Buddy, likely a direct descendant of the salty dog who once belonged to the Dread Pirate Roberts of PRINCESS BRIDE fame.
Looks like the weather is changing in the North Country. 60s and 70s for the next week. A couple of rainy days but mostly dry. I was hoping we would skip mud season this year. Has happened once before since I moved here. Insects are out but no sign of the dreaded black flies yet. They’re worse than mosquitoes. Kind of like a gnat. Fly in clouds and get into your eyes, ears, nose and orifice known to man and woman. But they sting. Nasty little things that mostly die out when it dries up here.
My faithful dogs, Jack and Buddy, are right at this very minute outside guarding the trash can. Jack is a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Like the Queen’s, before she had to put her last one to sleep. I am still in mourning over hers passing, and over the passing of Jack’s half-sister Sissy last year. Miss her terribly. Jack is a loyal guard dog. Don’t let his size fool you. Those muscular legs have taken him up MT Washington and MT Adams, the two tallest peaks in New England.
Haven’t seen signs of black bears yet up here but I’m sure they are out of hibernation now. And they are HUNGRY when they first come out! Bird feeders should be brought in and trash not put outside until right before collection. Otherwise you are tempting the bears——and fate. If they find some food they will be back and back and back again.
I just don’t understand the people who own chickens up here. You have to lock down the coop like Fort Knox to keep the bears, weasels, coyotes, foxes and other hungry critters out of there. The woods is Definitely not the place for chickens!
Believe it or not, the people in town see more bears than we do in the country. The primary reasons? Open dumpsters. And bird feeders. And people who feed them like they’re pets.
Annually, we have bear hunting season up in the North Country to minimize over-population. But I think that, about this time of year, they should have bear-feeding human open season. Just to cull the herd. Sort of like Darwin’s Natural Selection season for Homo sapiens. All those who own chickens or have bird feeders out or garbage out or dumpsters wide open all week should be on the menu. And a week after it’s over we can start Those Humans Who Feed Deer season. I’ll have to bring that up at the next Town Meeting. Have to keep the human species sharper than the wild animal species, after all…
As you can probably sense, I really like wild animals and look at them as having their natural place in God’s Order in the woods. But I don’t much like the two-legged variety of wild animal, though. Which is why I live in the woods, away from those beer bellied predators (and I’m not referring to Big Foot—- he’s a good friend of mine who lives in a cabin down the road).
Speaking of mindless predators, trying to train Buddy, my crazy miniature Aussie, is kind of like trying to train someone in the early stages of Old-Timer’s (which I am in, by the way…). There are good days and bad days. You think they’ve got it today and by dinner they’ve forgotten it (does this sound like Your hubby, ladies?). Buddy has the hardest head known to dogdom. If I put a couple of fake horns on him we could have a bull fight. But it would be more like the running of the horned canines at Pamplona, I think.
I finally had to put a shock collar on Buddy to train him. I really prefer positive reinforcement. I truly do. But I had to when he wouldn’t respond to the most positive of reinforcement. Otherwise the peace of the wooded community would be affected. You see, Buddy watches Jack very closely for his bad traits. And does not emulate his good ones at all. Jack barks at squirrels. And runs after them, chasing them off the property and thus preventing them from chewing on the wiring under the cabin. One bad trait. One good trait. They even out.
However, Buddy sees this and in his Teflon coated cranium he says “I think I will bark all the time at Jack.” Then he ignores the squirrels and other varmints which should stay in the woods, not under the cabin. One bad trait——impressed in Buddy’s mind. One good trait——-totally ignored. That is, until the shock collar comes into play.
For example, now I hear Buddy yapping outside. I look. No bears. No squirrels. Just Buddy yapping at Jack. So I press the Warning Button on the collar’s controller.
The Warning Button has a picture of a little flashlight above it. I think it signifies that when an errant dog hears the collar’s loud beep, a light bulb should come on in the deviant canine’s hard-packed brain matter. It should tell the dog: “Hey! Whatever you are doing, stop doing it!”
It all could end at that Beep, but Buddy won’t let it. Now, I am a Master who has been highly influenced by baseball ever since the Amazing Mets won the World Series in 1969. It was an improbable, almost impossible, occurrence that happens once every few centuries in the baseball world. Almost as improbable as the premise that Buddy will stop his illicit activity on the First Beep. He’s just got too hard of a cranium for that.
I believe with all of my heart that this is because Australian Shepherds like Buddy are direct descendants of the dogs of the original criminals sentenced by the British Crown to spend the rest of their days on a big kangaroo-filled island halfway ‘cross the globe. They were kicked out of Britain because they were incorrigible. And their shepherding dogs were kicked out with them. For much the same reason. Since I have met Buddy, that is my Grand Theory of Aussie Butt-Headedness, and I’m sticking to it until a better hypothesis shows itself to the scientific world.
But back to baseball’s influence on shock collars and me. The First Beep is generally ignored totally by Buddy. Its purpose is to send a shot across the bow of the Australian Prison Barge. As this first pitch is thrown across Buddy’s home plate, the little umpire that Should be (but unfortunately isn’t) in his head yells “Strike One!”
However, as the inappropriate behavior continues despite the First Strike Beep, a Second Beep is initiated. The Second Beep’s signal to the canine brain is : “Yes, that First Beep was a shot across the bow. This is the Second and Final Warning. Stop it Now.”
In other words, “Strike Two!”
Inevitably, however, Buddy’s little criminal Australian cranium says “He’s just bluffing.” So he continues his game with the same tactic, namely, “Do What You Want To Do, because it’s A Dog’s Game, not a Human’s…”
The inevitability of Strike Three is a sure Law of the Aussie Universe, as sure as “Gravity Makes An Aussie See If He Can Survive a Jump Off A Hill”, or “Energy=Brain Matter times the Canine’s Butt-headedness Squared”, or “1+1+1=2”.
The button right below the Warning Button on the collar’s controller is signified by a bolt of lightning. It travels as fast as lightning, too. Above it on the top of the controller is a dial with tick marks, starting at 1 (an insignificant tingle) and ending at 10 (the bolt of lightning).
I have tried level 1, 2, 3 and on up. But the combination of thick fur, thick skin, and thick brain matter makes 1-9 ineffective on an Aussie such as Buddy. I believe he is the direct biological descendant of the original salty dog who belonged to the Dread Pirate Roberts, of Princess Bride fame. That’s my 2nd Theory of Aussie Hardheadedness, and I’m sticking to it. I’m about to have Buddy lick a swab to send in to Ancestry.com to prove it. I’ll let my readers know if the hypothesis is proven or not.
Anyway, after the Third and Final button push, it gives Buddy electroshock therapy which resets both his cranium and his disposition. If I had bought it on Amazon, I would have given it 5 Stars, and completely recommended it to all owners of criminal Aussie descendants.
I hope this exposition has revealed to you the low state which I have sunk to in the woods of the North Country of New Hampshire. I think that I, too, have contracted Old-Timers disease. I believe that I will undoubtedly have to order a shock collar for myself soon, to remind me where I left my car keys. And my car, for that matter. Will let you know how it all works out.
Eric M. Vogt