In past newsletters, you have read about our vast amount of dogs that live or hang out on the ranch. Between four dog-loving families and houses and open spaces, the dogs all together can add up to quite an impressive number. There is no better life for a puppers than living on the ranch. There are more smells, critters to chase, and antlers to munch on than they even know what to do with. That being said, that doesn't mean that each dog or dog breed enjoys the ranch the same. Here are some stories about my furry friends.
For our great pyrenees Bear, the ranch is an open playground where his true doggy instinct can kick in. His breed, the great pyrenees, is known for being a work dog and protective over livestock. With his thick coat, he spends his summer days inside on the cool floor of the ranch house and roams during the cool summer nights. If he isn't keeping Sam up with his barking, he is out on some sort of adventure. During the winters, he doesn't come inside ever and continues his doggy escapades in the cool weather.
Sometimes, we are asked if Bear ever partakes in working cattle. The answer is no, and really, none of the dogs ever mess around with our cattle. That is, until the other day when Bear decided to give an unexpected hand to the crew. It started when Sam and his cowboys tried separating a bull from a group of cows. If you don't know bulls are quite a bit more, well, bullish and uncooperative compared to the cows. Unfortunately, we need the bull to leave the pin and head out into another pasture. Sam and his cowboys started to get the bull to move, but he was stubbornly not leaving. After regrouping, the crew got the bull on the move again towards the gate. It looked like the bull was getting mad and was not going to listen. In the bull's anger, he turned toward ranch boss, Sam, coming in to show who was the real boss. Out of nowhere, the 180-pound, 32-inch tall Bear dog came rearing into the pin. His instincts were kicked into work dog mode, and he put himself between Sam and the bull. He came to give a helping hand (or a bark) to herd the bull out of the pin. Startled by this new critter, the bull took off out the gate. Sam, thankful and impressed with his furry pal, only had to call his name for him to return after the chase.
The basset hounds are the most numerous dogs on the ranch. Being four in total, they might not be as impressive as Bear, but they are equally as loved. Now, one of the hound's names is D.O.G.; not dog like you read dog but as you spell it. Say it with me, "deee-oooo-geee." Now say it with an Italian accent. Good, now you know how to pronounce D.O.G.; I will invite you into his shoes.
D.O.G. was born on the ranch and never left the ranch. In fact, every time he'd try to adventure from the ranch, some external factor would always bring him home, but that is a story for another time. Right now, you need to realize he knows nothing better than the canyon and open pasture land. He has never been on a leash or been in a car just for a fun car ride. Imagine you have never seen the outside world besides a few acres on the southern plains. Imagine you knew no world outside of that. These facts very much made up D.O.G.’s reality.
That was until Helen moved into her Grandparent's house in Amarillo city during her college years. D.O.G. was loaded up in a car and taken right to the heart of the city. For D.O.G., it was a bad dream. He was overwhelmed by the fact that there were actually more than ten people on the planet. "What is this rope you are putting on my neck?" he'd think as Helen took him for a walk. "Why is water shooting out of the ground?" as they pass sprinklers. "It's so loud!", D.O.G. would exclaim as he passed house after house and busy street after busy street. Needless to say, it was only a short time before we realized D.O.G. needed to go back to the ranch. Finally, D.O.G. was home to his safe, quiet little world where he could go on his leashless walk and sleep on his back all day.
Ollie is a faithful dog belonging to her owners, Aaron & Faith. That being said, there is no one that she loves more than Aaron as she tries to compete for attention with his wife, Faith. She was truly born for the ranch, even more so than D.O.G.. Ollie is some sort of German Shepherd mutt. She honestly looks like a large dingo with her tan coat and smile that shows all her teeth at times. Ollie made it to the ranch when she was found on the side of the road as a puppy when Aaron and Faith were coming home from a Fourth of July party. When she came to the ranch, she was truly home.
Ollie is a true, genuine outdoor dog. She was always welcome as an indoor dog, but by her own decision, she has spent her time outside. Only when the weather becomes unbearably cold or excruciatingly hot will she come inside. Her day consists of adventure all the time. She roams from one spot to another on the ranch, exploring and sometimes hunting critters (not cattle). When I think of her, Jack London's book, The Call of the Wild, pops into my head.
One day, Aaron and I headed into the canyon to fix some fence. The fence was in some obscure spot by a creek about 6 or 7 miles from the ranch headquarters. We worked for a few hours when, all of a sudden, I heard a rustling in the bushes behind me. Startled, I turned around, expecting to come face-to-face with a hog. Instead, Ollie jumped out of the bushes. She found us hours after we left all that way from home. This occurrence will happen to me often when I will be out somewhere on the ranch to all of a sudden be greeted by Ollie and her kind yet ferocious smile.
Oscar belongs to Helen and I. He is a rambunctious American Bulldog with a loving spirit. He leans a bit more on the “I'm cool hanging out but also loves getting out to the ranch and away from town.” His story of how he came to the ranch is full of heartbreak and tears but ends with him in a family who loves and cares for him. He is extremely faithful and a true Texas hound.
Sorry if this makes you cry, but it does have a good ending. Oscar, a few weeks old, was discarded and rejected more than once. He was initially found in a dumpster by two young girls. They wanted to keep this puppy that someone so carelessly dismissed. Their father, unfortunately, told them they could not keep the puppy. They went house to house looking for a home for Oscar, and he was rejected again and again until they came to the house that belonged to the grandmother of one of our former ranch hands. Keeping his name from the story, he decided to take Oscar even though one of his dogs was extremely aggressive.
Oscar went to the ranch and was placed into a fenced-in yard with an aggressive dog. None of us knew this dog was aggressive at this point. One day, Oscar was mauled in the face by the aggressive dog and fortunately came away with no serious injuries. The two dogs were separated, and the hand was given another chance with Oscar. A few weeks later, the hand was let go for various reasons, and he took his two dogs with him and left the ranch. We didn't know Oscar was rejected and left behind again. Fortunately for him, we found him not long after the ranch hand left.
Finally, Oscar was accepted. Helen fell in love with the little guy, and with the hand gone, Oscar could finally be hers. He has been a faithful and loving boy ever since. He also had a sister added on later, Stella, who was a small black lab mix rescued from the pound. Later, he had a brother, Bud Dog, a hound mutt found as a stray. Oscar loves his pack, and together, we are a happy family.
Quick Overall Update
Fall has been a busy time on the ranch this year. Between ranching, farming, and selling beef, it seems like there is no time to relax!
Our weaning went exceptionally well this year. Sam, Faith, Aaron, and Josh (our new ranch hand) went hard for a few weeks taking care of our cattle and preparing them for a successful and happy winter season. After checking on the health and seeing if mamas were pregnant, we also had to bale and gather hay from the fields. Our hay harvest this year was fantastic, and we will have plenty of food for our cattle all winter long, even if it snows a bunch.
Our retail has been gearing up for some exciting changes. Fall and the holidays are always a considerable time for us. We have been updating the website and preparing great holiday deals for you. Our campaign this year will be Black Angus Friday vs Black Friday. Be sure to check it out for all your holiday gatherings and giftings.
The ranch has finally been starting to cool down for the fall. This weather means that it is better for some recreational activities. One of my favorite activities is to go for a quiet morning hike and enjoy the scenery and wildlife. I have recently been noticing the deer out and about. They have been very active with their young fawns. The views are also quite a sight, and I will leave you with this quick update with a picture of an amazing vista below.