Bur-ied by Kip’s puppy antics

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cocklebur

It’s mighty unfortunate that there isn’t big money in the cocklebur crop because we seem to have grown it in abundance this year.

But, it just might be that it’s always been a bumper crop, and the difference is a young pup who loves to explore off the beaten path of this farm, bringing in the crop.

Puppy problems

One morning last week, I noted how wonderful it has been to see Kip settling in, sweet and obedient, causing us no worries.

My hubby jokingly said Kip’s only downfall is his interest in dragging away anything he can find that in some way resembles a dog toy, carrying it to the lawn near the house. “Some days he makes it look like a pack of wild little kids live here!”

He is still a puppy, and I find humor in his playfulness. Channing, our aging female English Shepherd, scolds him when he gets a little too ridiculous for her taste. There is no doubt she misses our old Billy dog as much as we do.

That evening, we were in a hurry to finish a particular chore out in the barn. I called for Kip, and he came running toward me with his usual enthusiasm.

At a quick glance over my shoulder, I could tell something wasn’t quite right. His ears were laid back and his tail wasn’t wagging in high gear.

All tangled up

Discovering burs by the hundreds in his fur made me realize a big job had just moved to the top of the chore list, and not a fun one.

The demeanor of this young pup, while I worked on a challenging mess, told me we have been blessed with a very good dog. He never once attempted to bolt or protest in any way. He looked at me with those lovely brown eyes and sat very still, seeming to understand I was helping him in the tedious process of releasing burs from top to tail.

Just when I thought I was done, Kip slowly rolled on to his back and told me otherwise. We both were mighty sorry.

Working man

The flock of sheep in the east pasture was reaching under the gate, nibbling for greener grass. Kip kept his eye on them, patiently waiting for me to clip away the burs on his belly, not squirming or protesting in any way.

I knew he was itching to do his job. It has been so interesting to watch Kip show great interest in moving the sheep, a trait bred deep into his bones.

The minute I let him know we were done with the bur mess, he took a split second to sweetly lick the back of my hand, then ran toward the sheep as fast as lightning, zero to 50 in no time flat. He has learned his boundaries here and feels certain it is his job to teach the sheep to mind theirs.

Next week: A special visitor, a tribute to Billy

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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