Friday, February 5, 2016
Our youngest daughter Amy brought home the cutest little pup one day from work. It had obviously been dumped and wouldn't have lasted long on a busy parking lot. Our intentions were to find a home for her, but in no time she had worked her way into our hearts! The vet guessed she was part Great Dane and part Catahoula, a breed known for their herding abilities. She got big quickly, you could almost "hear" her growing from day to day. She wasn't an easy puppy to love though, she would bite our ankles, eat the lawn furniture and eventually started attacking our pool cleaner, the machine...not the man! We tried Lord knows, but after nearly a year I put my foot down (she promptly bit it) and said we were going to find her a good home. I advertised her as a healthy, spayed dog who needed a new home on a ranch with room to run.
The very first day a man called with a thick Texas accent.
"Ma'am, I saw your ad and I wanted to know what kind of dog she is?" I told him the vets' best guess was Catahoula and Great Dane. He wanted a good cattle dog he told me and made plans to come by later in the day. My heart fluttered a little as I hung up. I was at my wits end with this dog who just wasn't cut out for city life, but I wanted to find her a good home that would work.
When you live in Texas, it's not uncommon to see the big "Dually trucks," loaded down with bales of hay on flatbed trailers. I could hear his diesel engine when he pulled into the driveway. He left it running and when I opened the door, there he stood... Marlboro Man! He had on jeans and western shirt, leather chaps, gloves and a cowboy hat that was bent and dirty from hands that had done ranch work.
"I've come to look at the dog," he said. I told him she was in the backyard and to just come on through the house. As he stepped into the foyer, I glanced at his boots. They had layers of dried mud caked around the sole. He had a strong quietness about him that made me think Julie had found the right master!
She was chasing the pool cleaner around when we went outside. The hose-like contraption would circle over and over under the water, it had become an obsession with her. She would jump wildly into the pool diving and biting at the "Undersea Monster!" I called to her and she nearly knocked me over coming to a stop a few steps from him. He raised his gloved hand and simply said "Sit." Julie immediately sit, and stayed. It was a miracle, I had never seen her do anything like this. No matter how hard we had tried, we could not tame her wild ways. In one second he had accomplished what we had been unable to do in a whole year.
He explained to me he wanted a good cattle dog that had the stamina to live outside, watch over his property and work the cows. He said, "She'll do good." I tried to give him her outside toys but he declined, telling me they would just be a nuisance for his wife to have to pick up every time SHE mowed....I couldn't help but smile at that!!
"Well then, you'll need her leash," I said as we walked around to the gate. Julie had always been walked on a leash, we'd never let her run loose.
"Nope, she'll have to mind me or this won't work." My heart sank. I just knew she'd take off, never to be seen again. He flung open the gate and she took off like a bullet, all 100 pounds of her. He whistled sharply and motioned for her to get up on the flatbed loaded with hay. She obeyed him like she had been doing it all her life. She easily jumped to the top of the bales and then into the back of his Ford F350, wagging her tail wildly!
As he pulled out of the driveway, the sun was just going down in the West and the hot Texas day was giving way to the cool evening breezes. I stood there and watched as they drove away. Julie never looked back. She was looking forward to new frontiers and her life with Marlboro Man!