Tales from the Bark Side
Welcome back to the bark side of life here in Ottertail, where the snow is melting like forgotten memories of a distant past. Like the transition from twilight to darkness and from the dead of night to the impending dawn; winter is waning. The pr...
Welcome back to the bark side of life here in Ottertail, where the snow is melting like forgotten memories of a distant past. Like the transition from twilight to darkness and from the dead of night to the impending dawn; winter is waning. The promise of spring resonantly rings true in our ears... the bird's song chirps loudly its long awaited arrival. You can probably tell by now, I love spring and I've grown weary of winter.
There remains a small voice somewhere in the back of my head where reason and logic lurks telling me that it can still snow and wreak havoc yet. With that said, I witnessed two separate vehicles on County High-way 1 yesterday with canine passengers hanging out the window; tongues flapping in the warm wind. The expression of pure joy was written on their faces, like somebody who just won the lottery. Maybe they had.
This week I have a tale to tell about how the "Rosswood Kennels Choir" got its name. Four years ago, we purchased several pure bred German Shepherds to begin our breeding program. One of these females was Lara Mee, who now weighs close to 120 lbs. I was told that she was a kennel wrecker when we purchased her. Being a former dog trainer in the Army (and being blessed with a moderately big male ego), I said no problem. I can handle her. Yeah right!
My stepson is a builder, and a mighty fine one at that. He built me a very strong and functional kennel behind the house, and together we put the kennel panels together. They're the ones that look like chain link fencing. It was a thing of beauty. Upon her arrival, Lara Mee was locked in her new abode, and I went to town for more supplies thinking that things were just hunky dory.
We had also acquired another female named Gracie (as in, "Say goodnight...") and she occupied the kennel next to Lara Mee. They seemed to get along at that time. Operative word is "seemed" here folks.
My wife, Cindy, was home doing something creative on the sun porch; which occupies most of the front of our house. I was gone maybe 15 minutes when I got a call on my cell phone. It seemed our kennel wrecker had lived up to her reputation. Cindy had a visitor -- Lara Mee.
I hurried home to find my wife in the company of not just one, but two female shepherds. Gracie made her disapproval of being left alone in her newly found home known -- quite loudly. Cindy, being the ultimate peacemaker, let her out, and both ladies vied for her attention in the most urgent manner.
I inspected the kennel, and found the chain link torn away in one corner, like it was paper. I then set to re-enforcing the kennel with heavy-duty chain that was interlaced through the chain link. I added support with U bolts, and it did the trick. I had both dogs back in their newly repaired homes when something very odd happened. Lara Mee walked over to the panel that separated her and Gracie and looked directly into her eyes.
Lara Mee's head bobbed down once, then again, now being joined Gracie. It was like a bandleader counting off the beat for the orchestra to follow. On the count of three they were in perfect unison, both heads bobbing together. Then on the next downbeat, they both raised their heads and began to howl... actually, more of a baying, like a coon hound or a beagle.
In all my years around shepherds, I have never witnessed them baying (much like the hound of the Baskervilles) in two-part harmony. It was kind of neat. Two or three minutes later, a county sheriff's car, with lights blaring and siren screaming, came flying down the road. The sound could be heard that far off. What was remarkable about the whole affair is that they took the time to get in sync with each other before bellowing their disapproval of the approaching car.
These days, all of our dogs sing in eight-part harmony when a siren is detected off in the distance. We call them the "Ross-wood Kennels Choir," and the two males sing tenor (a slightly higher tone to their baying). It's quite a thing to behold.
More tales about them in future columns, but we must hear from you folks as well. Do you have a story that tickles your fancy or a poignant tale that needs to be told? You can get those tales to me by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to: Keith Alan Ross Richville, MN 56576 or if you want, you can call me at 218-495-2195. I'm looking forward to your wonderful stories.
"Tales from the Bark Side" will be running weekly on our Community pages. Keith Alan Ross lives in Richville, Minn.