First, my daughter needed the truck and then my son. The truck has not been at the farm since late June. Consequently, I have not been able to haul the trash to the landfill. The cans have been filled to the brim and this has made Jake the puppy immensely happy. He expertly works the lids off (despite all best efforts to prevent it) which makes it easy to tip the cans over. Then, to his great delight, there is a mountain of smelly garbage to nose through - a plethora of textures to chew and rip apart - and an over abundance of material to drag all over the yard. He has all day to create a scene that instantly turns me into a murderous woman. I want to kill that dog - with my bare hands. I have considered hauling him back to the humane shelter. He is a bad dog. He is not a good farm dog. He rarely barks at anything. When people drive up, he disappears. He has killed two of the three chickens survivors. The only thing Jake has going for him is that he is so darned cute when he lays down to watch me pick up the trash, cussing him all the while. He crosses his front paws, kicks back and watches the show. Literally.
My son showed up with the truck last Saturday. We hauled off every scrap and molecule of trash. All that disgusting stuff Jake happily dragged around and I angrily and repeatedly picked up is now safely in the landfill. I do not know what Jake has been doing to keep himself occupied during the day, but he has not been close to death a single, solitary time since Saturday.
I have plans to build a corral for the cans. It will require a gate to allow for the easy removal of full cans for hauling and that makes it a bit of a larger project. A gate is not beyond my basic building skills, though. I can fix this most aggravating and imminent danger to Jake's health and well being, but I cannot fix Jake's other problems. I cannot teach him how to be a good farm dog. I keep hoping his genetics will activate and he will become the watch dog I need him to be. So far he is nothing but a worthless trash hound.
I think Duke appreciates having a companion even though Jake often irritates him, too. The dear old Duke, that most valiant and wonderful of good dogs, continues to diminish in strength and ability. He is a retired dog who gets fed first, and petted first, and receives treats first. It is almost to the point that when I go to the pasture, I have to put Duke in the pen to stop him from following. He can no longer make the trip without great effort. If I had the money, I would have one of those four wheelers with a small trailer. Then Duke could ride along and still be part of the action. He is just too big for me to carry.
This summer, I drove past the house of a distant neighbor. Those kids were in school with my son. The boy, now a young man, must have been visiting home and had gone for a run or a hike. His dog, now old like the Dukenator, was struggling to make it back to the house. The poor old dog was in the road, lagging far behind the young man, obviously in pain and unable to do anything but take baby steps. I do not think the man realized how far behind the dog had fallen. It caused a lump in my throat. But if Jake does not shape up, he will not have to worry about getting old on the farm like Duke and the neighbor dog. (He will go live in the city! What did you think?!)