Saturday, January 17, 2009

Tale of a big dog....

Things have been crazy here, but it's time for the story of Nana.

For a number of weeks after the death of our Elvis (was nuttin' but a hound dog!), this place was very, very quiet. Even with three other dogs, I'd come to understand that Elvis had been the keeper of the alarm system. He was the one that let me know when something was 'up'.

While every bit of reasonable thought would indicate that even on a large acreage farm three dogs should be enough, I'll go into a little background, so you understand.

We have Bailey:


Bailey came here to live 7 years ago, about two weeks before my darling daughter went off to college. We were, at the time, looking for a 'large breed dog' and the dear girl went to the orthodontist and stopped at the pet center and lo, and behold, fell madly in love.

(If it's ever been doubted that she is a child of my heart and soul, this would be confirmation).

Bailey, it turned out was part whippet. We discovered this after she was hit by a car and required surgery to her tiny little hips. Bailey could happily set off metal detectors and sits, walks and wags sideways because of her metal enhanced hip and leg. She is loving and good, visits and protects the senior neighbor lady and will occasionally, but only occasionally be 'Bailey to the rescue in time of trouble'. Bailey LOVES to catch squirrels and is good at snake removal. She's a gem of a doggie.

We have Daisy:


This little love was pitched from a car... like so many abandoned animals, she has issues. When she arrived she was too fat to walk. We feared the sudden appearance of puppies, but alas, in the 6 or so years of her life with us, no puppies have been forthcoming. We discovered that she has an 'eating disorder'. The poor girl will eat a 50 pound bag of dog food without stopping.... She would literally eat herself to death. After we convinced her that she would have to stay with us (and eat moderately and exercise), she's been a devoted little sidekick. She sits and rocks back and forth and seldom lets you touch her, but she's ours and we love her. Her farm job is be the alert animal for the deer who use the garden as a buffet. She's excellent at it. (most of the time)

And we have Maggie:


Maggie came to live with us 4 year ago, when my aunt 'broke up housekeeping' and moved to live with her daughter, after my uncle died. Maggie simply got in my car, that last day before the rescue group came to get her... as if to say she was choosing her own destiny. Like all cockers, she's bright and devoted. But then she went blind... totally, completely blind.
(That may be a story for another day - the life of accommodations for a blind dog.) She's amazing, she really is.

But these three combine to be a perfectly 'useless' farm dog welcoming committee. They will wiggle, wag and lick a stranger to death. "Get out and come on in" they say...

And I NEED a warning system... in the weeks after Elvis' death, I had several incidences of what rural folks would consider 'trespassing'. Trespassing makes country folk 'jumpy'. Too much 'jumpy' is not a good thing. One of the visitors was a process server, who got completely around to my chicken coops without my being aware of his presence. He was looking for someone named Doris... uh.. NO! The first week in December, two young men drove up and got out and took a look around, unaware of the fact that I was watching them from the upstairs windows. When I made my presence known, they nearly killed themselves getting back into the car and leaving. Farm women who are sneakily watching you case their property from upstairs windows are SCARY things. 4 burglaries happened in our small neighborhood that day. I NEEDED a serious dog.

I needed size that said "stay in the car". I needed a big deep booming voice. I needed an appearance that said "I'm serious as a heart attach"... I needed smart... I really, really needed smart. I needed young enough to be able to train. I needed good and calm with the family, but the good sense to know what guard dog needs to know. AND I needed a dog that will not kill the other farm animals or the neighbors cows. Not too much to ask for... right?

So, I go to the shelter. For four days, consecutively, and quickly eliminated all but two contenders. Getting to the point, the end choice was a large, brindle Bouvier/German Shepherd cross pup. Right at 7 1/2 months old. She came with papers, from the breeder forward. She's obviously been loved and cared for and much effort had been made to make her 'work' for her initial owners. Obviously from the trail of paperwork, no expense was spared. When I contacted the vet of record, they were relieved to discover that the dog was headed to a farm, with experienced people. They assured me that she was not a 'bad dog' but one that had not been what her former owners needed.

Upon paying the fee, the guard went to release the dog and he somehow 'missed' in getting a leash on her and a wild, crazy romp ensued. She ran down the poor guy, who was thoroughly disgusted with both me and my new pet and wanted us to LEAVE. I opened the door to my van, and she leapt from 5 feet away and skidded into the passenger area, slamming into the opposing wall of the van. Hmm.... I began to wonder...

So, we came home:

OH, JOY! Cats to herd!

herding cats

And a big boy to play with : "Is he trying to ride me?"


An interesting pond to reflect in: This is when we figured out that she could best be called camo-colored.


A color coordinated 'dad'...

camo anyone?

Toys of all kinds, both storebought and found:


Rivers to explore:


Woods to race about in, accompanied by people who love to be outdoors:


Cats to kiss:


Feet to lick, after you've gotten mom all muddy:


Proof that you got mom all muddy:



People to love on you, when you're loopy from being spayed:


Cute big sis and blind dog to play fetch with:


At the end of the day, when she sits down on my feet, I'm really glad she's here. I wish her former owners, who had to have loved her, could know that she's found her true home. A job to do, a place to 'own', a family who loves her already... these things are no small feat for a dog from a kill shelter. On two occasions now, not only has she alerted me to visitors, but she's discriminatory between family and friends that she's met and people that she doesn't know. Her mere size and presence has kept two sets of strangers safely in their vehicles.

"Lady, we didnt' get out because that sure is a BIG dog"... uh huh... that she is.
"Good girl, Nana".

She came with a name... a name that she did not answer to and that did not suit a farm dog.
I need a name that I can go around hollering for without seeming like I've lost it completely. (yeah, yeah, that's debatable, I know...)
You need a name that 'goes' with Bailey and Daisy and Maggie...

Her name is Nana... after the keeper of the nursery in the story Peter Pan.

She's our 'big girl' and we love her.

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