My name is Carmen. I’m about 44 years old now, and in my prime. I’m in a small Pack with a total of three members and it is the only life I’ve ever known.
My early memories of the pack included another member called Miles. He left us in my first year or two. Since then, it’s just the three of us, and I have to say, we are a tight little group, and do almost everything together. It’s a bit odd because there are two Leaders of the Pack and I’m the only junior member, but it works out pretty well. The Pack Leaders, Max and Cathy, sometimes argue about who is in charge of the Pack, but not often.
The Pack also has some minor associates, who don’t live in the house with us. They live in the barn. This includes the two cats, Stan and Ollie, who I tolerate. For cats, they are OK. Stan rubs up against my legs sometimes and I let him. I mean, it doesn’t make me a cat or anything. Ollie, on the other hand, always seems a bit cautious around me and keeps an eye on me. For fun, I occasionally chase him. I suppose it doesn’t improve our relationship, but I think it’s a cool thing to do. And, I don’t do it all the time. Just often enough to keep him on his toes.
The other two associate members of our pack are these big things called horses. One is Stella and the other is Katie. Generally, I don’t bother them, and they don’t bother me. Pack Leader Cathy yelled at me a couple of times for chasing the horses, so I don’t usually do it. I’m glad she doesn’t really yell at me for occasionally chasing Ollie.
Sometimes there are interlopers in the barn. I hate the interlopers, and I think part of my job is to keep them away. If I ever see the fat cat Cathy calls “Mama Cat”, or the black cat with no name, I bark and jump around, and let them know if I could get close to them, I’d rip ‘em a new one. So far, they are tricky enough to only sit in the rafters or on the hay where I can’t reach them. I check every morning and every night to see if they are sneaking around the barn. One of these days…
I don’t know many other dogs around the farm. There was a dog down the road named Jake and I loved ol’ Jakey. It’s almost like he was my boyfriend. When Pack Leader Max and I would go for a walk, Jake was always in his yard and I would run up and bark “Hi”. We had plenty of fun playing together. I think he left us a few months ago, as I haven’t seen him lately. His sister Jill is still around, but she doesn’t say hi very often.
When we go for a walk, we also often stop at a house where the little boy, Jameson, lives. Jameson is only a bit taller than I am, and he owns a frisbee. When I come by, if he is in the yard, we play frisbee together. He’s a pretty good frisbee thrower, and I’m a pretty good catcher, if I do say so myself. Sometimes when we walk by, Jameson isn’t outside, but I know where he keeps the frisbee on his porch. I run up on the porch and grab it and then race around the yard to see if Jameson will come out and play.
Every once in a while, we go on vacation to this place the Leaders call “The Bayhouse”. I love the Bayhouse because I have lots of dog buddies there to play with. I see Nike every day in his yard, and usually see Angus too. When Max and I go for a walk, I also visit with Fred and Gus. It’s fun running around playing with each of them, but by the time I do that AND go for a walk, I’m dog-tired and it’s time for a nap.
The other great thing at the Bay is the people all like dogs. A man named Vinnie lives in the house next door to us. When I see Vinnie, I immediately race up to him, and he pets me and rubs my back, all the while saying “Who’saGoodDog?! Who’saGoodDog?! Who’saGoodDog Carmen!?!” I of course squiggle all over and say “Me! Me! Me!” Then he goes in his house and brings out a treat. Another man down the street, Kirk, does the same thing. I even know where the treats are in Kirk’s house and if he leaves the door open when he goes inside to get me one, I run in with him to show him where the treat jar is, just in case he forgets.
I have to confess: most times when I return to the farm from the Bayhouse, I have a bit of a Play-Hangover and it takes me a day to recover. My Leaders don’t seem to mind. In the winter, it’s particularly good. When we arrive home from the Bay, the Leaders light a fire in the wood stove, and we all just hang out and doze. Let me tell you, that’s a great life for a dog, lying by the fire, while your Leader snoozes on the couch.
At the Bay, other than barking at strange dogs walking by, I don’t have many jobs. Back home on the Farm, I have several. My main job is the Security of the farm. I’ve already mentioned about keeping the barn free of interlopers. Also, if somebody drives a car down the driveway, I immediately start barking so the leaders know they are outside. They are usually good people, but you never know when you first hear them coming.
Every afternoon, I supervise Pack Leader Cathy taking the horse manure to the back field. She drives the Gator and I ride shotgun. After she dumps the manure, she drives around the back field and I chase her. She calls it exercise for me, but I know we are really checking for Geese in the back field. They are always strutting around, honking and pooping everywhere. If I see any of those varmints, I immediately chase them like a bat-out-of-hell, until they fly off the property. Sometimes I roll in their poop, thinking it will help disguise me. It never works.
Late at night, when it’s dark and Pack Leader Max takes me out for my last potty, the first thing I do is race to the barn, barking with my big girl voice the whole time. There are lots of sneaky animals who might try and attack us, so I want all of them to know I’m on guard. When I use my big girl bark, I sound quite ferocious, and even bigger than I actually am. I’m pretty proud of my bark.
I also keep deer and geese away from the paddock nearest the house. Did I mention I particularly hate geese? They are quite a nuisance.
I have one or two other small jobs, although the Leaders don’t seem to appreciate them quite as much. First off, when we drive to town in winter, and a Pack Leader goes into a store, I always jump in their seat to keep it warm. When the Leader comes out of the store, you’d think they would reward me for this. Instead, they just tell me to go to the back of the car, as if I really hadn’t done anything special for them. My other job is in the morning. Sometimes Leader Max tries to sleep in, rather than go to the barn and feed the horses. If it starts to get too late, I whine by the bed so he knows it’s time to feed the horses. He may think it’s because I want to go out, and he grumbles at me, but it’s really to make sure he takes care of the horses on time. Also, Pack Leader Max doesn’t feed me until after he feeds the horses. The horses get fed. Then, the cats get fed. Then I get fed. You can see my predicament.
That mostly sums up my life. I’m about 44 years old now, and in my prime. I think I have it pretty good and am happy to be a member of this Pack. Way back in the year 1609, some guy named Shakespeare said every “dog will have his day.” I think every day is my day, and I try to live them all to the fullest.
• Both Miles and Jake have crossed the Rainbow bridge.
• The actual quote from Shakespeare is near the end of Act 5 in “Hamlet”. It is: “Hear you, sir; What is the reason that you use me thus? I lov’d you ever: but it is no matter; Let Hercules himself do what he may, The cat will mew, and dog will have his day.”
• Special thanks to Janet Ferri, Veronica Lindemon, Susan Crawford, Christine Brennan and Trish Hanzsche for pictures of their wonderful dogs!