So, waking to the sound of a buggy is not unheard of...so it was this past weekend.
Clip Clop Clip Clop....fast memories of Mackinac Island return.
Then -- as the buggy nears the next farm -- I hear the dogs...
And that is where this story begins.
Farms often have dogs -- generally not just one.
They serve as pets and protectors.
But, as with any animal -- there are rules of the road -- mainly, keep control of your animals.
So -- Monday as I looked out on our backyard, I was not totally surprised to see a neighbor's dog.
Miffed as I was -- I did my usual -- walk out, clap my hands, growl loud, scare it off home. This was not the first time. Then I look out to our pasture & I see my little Chestnut, tiniest of all my kittens, up in the height of a tree. Good for you, I think, you knew to climb to safety. Good for you. little one. Then I went back to get the water, kitty milk and head out to the barn -- knowing quite well I would need to help my little Nutsky down from the tree.
And that is where the story changed.
As I approached the pasture, I realize another one of the neighbor's dogs is in the pasture -- next to the entrance to the barn. I free my hands, and quickly get into the barn thru the milk house, hoping the animals are not hurt. Little Moo -- our patriarch goat has the goats huddled in a corner and is standing between them and the intruder. I grab a lead -- and head out to the pasture to try to corral this X?!#@ dog. Yea, you read that right -- Seriously? The dog bares his teeth.
Back into the barn to barricade the door, Nutsky still hovering in the tree. With an ice covered driveway, I run to the house. Dave is sick and still waking, I holler for him to come and help. He arrives with rifle in hand. Once more we try to approach the dog -- growls & bares teeth. Off Dave heads to the neighbor's farm -- "come and get your dog" is the message he will deliver. "We'll stop by later on our way to work" is the message he returns with. Seriously??
I now head to the neighboring farm. One thing you don't want to EVER deal with is the wrath of Kari --especially when I am protecting my flock. No buggy, no gentle approach...with horn blaring I announce "You have 5 minutes to come get your dog, or we'll shoot it". This is just too much. See, life in the country does have it's moments. This dog was meaning to do harm to my animals -- and has harassed them once too often. Seriously??? (*Now, seriously, we are humane, wouldn't do harm to another animal unless it was life or death for one of our animals --- but that being said, humans need to be responsible for their animals -- "shoot it" was meant to make the people actually respond.)
Finally, mad neighbor arrives, Seething, he shares how his dog is just so scared by us. He gathers his dog, says a few choice words, and steams off, mad because we bothered him & scared his dog -- that happened to be in our fenced pasture. Seriously????
We do what any fair minded person would. We call our township's Animal Control to document what just happened (not the first time for these dogs & other farms) and find out what indeed the ordinances are & what our rights are. We contact the Sheriff and document. 'Cause at the end of the day -- our farm is our property, our animals are our responsibility and no one has the right to create their own laws ----- not even in the country. *And we do end the day with a civil conversation with the neighbor -- but, with a "Control your dogs, or else."....not a threat -- just a reality and a right.
This is why:
Then we bring out the extension ladder, I climb up and get little Chestnut, with heart beating so, out of the tree. We award Little Moo the Medal of Honor for standing between the goats and the dog (and do note...Moo is a fainting goat, so he done extra good). We count all the little heads, stand with our feet planted firmly, looking towards the neighbor's farm, hearing the barks, and say with no uncertainty, "Thus far, and no further." Yes, we are serious.