This is Joe. He is my protector. This is a story about him.
Sometimes blind luck works out in your favor.
Two years ago the pump that brings us water from the creek needed an electric something-or-other installed. Since we never mess with anything that can fry you quicker than you can say, “They killed Kenny,” we called for an electrician.
When he arrived, he had with him, The Best Dog Ever! He was friendly, enthusiastic, and loved the creek. His name was Joe. We fell in love with Joe at first sight. He seemed to be part retriever, part lab, part shepherd, and all eagerness and spirit.
Richard told the electrician, that Joe was exactly the kind of dog he was looking for. He wanted a good farm dog to ride with him in his pick-up.
He has never been all that fond of my Papillion. I think he believes people would make fun of him if he drove around with her in his truck, especially if they heard him calling for her.
The electrician finished his job and left. A few days later he called and asked if we really wanted Joe. He said Joe wasn’t good with children. Since our children are grown and don’t look like actual children any more, Joe wouldn’t know they came under that heading and therefore he’d surely be fine with them. We said yes.
He brought Joe to us and left with tears in his eyes.
Joe cried all day and finally fell asleep with me lying beside him on the bed. He kept his paws around my arm to make sure I wouldn’t go away. We gave him lots of love and cookies and he settled down, and within a week he was at home with us.
He is a delight. He’s perfect. Oh, he has a few idiosyncrasies. For one thing, he doesn’t like for any items to contain cotton stuffing. Not long after he had become our dog, we were sitting in the kitchen, and suddenly Joe proudly came down the hall with our big poofy comforter. Only it wasn’t poofy any more.
He seemed to be saying, “Look what I did for you!” I went into the bedroom and found myself standing knee deep in a cloud of cotton. Oh well, that thing didn’t really “go” with this house, anyway. I have since purchased a more practical bed cover without all that annoying cotton in it.
Joe still removes the cotton from all of the toys he can get his paws on, and we must be careful to keep pillows out of his reach. Those nice, round, comfortable dog beds from Costco are out of the question, as well.
Joe likes to play games and has personally made up specific rules for each one. One of his favorite games is called “Get the Stick.” Here is how you play it.
He grabs a nearby stick. (We have an abundance around here.) Then he stands seemingly as still as a statue, but if you look closer, you’ll see that every muscle in his body is quivering at the ready. His eyes are looking at you for the slightest indication that you have noticed he is ready for a game.
All you have to do is say, “Gimme that stick!” and he is off and running. He careens past you at light speed, running back and forth. Your part in the game is to repeat the catch phrase. Sometimes I embellish and say, “Gimme that! It’s my favorite stick!”
As he charges past you for the fifth or sixth time, he enjoys it if you reach out your hands and pretend to grab the stick. This causes him to bark gleefully, which incidentally, sounds pretty funny with the stick in his mouth. This game will continue until you get tired of it. Joe will never get tired of it.
Another game is “Get the Lizard.” This game requires prodigious barking. A human does not need to participate in this game, unless the human gets tired of the barking.
Here are the rules for “Get the Lizard.” First he must find a lizard and recruit it into the game. The lizard will more than likely not be a willing participant. Then he barks and paws at the lizard as it opens its little lizard mouth trying to be intimidating. Joe loves this! When it tries to sneak away, he gently brings it back into the game and then gets it into his mouth and flips it into the air.
This activity continues until the lizard is no longer playing its part in the game. By this time it is missing its tail, a few limbs, and is decidedly dead. Now, Joe engages in frenzied barking because it won’t wake up and play with him. The barking continues until the lizard is confiscated. (I must say right here that if I am aware of the lizard’s dilemma in time, I rescue the poor thing. After all they eat bugs we don’t like.)
If a fly or moth wanders into the house, Joe engages in another game called, “Get the Bug.” (Are you beginning to see a pattern here?) This game has no rules. He just jumps and clacks his teeth together in the general direction of the offending bug, knocking over furniture and lamps. This is not my favorite game, but my grandchildren find it delightfully entertaining.
Incidentally, the grandchildren are aged thirteen and seventeen, which, thankfully, is old enough for them to be acceptable to Joe. They just have to remember not to bring their teddy bears when they come to visit!