Every farm needs a farm dog; I think it is written somewhere in the farmer’s handbook. I have been to other farms and man oh man, do their dogs know how to do it right…….and then there is Rebel.
A farm dog is supposed to guard the property. Rebel doesn’t even guard his own food. Everyday I have go out to the field to shoo away the rooster, Fabio, as Rebel stands by allowing him to share his meal. Worse yet, we buy a chicken and rice flavor……so Rebel is pretty much promoting cannibalism.
The farm dogs that I have met spend most, if not all, of their hours’ outdoors. Rebel is a delicate 150 lb. Great Dane. He cries like a little baby when the temperature goes above 80 degrees and pretends to shiver if it goes below 40, and don’t even get me started about the slightest precipitation. He prefers watching us slave away outside through the slider in our bedroom while he is all curled up on my Oriental rug.
A good farm dog helps corral the livestock. All Rebel knows how to do is “corral” the bull calf, Thunder, when Thunder sneaks out from under the electric fence. Okay, corral is too strong a word because half of the time Thunder just stands there looking at Rebel like he is an idiot, while Rebel isn’t sure what to do because the calf isn’t playing the game right if he doesn’t run away.
Farm dogs respect their owners and follow all commands……an epic fail on cow moving days. Moving the cow fence means exposing fresh cow shit in the open pasture, which means Steve will spend most of his time screaming at Rebel to stop eating cow shit while Rebel looks up momentarily and then resumes snacking. Better yet, when the cow turds are frozen Rebel tosses them in the air for a while before eating the frozen goodies. Steve gets so worked up that I swear he is going to stroke out.
A good farm dog understands and thrives when there is consistency and routine. Every morning we let Rebel out to eat and do his business and right after that we walk over to let the guineas out of their coop. Without fail, by the time we get to the coop, we can feel the thunderous pounding of Rebels paws charging through the pasture. His delight is to scare the crap out of the guineas as the tentatively leave their coop for the day. The birds take flight while Rebel leaps into the air in a half-hearted attempt to capture them.
So bottom line, Rebel is really talented at chasing the guineas. That’s my definition of a farm dog and I’m sticking to it.