November 13, 2013



I’ve told you before I enjoy auction sales. Farm auctions, not to buy anything, but to visit and have coffee with friends and neighbors. Cattle and horse auctions, and an occasional garage sale, if they sell Elvis decanters of whiskey.
On Saturday I enjoyed watching a dog auction. Cattle dogs. Working dogs. Not those “hunt on the weekend and lay around all week dogs.” These were workers. Like my dog, Vern Baker.
Now Shirley says to train a dog, you have to be, at least, as smart as the dog. And it wouldn’t hurt to be a little smarter. I’m not much of a dog trainer.
I had Tyke, a red heeler who was fantastic. I had King, a German Shepherd, who came from the Bar U Ranch and was already trained. I’ve had some pretty good ones. And I’ve had Andy, and Brooklyn, and some I won’t name here because you may be reading this to your children, that were more worthless than teats on a boar pig.
And I have Vern Baker. You’ve met him. He’s my dog that wrecked $3,000 worth of drapes and furniture when we forgot him in the house for 10 minutes. He’s the dog that tore the roof out of Will’s pickup when I locked him in there out of the way while I loaded some cows on the trailer. He’s the dog that…Well, you get the picture.
Anyway, back to the auction. I saw one dog bring $4,800. A border collie that could hold herd, trail cattle behind a rider that was ahead of the cows, guard gates while you were haying cows, load bulls in the trailer out in the pasture, and, although they never said it, would most likely fetch you a beer out of the fridge.
Then, they had an old boy from South Dakota that had three dogs on the sale. All with full videos. And you could tell he loved his dogs and they loved him. He would walk out to a bunch of cows and those old cow dogs would stay right by him. They would wag their tails and smile at him and jump up to be petted. They would go for a playful run once in awhile and then hurry back to be by his side. There was only one small problem. They didn’t chase cows. If a cow turned and looked at them, they would hightail it back to their master. But he got three or four hundred dollars for them.
So, that got me to thinking, which, as I’ve told you before, Shirley warned me against. What if I put Vern Baker on the sale? And told the truth!
“Alright, people, listen up! This is Vern Baker, an Australian Shepard cross. We’re not sure what he’s crossed with, but we think it was a dysfunctional dog in a shelter. Vern will chase cows. Vern will load in a pickup. Vern will heel cattle. The trouble is he often chases cows the wrong way. He will grab on their tail and drag along behind like he’s in a shovel race at a horse show. He will load in a pickup. But, you have to lift him in the back. He will load in the front seat by himself, especially if he is covered with mud and slop. He will faithfully run under the horse trailer and bite a cow’s front feet as she attempts to get in the trailer. He will heel the saddle horses and run them over the top of you when you are graining horses and have your back turned. He will lie in front of the door to trip burglars coming into the house. He eats cat food, drinks hardily from the toilet, doesn’t fetch and won’t hunt. He is house-broke unless you feed him at night. When you go out in the morning, he will be right with you, taking your knees out as you go down the stairs. He’s a one-of-a-kind, friendly dog. He’s a lot like your friends at Happy Hour. Not much good for anything, but happy to see you! Who’ll give ten thousand? A thousand? Five dollars?”
Ah heck, I’ll just keep him. He keeps Shirley on her toes as she limps around on that new knee. And by the way, she’s up to three-quarters of a bucket!