again: Last summer my husband brought home two three week old kittens who had lost their mother.  He claimed we needed barn cats.  Here’s a little secret….we didn’t have a barn.  We nursed them along and let them stay in the garage with a heat lamp during this cold winter.  They are our outside cats.  They enjoy bird watching and hopping in my car when I am late for work. Continue reading Meanwhile Back at The Ranch: Life is TWO Good

2011 Ranch Hand Guide: #5. You Can’t Keep Trouble From Visitin’, But You Don’t Have To Offer It a Chair

The country life is so different from the life I lived in the city.  The one thing both places have in common is they both have their own kind of trouble. Some of it just shows up and is hard to avoid, yet there is that certain kind of trouble that we bring on ourselves.  I guess I need to rely on one of our former presidents Teddy Roosevelt for some help with this one:  If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.

The Seed

One of the worst situations I can recall since I’ve been living out in the country happened the summer my dog, Mae (Pay It Forward), made her appearance on our front porch.  It never occurred to me that a mean dog could show up as well.  One rainy afternoon, a full-grown pit bull appeared in our backyard.

We called the police (it’s a small town…that’s what you do), and the policeman told me that they had recently passed a law banning pit bulls in my county unless the owners complied with the provisions stated in the resolution; I lived on the county line, and the policeman guessed that someone had just traveled there to get rid of the dog to avoid the $100,000 liability insurance required to keep it.

The policeman stated that the dog appeared to have been abused and was a trained fighter.  I was scared and sick to my stomach when I heard the gunshot in the dark.  The policeman guessed how upset I would be.  He came in and told me how sorry he was that he had to put that poor stray down in my yard.  It had attacked his partner. Trouble visited that night, and it was something that I could not control.  (Note:  I have nothing against pit bulls.  This dog just happened to be one of the many unlucky pit bulls that had a heartless owner.)


My dog, Mae, spent her first summer with me as an outside dog, but because we don’t have a fenced yard, we decided to kennel her when I went back to work.  We still spent lots of time outside, so when she took an interest in the farm road in front of our house, I saw how Trouble was interested in visiting again.  My dog was great, but she was stubborn and would not come when I called her.  She thought it was a game and would run away…sometimes down the middle of the road.  I can’t tell you how many times I would have to stand in the middle of the road hoping the cars saw me just so I could protect her.  I know.  That was stupid.  I realized I was offering Trouble a chair by continuing to overlook this flaw in my dog.  No.  It was a flaw in how I trained my dog.  This was my fault because she was my responsibility.

Continue reading 2011 Ranch Hand Guide: #5. You Can’t Keep Trouble From Visitin’, But You Don’t Have To Offer It a Chair

Introducing Tonks

Tonks Roberts - Our new Malamute Puppy

My husband and I got our first puppy approximately six months after we were married.  It wasn’t until years later that I learned getting a puppy at that particular point in a married life was a typical thing.

Get married, get settled, then…get puppy.  “Futz” Roberts (so named by Mick after a tame wolf who used to hang out at a bar in Stillwater) was half Australian Shepherd and half Samoyed.  He was the first dog of our hearts, and we loved him dearly.  There are stories I could tell. Oh, there are definitely stories.  But even now, I’m not ready to write them.  I still miss him and he’s been gone for over ten years.

Our second dog was adopted a few months after Futzie died.  I named him Bojangles because that week I happened to be in a Nitty Gritty Dirt Band mood.  He was billed as “half Husky and Half shepherd” by the shelter, but he looked a little like a golden retriever. Except that he was brown. And, he had a spotted tongue like a Chow.  Bojangles was a really sweet soul and he died too young.  The urban legend we’ve created in our family is that Bo saved us from a poisonous snake he battled in our back yard at night that might otherwise have hurt us.  It’s true that he was a great guard dog. And he would take on whatever animal happened to venture beyond the borders of our fence into his territory.  And it’s true that we’ve discovered more than our share of poisonous snakes since we’ve lived here.  However, we’re just not sure what really happened to our dog.  One day Mick walked out into the back yard and thought Bo had been sleeping a little too long.  He had.  That was another sad, sad day.

Continue reading Introducing Tonks

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch: Pay it Forward

By Julie Allgyer

Julie and Mae
Julie & Mae

It has happened more than once.  A cold, wet, tweenage dog shivering on a stranger’s front porch. Who knows what goes through people’s minds as they toss the last of the litter out of their vehicle?

But what if it really isn’t that way?  What if the puppy owner is deliberately placing a dog on the porch of a stranger to Pay It Forward?

Mae joined our team as a walk-on in May of 2008.

Early one morning, I noticed something odd through the satellite windows at the front door … a scary feeling out in the middle of the country at 6AM.  I calmed my fears, smoothed my linen skirt, and opened the door.  A muddy puppy.  Hmmm.

Pay it Forward.

With three indoor cats already on the roster, we decided that Mae needed to be an outside dog.  However, she quickly worked her way into our hearts and into our home.

Over the past three years my “free” dog has cost me countless holes in blankets, a door, the window trim (she broke out of a locked kennel) and most recently a car radio.  But even as I sit here wearing shorts with part of the back pocket torn off, preparing to put on pajamas with one strap chewed in half, I can’t help but love this dog.

"Mom look at the SPIDER DOG!"

Mae went through a ten-week obedience class and barely passed…but she passed and she has the certificate to prove it.  She proudly donned a tarantula costume during the March of Dogs to benefit the Hardeman County Humane Society.  She performed flawlessly in the Christmas parade with eleven other rescued dogs.

A complete stranger gifted me the best dog anyone could ever hope to own.  I hope that I prove to her daily that my life has been changed for the better since her arrival.

Pay it Forward.

Last Friday my husband brought home two three-week old kittens that had lost their mother.  Within twenty-four hours they had a new mom…and it wasn’t me.

(Click photo below to see video of Mae mothering our baby kittens.)

Pay it Forward.