Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

It’s All About the Ears

Goober is admittedly my baby.  He follows me from room to room, sleeps on my side of the bed, crowds my feet when I’m in the kitchen, and is just generally my best pal.  At the farm for four years now (read his story here), he’s a fixture, on the sofa that is. While he is a hound dog, he is most definitely a couch potato.  But no matter, I love my Goobs.

However, Goober has one super silly trait that always makes us smile around here.  We affectionately call it his “Gooby Ears.”  When I come back from a trip to town, even if I’m only gone 30 minutes or so, I am greeted by bouncing and flouncing and most definitely Gooby Ears.

So what are Gooby Ears?  Well, evidently long ago hound dogs were related to elephants.  Like an excited elephant, Goober distinctly holds his ears out to the side.  The happier he is, the more they flap.  I’m just waiting for him to howl like a trumpeting pachyderm.

So here you go.  Goober with normal ears …

And this is my happy Goobs.  Now those are some serious Gooby ears.  That is one happy pooch!

My Farmtastic Life - It's All About the Ears
That is my happy Goobs. I just adore that face (and of course those ears)!

What crazy habits do your pups show off to greet you when you walk in the door?

Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

“Meow,” said the dog

Around here, we’ve got horses who think they are donkeys, donkeys who act like dogs, dogs who love cat toys, and cats that chase dogs.  It’s a regular madhouse, but it definitely keeps us amused.  We like to say that if you need some good Friday night entertainment, pull up a lawn chair and watch the critters around here, because sometimes they are just plain C-R-A-Z-Y.

For instance, let’s take a look at our dog, Dixie Doodlebug.  She is nuts, I mean obsessed-kind-of-crazy, for cat toys.  If it squeaks, is on a string, or heaven forbid has catnip, she is all over it.  When the cats try to play with the toys, she watches intently as if to say, “Whoa, what’s up?  Those are mine.” She can destroy a cat toy in two seconds flat, and searches closet nooks and crannies for a stowed away gem.  You can often catch Cowboy saying, “Doodlebug, you are not a cat!”

Which leads me to the cats.  Grizzly thinks there is simply no better dog to torment than the gentle and slightly neurotic Goober.  While dogs may chase cats in childhood storybooks, that’s not always the case around the farm.  Occasionally, Goober will find is inner dog and believe he is big and bad enough to chase a cat, and goodness knows he should as he is 70 pounds and counting.  Enter Grizzly.  Grizzly loves nothing more than to pop over the top of the sofa and grace Goober with a few swift smacks on the head, reducing Goober to a shaking pile of wimpy dog.  Which is hilarious, because when it comes to strangers, large animals, or anything he thinks may be a threat, he is all over it.  As long as it’s not a cat that is up close and personal.

Now for the equines on the farm, both horses and donkeys.  Let’s just say they are all kinds of entertaining.  You can often find our horse, River, forsaking his horse buddies for some gal pal time with his two favorite donkeys,  Mama Rose and Sweetie Pie.  He’s twice their size and five times as fast, but he loves nothing more than grazing and kicking up his hooves with the donks.

And everybody’s favorite donkey, Sweetie Pie, is probably just as guilty of not knowing her true identity as any of the other farm critters.  Sweetie Pie follows you around the farm like a dog, and best of all has been known to chase a car or two down the driveway.  There is nothing funnier than driving down the road with a rear-view window full of donkey nose and ears.  But be careful, don’t step on the brakes or you’ll have a Sweetie Pie in the back seat, not that she’ll mind.  When folks come over and are getting things in and out of their cars, we often have to shoo Sweetie Pie away as she is primed to take a seat.

It’s never a dull moment around here, filled with phrases like “Sweetie Pie, you are not a dog,” and “River is running with the donkeys again,” and the ever popular, “Grizzly stop tormenting Goober!”  But  whether they know if they are dogs, cats, donkeys, or horses, I can guarantee that they all know that they are loved and that they rule roost.  It’s good to be a critter at the farm!

Miss Willie Kitty gives Dixie Doodlebug a bath - at the farm anything goes with the roles the critters play
Miss Willie Kitty gives Dixie Doodlebug a bath – at the farm anything goes with the roles the critters play
Critter Stories · Farmtastic Stories

And The Thunder Rolls

Goober out for a stroll in the bluebonnets.
Goober out for a stroll in the bluebonnets.

I used to enjoy a good rain storm.  Thunder and lightning.  Wind whipping through the trees.  And then I got a dog who was afraid.   Excuse me, did I say afraid?  I meant to say terrified.  Now storms equal long nights of a very large, 70-pound dog panting, vibrating, and gluing himself to my side.  Sounds relaxing, right?

This leads me to all things, Goober.  Yes, we named him Goober as in “Awe shucks, Andy.”  You see, Goober showed up on the farm almost two years ago.  Underweight, flea-bitten, scared, and heart-worm positive.  But this catahoula   hound dog mix stole my heart.

When he first showed up, I wanted to call him Rebel.  Since we had a Dixie, I thought it was cute, and they would make the perfect pair.   But in about five seconds flat, it was clear that he was no more a Rebel than he was a poodle.  Cowboy said, “He’s really more of a Goober.”   And it just stuck.  He’s Goober.

Which  brings me back to the thunder storms.  This is one of Goober’s greatest shortcomings.  He can hear it coming long before we do.  When Goober starts pacing and panting, you know a storm is coming.  He’s sort of like our own little meteorologist, except he generally gets it right.  When you hear a loud noise and you wonder if it’s a storm, just take a peek at the old Goobs.  If he’s calm, no storm. If he’s anxious, you better get prepared.

The first storm that rolled in after we had Goober was an eye opener.  It was, of course, the wee hours of the morning.  Sleeping soundly, I was awakened to one giant dog leaping into bed, crawling across my head, and promptly burying his head under the pillows.  In a sleepy stupor, partly amused, partly annoyed, and partly concerned, I wrapped my arms around Goober and softly tried to comfort him.  Nothing doing.  Goober wanted one thing and one thing only – the storm to stop.  Needless to say, it was a long night and Cowboy was having second thoughts about  this loveable pooch who cost us an arm and ten legs to have his heart worms treated.

That episode taught us that storms were no longer going to be something we could enjoy, but rather something we just had to get through.  Even worse are day-time storms that last for hours.  Have you ever tried getting a dog to go outside to go to the bathroom in the rain when they are terrified?  It’s a treat.

During a recent storm, I had finally coaxed Goober outside, since he was doing the doggy version of the pee-pee dance.  I stood on the porch, shivering in the winter cold, begging him to go to the bathroom.  So when he finally left the porch to go find his spot, I did little back flips insides.  Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as his feet his the grass the sky lit up and Goober was back on the porch in a shot.  No luck.

I even got a text from Cowboy the other day when I was out during a storm, that simply said, “The thunder rolls …” To which I quickly responded, “And the Goober shakes.”  Now Garth Brooks should have sung those lyrics, don’t ya think?

The bottom line is that Goober is part of the family.  He’s got his issues, as we all do, and we love him just the same.  So when the winds blow, the storm clouds pile up on the horizon, it’s time to hunker down.  Hunker down on the couch, arms wrapped around Goober, and pray it passes before Goober passes out or I run out of patience.