Monday, August 4, 2008

Gibby is Penned

This morning, the sky was gray and looked like bad weather was coming, so I raced down to the farm to get Gibby under cover. I wasn't at all sure how I was going to do it.

I started out by tying a tarp in one corner of the dog pen. I put it in the corner where the house is the west wall, figuring that would offer more protection from the wind - which always seems to come from the west. I pulled the larger of the two dog houses over to that corner and then put a soft bed in it. All this time, it was raining softly and Gibby was barking so much that he was losing his voice. I carried his water bucket into the pen, then went back for his food dishpan, filled it, and walked past Gibby with it as I walked to the pen. He saw that food and wanted it, so that was a big help.

He had tangled up the two cables that were fastened to the trees and to him, and somehow, when I took them off the trees, one got tangled around him. I got the cable away from around his legs, but he was so anxious to move that I couldn't get the rest of the cable off of him - which was a good thing. I had a lead rope attached to his collar, but I hate putting enough pressure on it to hold him back - all that does is teach him to pull harder. Luckily, the cable slowed him down. He headed right for the dog pen. We had a very brief difficulty as we passed the back door of the house - he had watched me let the cat in and out and was curious - but with a little tug he went right to the dog pen. He seemed to be quite happy with everything in the pen - he did a quick turn-around in the dog house, sniffed at his food, headed straight for the bath tub and had a drink, then found the horse feed bucket full of rain water and had another drink, then back to the tub and then over to his own water bucket. The pen is big enough for him to run around - about 5o feet by 16 feet. I left the weeds in the center of the pen - I cleared the north end and the south end has a section of cattle fence over it that seems to have retarded plant growth under it - and Gibby dove into the weeds and disappeared for a few minutes. I started worrying about him - I was sitting on a chair outside the pen, so I stood up to get a better look and Gibby suddenly burst out of the weeds like he had just played the best joke on me. I wound a chain around the space between the gate and the fence, tied it also with the lead rope, and left with the belief that Gibby was safe, happy, and had a place to stay dry.

My mother and the other dogs came back to the farm with me for the 5:00 feeding. Gibby still seemed quite happy. I went into the pen with him and gave him a dish of leftovers (Mother only eats a small percentage of any meal she's given) and then left the pen to take care of the chickens and horses. I gave the chickens the rest of Mother's lunch - a dish of lettuce salad and a dish of canned pineapple - they gobbled up the lettuce in seconds, but it was really funny watching them eat pineapple for the first time - a peck here, and peck there, throwing a piece out of the dish, grabbing a piece and running with it like it was a great worm or a fat slug. Chickens are real characters!

I went into the barn to fill the inside water trough. Four of the horses were hanging out in the indoor arena, and the fifth one came running in when he heard the others chasing each other away from the fresh water. I sat inside with them while the trough filled and had just decided it was about time to turn off the water when I heard some barking. I left the arena, closed the door, went to the pump room and turned off the pump - and heard more barking and then the car horn - I ran out of the barn. George was leaning out of a car window and barking down at Gibby - Gibby was dancing around the car!

I grabbed him by the collar and dragged him back to the dog pen. When I left him, I hadn't chained the gate well enough and he pushed the bottom corner out and crawled under the chain. As soon as I put him back in, he showed me how he got out. I chained it a lot more carefully again, then moved a bundle of cedar shingles (in my back yard for me to complete a project I'll probably never finish) in front of the gate - he will never be able to push those out of the way! He is one smart dog, he checked out the gate, learned he couldn't get out again, and went over to his food dish. He was happily eating when we left.

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