A Tale (Tail?) of Two Dogs

It is a colder but bright and inviting morning that I walk out in today. I need to go up to the cows’ winter feed grounds about three-quarters of a mile away and chop ice out of the spring where they drink. I could take the truck or the quad but, like a good old Norwegian lumberjack, I set off on foot, my axe over my shoulder. The two dogs eagerly join me. At the water hole, only a thin coat of ice has formed. While I open the smaller nose-sized hole Apache excitedly circles me, wondering what I might unearth, I suppose. In her enthusiasm, she steps on the thin ice of the larger hole and one leg falls through. The hole is neither large nor deep so she is in no danger, but she does look surprised. Setting out for home, Pepper is beside me, but where is Apache? Pepper glances back with an amazed expression. Here comes Apache half-carrying half-dragging an entire elk leg from the carcass that some poor excuse for a hunter abandoned a couple of months ago. As we head toward home Apache alternates between trotting along, her prize in her jaws, and lying down to gnaw on it. Suddenly she gives a little yelp of pain. What now? I glance over just in time to see that she has dropped the large bony leg on her own foot. This is the noble breed of dog favored by the police for difficult tasks requiring both intelligence and agility? Never mind, Apache. I’m afraid you’ve been around your owner too much and my traits are rubbing off on you. We continue on. The next time Apache stops for a gnawing session, Pepper has had enough. She marches over, bares her teeth, and growls. Apache, the large German shepherd attack dog, slinks away. In minutes Pepper is out of sight, carrying her leg home to hide it in a safe place. Apache doesn’t much care. She’ll sneak over and steal it back a little later.

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