When we got home last weekend, two dogs were really happy to see us.
The old dog Chester and the boxer Val ran the country on the family farm while the rest of us spent a three-day weekend in Omaha visiting extended family and relaxing.
Even though we had a cousin keep an eye on them while we were gone to make sure they were OK, the two big dogs Chester and Val wore themselves out trying to keep up with the pup Arbuckle. This young dog who’s part Lab, boxer and something else spends all day every day chasing Dad to whatever he has to get done for the day, so he has an unfair advantage. Chester and Val, who are sheltered in air conditioning for at least five days a week, didn’t stand a chance.
They were so hot and tired when we got back that I couldn’t talk the old dog Chester into getting into the hot car with me. He went straight to the front door of the farm house because he wanted to get inside where he knew it was cooler.
The heat didn’t use to bother Chester, but in the last couple of years he’s gotten old and cranky. He even tried to stow away inside for the weekend by hiding under the couch as we left for the weekend. But I caught him as we came back inside to get the car keys.
The dogs greeted us with wagging tails and excited yipping, but once we finally got loaded into the car, they passed out just about immediately. Chester collapsed on the front passenger seat -- which has always been his seat. Val didn’t even try to worm her way into getting Chester to share his spot -- she went straight to the back and curled up at my son’s feet. I don’t think they stirred the whole way home -- at least not voluntarily.
Oh we tried to mess with them a little. I had to make sure Chester was still breathing and Isaac tried to get Val to bite him. But they didn’t move no matter which ear we grabbed, how hard we pulled their tails, what direction we yanked their legs, how often we checked their teeth or how much we scratched their bellies.
We didn’t get a growl, not a nip, and barely any movement at all. Chester only responded when we found that special spot that gets his leg going. Val finally got Isaac to stop bugging her by licking his hand.
They were so tired, they weren’t able to get onto the bed the night we came home to Clay Center. I had to lift the old dog to his spot and Val was so spent she slept on the floor. She never sleeps on the floor, if she can help it.
They were so tired they slept for the next two days straight. According to my son, they didn’t leave my bed. Even the Fourth of July festivities, which they both hate, had much effect on them.
Isaac said he tried to play with Val while she slept during the day and Val rewarded him by biting his arm. She didn’t even give him a warning growl.
And even though I wasn’t there when it happened, I have no doubt he deserved it. I’ve been telling her for years it’s OK to bite him.