Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gibby is Difficult

Gibby is not an easy dog to train. This week, I've been trying to let him out to play with the other dogs while I've been doing chores. George avoids him, Blue attacks him, and Patches barks the whole time. Gibby is a cat chaser and a very serious cat chaser, and that means I will not be able to let him have the run of the farm as I had planned. Also, he is waaaay too strong for me. I don't want to work with a choke chain just to teach him to walk with me. He listens to me when he wants to, not when he wants to chase a cat or jump on the car. I was worried today that he was going to try to climb into the car through the passenger side window - where he would have landed on my mother. He had his front legs on the window ledge and his back legs poised to jump when I grabbed his collar and, braced against the car, had to use all my strength to stop him. In the meantime, my mother was sweet-talking him, not realizing she was in danger.
I talked to an old friend, Mike, who dearly loved a yellow lab I gave him as a puppy about 16 years ago. Dusty was his constant companion, going to work with Mike and resting on his jacket until Mike would tell her to move. I invited Mike to stop over and see Gibby, he said he would if he saw that I was at the farm. Mike is not a big guy, but he is extremely strong. He roofed my barn all by himself, swinging around on it like a monkey. One year, when I was having him patch the roof before we realized the whole roof needed to be replaced, I was worried about his safety, so I had him wear a harness attached to a long rope, and tied the rope to the bumper of my old Chevy pick-up. He was working on the back side of the barn roof when a friend came over and decided to borrow the Chevy. She was in the truck with the engine on when I came out of the barn and saw what was about to happen. Another time, Mike was helping me by building a new stallion pen at the back of the barn. He had the fence and gate finished and was using a weed-whipper to clear the ground. He apparently whipped into a ground wasps nest because all of a sudden, he came running into the barnyard, with his face green, lips white and protruding, eyes panicky - the wasps had literally drilled holes in his head. Luckily, one of my riding students was a doctor, she heard the calls for help, galloped up, ran to her car, and grabbed some hypodermics filled with Benedryl. She started giving him shots every few minutes, got him into her car and drove him in to the hospital where they gave him IV Benedryl for hours. So, you can see I owe this good friend a really nice dog if he just happens to fall in love with Gibby.

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