Monday, October 31, 2011

The babies are angry!

One of our family projects is raising bottle calves. My daughter loves it, we make a little money, everyone is happy. Usually. When new babies come in, they get two bottles a day, and they eat grain. As they get older we cut them back to one bottle, and then cut them off completely. This morning seven of the fifteen calves didn't get the morning bottle they are used to and we had a minor rebellion. Calves can throw hissy fits to rival any toddler. Bottle calves are seriously lacking in respect of personal space. They have no problem crowding around, stepping on toes, and ramming you in the rear  with their cute little fuzzy heads. As I was walking back to the barn with the empty bottles, I swear every other step I was violated by a calf. I hope they forgive me soon

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Klink the Wonder Dog

I first met Klink in a Wal-Mart parking lot. A tiny little Hispanic man had a box full of puppies and a sign that said $25. I didn’t need a puppy, and I really didn’t want the extra responsibility at the time. I had a toddler, and my marriage was pretty shaky at the time. Then an incredibly chubby little fur ball jumped up on the edge of the box, and toppled the whole thing over. When he stopped rolling, puppies were scattered all over, and he was laying at my feet. My daughter turned on her best begging skills. It turns out that I am just a big softy, and Klink came home with us.
I took our new puppy to the vet the next day and received a big surprise. The vet looked Klink over and gave him a clean bill of health. He then asked if I knew what breed he was. I had no idea, I thought he probably had some German Shepherd in the mix. Imagine my surprise when Dr. Haworth told me that Klink was a wolf hybrid. The good doctor knew the little Hispanic man, and had just given Klink his shots a week before. I’m ashamed to say that my first reaction was of fear. I just knew that our sweet little butterball was going to grow up into a viscous animal. I asked the vet to find him a new home. Dr. Haworth told me that I should really give our puppy a chance. We were already deeply in love with Klink, so I did just that.
I went home and told my husband what I had learned. He was thrilled to find out that we had a wolf in our house. I went to the internet and spent hours researching wolf hybrids. I educated myself on the special needs Klink would have, and the special challenges we would face with him. He is by far the most intelligent dog we have ever owned, but he is also extremely stubborn. He can pick up a trick in no time, but no amount of begging or treats will convince him to try it if he is not in the mood. He picked up on house training right away, but anytime my sister brought her dog over, Klink would pee on her dog bed.
I really got the puppy for my daughter, but it became very clear that Klink was my dog. He adores my little girl, and he is very protective of her. Klink will put himself between my daughter and anything he deems dangerous, and will herd her in the other direction. One day I took them both to the lake, and Klink stood between her and the waves, as if he was afraid she was going to get hurt. But when he felt like he was off duty, he was by my side. At night he sleeps right beside my bed so that I can reach down and pet him. At one year old, Klink weighed 120 pounds. He has put on a little more height since than. The problem is that he thinks he is a lap dog. He starts out sitting beside me on the couch, but slowly snuggles closer and closer until he is on top of me.
While we have known all along how special Klink is, my neighbors were not so convinced. He does have a habit of serenading the neighbors at night with his deep wolf howl, and when he smiles at you, it does look a bit scary. Recently, Klink showed everyone just how wonderful he is. A new family moved in across the street, a very busy single mother, and her five young children. The mother had to rely on babysitters to watch the children at night while she worked. One night around 11 PM Klink was involved in one of his favorite past times, sitting on the couch looking out the window at the street. Suddenly he started barking loudly at the window, and then ran to the door asking to be let out. I took him outside, and he ran straight for the street. Our neighbor’s three year old had let himself out of the house and was sitting at the edge of the street. Klink started herding the little boy back into his yard. We called his mother and she came immediately. Our neighbor is terrified of large dogs, but she walked up and gave Klink a huge hug. Our dog is no Lassie, he didn’t find Timmy in the well. But he is still very special to us, and seems to enjoy being called Klink the Wonder Dog.