A stiff wind blew the light and fluffy snow into my face. It was abrasive like a luffa sponge. When I was a child, my mother used to slather Vaseline on my face when I would go on a day-long sledding adventure. Today, a scarf would have sufficed.
Sadie, a two-year old Corgi/Collie mix walked in a perfect heel position as we trudged along through the freshly fallen snow of Storm Hercules. The “feels like” temperature was -11 degrees.
“Good girl, Sadie. I know it’s cold out here. We won’t be long, I promise. We just have to do some obedience drills.”
I noticed Sadie’s leash was a little twisted and hung up in her fur. I knelt down beside her, loosened the slip-lead just a bit, giving Sadie just enough room to bolt. She was like a thoroughbred horse coming out of the gate. She pinned her ears back, put her tail in an aerodynamic half-mast position, and sprinted across the field, on a mission!
Are you kidding me? Where is she going? COWS! She’s been eyeing them all week. Uh-Oh.
“Stop! Come! Sit! Sadie, Here! Here!” My efforts were futile. Thus the reason for her needing obedience training.
I felt every ounce of the 20 extra pounds I was carrying from over-indulging in holiday goodies. The cold air made it feel like I was inhaling razor blades. I might as well have been wearing bowling balls on my feet as I tried to run with winter boots through six inches of snow. I hoped my blood pressure medicine would keep my heart from bursting through my chest.
Sadie stopped at the barbed-wire fence that kept the cows on their side of the neighboring property. I could see her surveying the landscape, calculating her next move.
She dropped to her belly and crawled effortlessly under the fence.
Son of a…
Sadie crouched and crept towards the cows. I didn’t know if she would attack the cows or if the cows would kick her. Either scenario would have been disasterous. I wondered how I would explain this situation to my boss. I began to feel sick to my stomach.
The cows began to jog away. Sadie pursued in a stealth-like manner.
Huh. She’s got some great natural herding instincts. Not really what I need right now, but its kinda cool. Peter! Focus.
Sadie crept closer, too close for the cows’ comfort. They began to run. Sadie ran after them.
I still hadn’t caught my breath from the previous sprint. I stumbled along after them.
The cows were now just at the entrance to their barn, huddled together in a big group.
Sadie “snapped out of it.” She gave a big full-body shake, coming down from her adrenaline rush, and looked at me proudly.
Then, she pulled her ears back and her tail went to half-mast again.
What the heck is she going to do now?
She came charging at me in another full sprint, from about 50 yards away. She was darting left and right, zigging and zagging. She had no interest in ending the adventure or being caught. As she approached my left side, I dove in desperation and tackled her.
Sadie yelped in surprise and wrestled to escape. She displaced her excited energy and frustration at being caught and started to bite my hands. Somehow, I managed to slip the leash back over her head.
I leaned back and fell into a snow-angel position, with Sadie safely back in my control. She was unhurt and the cows were unhurt. Crisis averted!
I’m getting too old for this.
I limped my exhausted body back to the kennel with an obedient Sadie. I put her in a kennel run. She got a drink of water, laid down, and fell asleep. In her mind, her work was done. The cows were back where they belonged.
I would work many more dogs during the day, with far less adventure. Bitter cold temperatures and unruly dogs. It didn’t matter. They each managed to put a smile on my face.
It was a good day!
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.