Tag Archives: life lessons

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