Hi, everyone! Today is the last day of our trip to rural, north-central Oklahoma. (Pictures to come.) Let me tell you that a cattle ranch in Oklahoma, from the dogs' point of view, is better than Dog Park--it has wide open spaces, birds to chase, cattle to bark at, stock tanks to splash around in, cow patties to roll in, and small children to herd. Plus, it's an official leash-free zone. Bonus (for me): Someone does not have to pick up the poop! Drawback: It's tick season already (although I seem to be the only one picking the creepy little buggers off my neck).
Every day we wander around the young wheat fields and ogle the cattle--Angus, which are big, black, and without horns. We also have helped plant spring gardens, cleared brush (take that George Bush), and hung laundry to let the famous Oklahoma winds dry our jeans so stiff that we can barely walk in them.
Oklahoma is Muzzy's homeland, and although she has become citified, she has reverted to being quite the ranch dog. She barks at the cattle and at anyone who sets foot on the property--and not in her puppy voice, but in a new, deep confident grown-up dog voice. Instead of letting Roma take the lead (Roma would rather be asleep under the dining table in the ranch house), Muzzy is the one at the front of the pack. At one point, I was lying the grass dozing (it was an experiment; I wanted to see what the big deal is--why do dogs and cows love to lie around in the grass? Answer: The grass is warm and sof, and the wind billows over you, and all you want to do is sleep in the sun), and I realized that I didn't know where Roma was. (Roma is pretty much deaf now, so the problem is that if she runs off too far, no amount of yelling will bring her home.) I sat up from my slumber and saw Roma way out in a field. Muzzy picked up on my concern, and, without a word from me, took off to herd Roma back. Then, just as she was about to pounce on Roma, Roma squatted in a business-like way, and, mid-leap, Muzzy changed course and avoided crashing into the old pooper. It was a strange little moment in which Muzzy read both my mind and also Roma's body language. I marveled at her perceptiveness. I wondered, Who is this dog?
We end our pastoral tomorrow. Then it's nine hours in the car and back to Austin and Dog Park, which will seem puny in comparison, I'm afraid. But it also will be filled with friends (canine) who will probably sniff my boots and (human) who can provide treats and all the news we've missed. We'll see how Muzzy fits back in to the pecking (or rather, barking) order.