Grandma was reading this week’s Chieftain newspaper. I was sleeping on my pad under the table. The newspaper rustled, her chair scooted back and she stuck her head under the table.
“Petey,” she asked in her wehavetotalk voice. “Where were you on November 1?”
“What day was that?” I asked, not opening my eyes.
“We were home all day because Miss G came over to play.”
Grandma resumed reading the paper. But now I was awake. “Why did you ask?”
She showed me the first item for November 1 on the police dispatch log:
“Grandma, it wasn’t me.”
“I know, Petey. I just want you to know how proud of you I am for your improvement.”
“Is the statute of limitations for killing chickens expired on me?”
Now knowing there will be no repercussions, I’ll tell you what we’re talking about…
In February 2016, I was six months old. Grandma had owned me for two months. I had not been trained,, so when she got me, I did not mind her at all and ran away every chance I got. She concluded I needed either to be attached to her or contained in order for her to have any peace.
One of Grandma’s friends had asked her to feed her horses while she was gone for a month. Grandma and I drove up to the red barn. My ears perked in excitement at the sight of ground squirrels scampering around the pasture. Grandma had intended I stay in the car. But she looked around and didn’t see any trouble I could get into. Plus the idea of me getting tired from chasing squirrels was a good idea.
She had learned with me, “A tired dog is a good dog.”
So she let me out while she tossed out some hay and checked on the water.
When she returned to her vehicle she looked out into the pasture. I was not in sight. I did not answer her call. Wait… I’m going to let Grandma tell the rest of this. She can tell it better than I can. Plus, I’m getting embarrassed.
“Okay.” This is Grandma:
Well, I could not find Petey. I panicked and drove around the large pasture looking for him. On the way back toward the barn, I looked across the road where there was a house. In the back yard were scattered what looked like four Native American headdresses. You know, with all the feathers. “That’s strange,” I thought. Then I saw a yellow fuzzy streak that was chasing a chicken. “OH, NO!” I shrieked and parked the car.
I yelled and yelled, “Petey, no! Petey, come!” But he was in a daze, like a drunk who is tuned out. Only Petey was drunk on chickens. Four dead. Now chasing #5. I gauged where the hen was headed, ran in that path and planted myself. The hen ran over my feet and as I looked down, her back was plucked clean. Petey was seconds behind her, and I scooped him up. He was breathing hard with a devilish grin on his face.
He said, “That was SO FUN!”
I was sick, for in farming country, people shoot dogs who kill chickens. How would I explain this to the good people who gave me Petey? And what will I tell the owners?
After putting Petey in the car, I left a note on the door of the house, for no one answered my knock. And there were no cars parked in their driveway. The note said, “I’m sorry, but my dog killed your chickens. Please call me at xxx-xxx-xxxx.” I left the chickens in the yard. The massacre made me think of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, a clash between Custer and Indians.
Petey was put in his kennel, which he hates, and I waited for a phone call that never came that night. The next morning I had to feed the horses again. I left Petey at home. After feeding, I knocked on the door of the house.
A very kind lady answered. She wasn’t mad at all. “Can I pay you for lost egg money and for the chickens?” I asked.
“No,” she smiled. She was more worried that I was upset. She said, “Those chickens were 4-H projects for my children, who are now grown and have their own children. They won’t be missed. We were just keeping them around.”
Then she added, “I raise pheasants I just released. If your dog got my pheasants, then we’d have a problem.”
“Are you sure about the chickens? I’ll be glad to pay you.”
“No. Don’t worry about it.”
Of course, I was relieved. And Petey stayed home the rest of the time I went to feed. But now I had a chicken-killing dog, and I didn’t know what to do. I’m going to give this back to Petey now.
Well, Grandma didn’t make me wear a t-shirt with a big “C” on it. But the story got around. I was marked as a troublemaker. I’ll tell you the rest of what happened in another post. I eventually came around to Grandma’s way of thinking, but she had to WORK to make that happen!
I love you, Grandma.
I love you too, Petey!