Herald and Journal, April 26, 1999

This king has 'run' of the farm


Last week I got out of the car and my friend Indy came to greet me.

Indy is our 5 year-old black Labrador. He may be a dog, but that doesn't keep him from thinking he's a person.

He has broken every one of the chairs we had on the back porch. They had circular, padded seats and plastic woven backs. Now the seat cushions are all torn up from the big ox climbing up on them. The seat backs are all broken out from our "dainty" dog making himself comfortable as if he were a two-legged member of the family.

To best describe Indy's physical appearance, I have to use a quote I read about Garth Brooks. Brooks was described as a thumb with a hat on it. I would describe Indy as a thumb with a collar on it. He is not a tall, lanky, Lab.

He is just average height with a broad chest. He looks like one big muscle. He got that way from chasing after Tom. He insists on following the tractor when Tom goes out to do any kind of field work.

He runs along for awhile, and then goes in search of animals to hunt. He may scare up a pheasant or some ducks. Sometimes he will be in pursuit of a mouse. He just loves digging around the edge of the field, looking for things to chase. Then he runs like crazy.

If it is a hot day, he will splash through a puddle or a marshy area on the far end of the farm. His favorite place to cool off is a deep pit where a tree was moved from the tree farm behind us. He launches himself into the pit and splashes about. When he emerges, he is happily covered in muck.

We try to limit Indy's journeys to our farm. We rent land nearby and we don't want him running onto the highway. This is very difficult for him to understand when you are sitting atop the tractor, ready to pull out onto County Road 92. He is eager to be on the run.

If you see him, stop the tractor and very pointedly tell him, "No, Indy," he will stay home.

Sometimes he thinks he can outsmart us by running up the hill behind the barn and following along on the field road. When he realizes we are continuing down the road instead of turning in at the end of the cow yard, he gives up and goes home.

If we turn toward Highway 12, he zooms through the horse pasture and across to the neighbor's driveway, waiting for the tractor. He hasn't gone on the road, but he still gets to go along. If Tom continues onto the highway, Indy will come back home. If Tom turns up the driveway for the rented fields next door, Indy trots along, happy to be included.

Indy is very playful and like all Labs, loves to retrieve. He tirelessly fetches sticks and tennis balls. His all-time favorite toy, though, is a five-gallon plastic oil jug. If Tom leaves an empty one sitting on the ground by the tractor, Indy will transform it into his newest toy.

What he really likes to do is to carry the jug in his mouth by the handle and trot around the yard like he just dug up a million bucks. Then he will stand proudly in front of you and wait.

"Release, Indy," I tell him and he drops it.

I give the plastic jug a good kick and it flies down the driveway. Indy flies after it, chasing it and skidding it across the gravel as he tries to pick it up again. Finally, he grabs the handle in his mouth and returns for another romp. This is his favorite game.

I come out of the house and hold my hands palm up and ask him "Where is it?"

Indy then goes running around looking for a jug for me to kick.

He is quite the clown and loves to have our undivided attention. Indy doesn't chase the barn cats, but he will come running if he sees one of them is being petted.

Yes, Indy is the king of the farm. Long live the king!

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