Our first country cookout was a lot of fun last night. We traveled to the beautiful Schmidt farm nestled along a small picturesque valley east of Glenavon. The hospitality of the family and their friends was wonderful and truly indicative of that down home Saskatchewan feel.
One of the first things I noticed entering their yard was their trusty, protective farm dog. Lots of us have dogs, but farm dogs are different. They like to be outdoors even in the winter months, they’re always on guard in case of intruders, either human or wild, and yet they possess a sweet, loveable disposition with their owner and the family.
Growing up on our farm, less than 30 minutes east of Glenavon we had a farm dog like no other. We named her Lady…and she was just that. She could be sweet, gentle, and playful one minute and on guard and ready to protect HER family the next. She came to us thanks to a call from a nearby Co-op farm service centre. Somebody found this beaten, left for dead pup on the side of the highway. They new we needed a dog on our farm for some time after ours had grown old and passed away. The wingnut who felt the need to beat her and leave her for dead left us with the most incredible dog. A dog that certainly did not deserve that kind of treatment.
Lady was initially scared of humans for obvious reasons, but she soon began to trust us and realized she would be in a great home. She loved helping sort cattle. She loved helping with anything period. Often her intelligence surprised us and in some cases her ability to handle cattle would eventually eliminate one of us in a corral. She just knew what to do.
Lady was a listener. More than once she heard us complain, grumble, or whine about our issues of the day and she just listened. Sometimes that’s all a person needs, somebody or something that will listen and not say anything in return.
Lady was a family member. She joined us, and the rest of the family, numerous times for gatherings and get togethers outside. We loved having her there and she loved the occasional hamburger somebody (not naming names) would slip her under the table. She would join us in the fields near the yard just to say hi and she never missed an opportunity to make sure we were feeding the cows the correct way! Although, I don’t think she enjoyed the unexpected races the calves would lure her into in the spring.
Even as she got older she never lost her curiosity, her vitality, her love of helping sort cattle, and her gentle spirit. She did enjoy sleeping in a little longer and a little more often.
Lady joined us approximately 7 months before I started kindergarten in 1992. She watched me grow up, watched me learn how to ride a bike, how to drive, she hunted gophers and mice with me, and she even made it into my graduation pictures. Unfortunately, she didnt see me off to college. Old age and sickness was starting to take a toll on her and she passed away peacefully in the place she loved, with the people she loved, and with the people who loved her even more. Lady knew the time was right and she knew HER family was going to be alright, after all I think she raised us more than we raised her for goodness sake. She passed away less than three weeks before I moved away and just shy of her 14th birthday. A tough start to say the least.
She liked attention, but never demanded it. Funny how after all these years she’s still getting it. So, if you see me petting your dog on our next country cookout, you’ll know why. There’s just something about a farm dog.