Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Doggone Shetlie!

Our backyard has no fence, just a thin strips of trees and underbrush between us and the people on the other side. And that was always fine. Told me where to stop mowing, for one thing. For another, Tralfaz the Giant Dog knew where the boundary was. Or at least, he DID know.

The new neighbors across the copse just got a little tiny dog that we think is a Shetland Sheepdog. What they call a Sheltie. Although it should be a Shetlie. They're not from Sheltand.


The Sheltie (if that's what it is) is as cute as anything you ever saw. The couple that owns the house will be out doing yardwork, and this little scamp will just poink here and there all over the lawn.

The problem is that Shelties wake up every morning with 1,000 barks in their stomachs, and if they don't get those barks out throughout the day, they will explode.

Actually, that's a myth. They only think they will explode. But they've always managed to get all the barks out, just in case.

Here's one of the varmints, courtesy of Shetlie --- uh, Sheltie International
So Sheltie's bouncing around giving off random barks at birds, squirrels, people, air molecules, whatever. Tralfaz himself, like many huge dogs, very seldom barks, and thank God, because his bark is like thunder. Sheltie's barking has worked magic on Tralfaz, who is an only dog, and LOVES other doggies. (And yes, he had his little surgery, so it's probably not the thing that would be making you wild, Mister.) It's a continual invitation to come play. So a couple of weeks ago Tralfaz barked a couple of times, then charged like a maniac across the wooded section and scared the crap out of everybody next door.

And he didn't even get to play with the little dude, who was swept into the house by his alarmed owners.

Tralfaz is the friendliest dog I've ever seen, but people who don't know him are understandably a little dismayed by the sight of a 130-pound dog crashing through the forest like an angry bear.

I apologized profusely, of course, and hauled my miscreant home, covered in shame. He received punishment; I stewed for hours on the disobedience of a dog we've worked so hard to train.

The incident has not yet been repeated. Partly because Tralfaz stays on the leash when there's any hint that Barky McBarkypants might be taking his constitutional. But Tralfaz sits in the yard and watches, hoping, just as he used to for the kid next door who got less enthusiastic about him when he got bigger than she is.

He'll never understand that people's reaction to him depends a lot on whether he's on a leash.

Oh, my poor Tralfaz! He is one that loves not wisely but too well.

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