Friday, October 17, 2008

life on the farm

One of the great things about having kids grow up on a ranch is that they get to really learn some valuable and real lessons about life. My kids have seen animals come and go, they eat the eggs from our own chickens, we've dealt with predatory attacks on our livestock, and, yes, I have actually slaughtered and cooked a turkey of ours (that nobody really personally liked much).

But some things are still tough lessons.

Someone once said that the only reason you put a dog in a story about a kid is so the dog can die. Well, my Aussie shepherd died today. He was an amazing dog. He herded our goats from their pen to the field. He even rounded up neighbors' goats when they escaped and could bring them home.

He knew voice and hand commands. I would take him running with me in the hills, I could tell him to sit down on the side of the trail and run away, as far as I wanted to, and he wouldn't budge from his spot until I called for him. I could stand on the side of a street and tell him to cross it, and he would, then he would wait for me to tell him what to do next.

I never needed a leash with that dog.

So I'm not too sad. He had a great life, and he just died today after spending 11 years with me.

It happens.

The tough part was telling my little girl. She's 11 years old, too. Just like the dog was. So, yeah, she never knew life without that dog.

And it made me feel terrible when she threw herself down on her bed and cried about that dog. It made me feel worse than what happened to my dog.

And tonight, she's going to her first-ever "big kids'" dance, too. So, it's been a pretty weird Friday here. But everything works out eventually. Animals will come and go. My wife is even looking at two more horses.

God. Shoot me now. I do not need two more horses.

But I'd never say no to bringing more animals home to the ranch.

I hope to see some of you at SCIBA tomorrow in Los Angeles.