Sunday, June 12, 2011


A cop up north tazered a cow that got out; incredibly stupid but it inspired me to tell you a story.

Dottie and I had a Welsh Corgi named Corky. Corgis are bred to be cattle dogs. They’re ankle biters and so short that cows kick over them. They’re really fun little dogs that look like a regular dog that had their legs sawed off. And, that’s the long and short of it (he snickered to himself). Corky knew all about cattle. When my neighbor’s cattle got out (which happens a lot with cattle), he’d bark with a particular sound. It got so that John would ask when I called, “Are they in the road?”

“I don’t know, John. I’m off today and still in bed.”

“How do you know they’re out?”

“Corky told me.”

“Oh, I’ll be right up.”

Anyway, we had a blast with that little character. One time he caught my oldest son, Chuck, eating his food. From then on, he would guard the bag and bite Chuck every time the poor little guy got near it. We finally had to hide the dog food.

Corky was bad to chase cars and would hide in the grass on one side of the yard near the road. When he heard a car coming, he’d start to wind up, not in circles like you’d expect but more like a twirling baton. When the car got even with him, he’d shoot along the front yard beside it until he got to the property line on the opposite side of the yard and lay down in the grass to wait for the next victim (how did he know where the property line was?). He actually wore a trail in the yard that, seen from the air, would look like an old-time barbell with round weights on the ends. He never really got in the road but people in the community would ask if we were the ones who had the crazy little dog that chased cars.

The funny thing was he never chased cars going the other way, just the ones on his side of the road. We worried about it but didn’t believe in chaining a dog and really couldn’t afford a dog lot at the time. So, we employed every suggested strategy we heard of to teach him not to chase cars. One was to drive past and when he chased the car, jump out waving and screaming and running at him. Then we tried driving past, jumping out smacking a rolled up newspaper in our hands. The next suggestion was to carry a super soaker squirt gun and shoot him with water. I even tried mace as a last resort and he went off to the back yard sneezing. After we washed the little nut’s face and eyes, he went back to his point of ambush on one side of the yard.

It sounds stupid but he learned fine. He learned what our car looked like. So, we borrowed cars. Corky smartened up. He then started looking for who was driving and wouldn’t chase anything with me behind the wheel. Finally, to keep him from getting hurt, we chained him in the back yard and took him in after we got home from work.

The problem with that was that he’d chase the sound of the cars and race from one end of the chain to another. He wore a muddy path in the grass running back and forth and was usually a mess by the time we got home. He also chased the sound of the cars inside the house. He’d wind up in the living room before we even heard the car, careen through the house into the kitchen and slide to a stop just before plowing into the refrigerator barking the whole way.

All of that created a real problem for me. I worked swing shifts with the Sheriff and when I was on midnight, I had to sleep during the day. Corky drove me crazy. I’d drift off to sleep and Corky would hear a car coming and start barking just outside the bedroom window. Pop, my eyes would be wide open. After staggering through several midnight shifts, he awakened me again one morning. I was very tired and furious. I thought you little b……, I’ll fix you once and for all. I got out a single shot 12 gage shot gun and a shell. I figured the roar of the gun might scare him enough to shut him up. I didn’t want to hurt him, so with evil glee, I opened the shell and dumped all of the shot out. With eyes heavy with sleep and a really angry disposition I opened the window, lifted the screen, laid the gun beside me on the bed and waited with growing anticipation. I thought, “I’ll try to hit him with the plastic wad and sting him along with the noise of the gun. That’ll fix him good.”
Finally, Corky started to bark and wind up. I looked up and he was right outside the window. He barked louder getting ready for the car. I eased up with the gun carefully slipping the barrel out the window so he wouldn’t notice it, aimed it, braced against the kick of the 12 gauge and pulled the trigger. Corky had noticed the movement and stopped for just a split second making the shot perfect.

Instead of the roar and mule-like kick of the gun, it just went “fop” and the white plastic wad sailed out of the muzzle so gracefully that both Corky and I could see it arch in the air and hit him between the eyes. Without the seal of the plastic shell and the weight of the shot, there was not enough pressure in the chamber to do anything more. When it hit Corky, his ears went up, he cocked his head and looked at it lying on the ground in front of him and then looked up at me as if to say, “What the heck was THAT?” Well, I cracked up laughing. I pulled the gun out of the window and laid on the bed laughing and when I regained my strength I knelt on the bed, leaned on the head board to look at Corky again. There he was still looking at the wad and back at me with his ears cocked. At the look on his face, my laughter welled up again and I shut the screen, lowered the window and fell asleep with the delicious feeling of joy that the brainy little dog gave me.

One day we came home from work and Corky was lying beside the road. When I picked his body up, I saw the broken chain where he’d worn it thin. I’d so hoped he’d never catch one of those cars he was chasing.


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