Try Having a Cup of Tea with These Dogs

Author: Meera, October 29, 2014


Remington, the white, short-haired lab is climbing into my strawberries, while  Moose has his sights set on something else

Remington, the white, short-haired lab, is trouncing over the strawberries, while Moose has his sights set on the chickens



I just wanted a nice cup of tea and to sit on the grass and sip it while listening to the birds and watching my bees and chickens. Fat chance. It would take five minutes flat for my daughter’s little dog Moose to knock over the cup, spill the tea all over me, and then traumatize my chickens so badly that their egg-laying is now out of wack; they’re just squatting and dropping.



As a favor to my lovely daughter and her family, I agreed to dog sit on my farmette for four days. My daughter assured me the two family pets would enjoy four days of freedom to romp around our acreage despite one of her dogs being a little high strung. His breed used to chase rats, she said. I didn’t make the correlation. It didn’t seem to matter then.



I reminded her that my bees and chickens both forage freely over the land. TheĀ  chickens would necessarily have to remain in their chicken run during that period since the dogs might chase them. The bees probably wouldn’t bother the dogs, but I’d take the name of her vet, just in case. Of course, the dogs might not actually like it here.



In retrospect, I believe I underestimated my concerns. Oh, the dogs seem happy enough; it’s my sanity I’m worried about.



The Irish lab named Remington has had some professional training. He is a lovely, well-behaved gentleman. I enjoy him and wish I could same the same for the small dog with the mighty name of Moose who is high-strung, has allergies, and arrived with special gluten-free food, his round bed, and a bag of medications, including a vet-prescribed tranquilizer.


Moose is good-looking and high maintenance, like some guys I used to know

Moose is good-looking and high maintenance, like some guys I used to know



Moose barks a lot. It’s an annoying high-pitched bark. In the yard yesterday, when he wouldn’t stop, I heard my neighbor barking back . . . and that’s just ridiculous!


I thought Moose was going to have a meltdown when he discovered the chickens, barking at the highest decibel he could muster, running the length of the chicken run in one direction with the chickens one step ahead on the inside their poultry-wire pen before hitting the wall where the dog and chickens reversed their direction.



I got half as many eggs yesterday and found two on the ground instead of in the nesting boxes. When the chickens free-range, they always return to the nesting boxes in the hen house to lay their eggs. It’s like they got so scared, they forgot not only where to go but how to properly lay their eggs. I hope things return to normal when the dog visit is over.



I decided to spend the day outside, doing chores like digging planting holes at the front of the property. Moose saw it as a game so as soon as my back was turned, he refilled the holes, pawing like a dog on a mission. I finally gave up on that. The shovel and rake seemed to scare him, so I put those away. And he didn’t like me playing ball with him or the other dog. So we quit on that, too.



By the day’s end though, both dogs seemed tuckered out. Both wanted to sleep in our room. The big dog contented himself in his bed on the floor (by my husband’s side of the bed), but the high-maintenance Moose threw himself onto my pillow, pulled my fleece bathrobe over his head, and nodded off like he owned the place.



When our alarm went off at four o’clock as it does every weekday morning, the yip-yip-yipping and chaos started all over again. Only three more long days and nights left.


My chicken run draped in sheets so the dog couldn't see the hens

Remi wasn’t the problem but with Moose frightening the chicken feathers off my hens, I draped the chicken run in sheets



I’m going to need a vacation when these four days are over. I just hope my chickens will resume their egg-laying schedule once I take the sheets down off the chicken run (I hung them so Moose couldn’t see the chickens) and I have the energy and some decent weather ahead to re-dig those planting holes. I look forward to having a cup of tea again, too, while I listen to the birds and quiet clucks instead of that shrill yip-yip-yip, amplified by by neighbor’s imitation of it. Ridiculous!



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