When I was in my early teens, my grandparents were given a blue heeler (Australian cattle dog). He was a medium sized dog with a scruffy salt and pepper coat, and I thought he looked like he should be owned by a homeless person. He wasn’t anything you’d see and want to cuddle with.
Besides being visually unappealing, he was hyper. I don’t mean restless; I’m talking about the energy level of a marching band full of meth heads. Mosquitoes would give up chasing him because he was too dodgy.
The little devil had ups like Michel Jordan and the acrobatic abilities of Greg Louganis, too. He could walk up behind you and jump flat footed, do a 1080 triple front flip knack knack over your head, lick you in both ears, one eye, and French kiss you before sticking the landing perfectly and running away to harass some other part of God’s beautiful creation.
His worst characteristic as far as Granddaddy was concerned was what he was bred to do, though. That was to herd cattle. The farm was a little over 300 acres and made up of a mixture of pasture and woods. Unfortunately, the dog spent most of his time keeping the cows hemmed up in the far back corner of the farm, deep in the woods on the other side of a pretty deep ditch.
These were the days before everyone had a UTV, and other than riding his tractor, the only way Granddaddy had to let the cows out of the dog’s makeshift concentration camp was to wait on the dog to get hungry enough to come back to the house for supper or walk a good distance and struggle to keep the dog from returning to his post.
So, after Granddaddy finally got fed up enough, he came up with a brilliant, affordable, and infallible solution to the herding problem. He chained an old tire to the dog’s collar. That way he could still get around without being locked in the old chicken coop all the time, but he wouldn’t be able to drag it out of the yard to run the cows because the tire was surely too heavy and cumbersome.
A week or so later, Granddaddy found out how hard it was to drag a hyper dog, a section of logging chain, and an old truck tire back to the house from the back corner of the farm.
I’m not sure exactly what happened to that dog, but it wasn’t there the next time I went to see my grandparents.