Yeah, okay, maybe pooping in Maya’s bedroom wasn’t the nicest thing for me to do. But dang it! Steve still needed a lesson or two.
I was right. (But you probably knew that) The next day turned out to be great. In fact, the morning was quite a hoot!
You should have seen his face. His mouth hit the floor faster than Riva’s nose hits the bottom of her dish. And oh man did he turn red.
I knew better than to hang around. No reason to rub his nose in it. Hahaha! Oh, I crack myself up. Yes, I did poop as I walked, so it was all over. Thinking about it now though, I should have done it in one spot and blamed Riva.
Nah, I wanted him to know it was me. He needs to pay more attention to me. I don’t get why he can’t figure that out yet. I stay by his side. I round up the others when we go out hiking. I chase the cat out of the room, and I move the pillows off the couch so he can stretch out. Geez, for all that he should be getting me treats every day.
Wait. He does.
Then it should be twice a day.
If you think about it, this was Noodle’s fault. That hair-brained, lazy, no good, furball needs to keep her hide off of Steve’s face. That’s just wrong. I know what she’s doing. She lies there on his face while he sleeps and plants stupid ideas in his head. That way she can silently laugh at him the next day. She might even be trying to kill him! That’s why I pooped in the room. To warn him about that nasty little she-devil cat.
Steve got the message. He kept the door to Maya’s room closed at night. Mission accomplished. Noodles would no longer be free to terrorize us.
Huh. Ol’ Steve might be a good human after all. He did stop our fur-freak problem. And he’s been taking us on hikes every day.
Oh, how I love our hikes! Freeee-dom and fresh air. Yeah, the kind of fresh air that smells of dead things to investigate. Oh, and he let me talk to Maya. Steve said he called her to find out the real rules about us house pets. But I know better. He could tell I miss her. Gosh, Maya is great!
The next two days moved along without incident. I was regaining a little confidence in my human training. The house cleaned up perfectly. Steve had vacuumed and hit various spots with stain remover, and mopped the tiled areas. We were enjoying our hikes and I had kept the cats behaving well.
Shoot, I haven’t introduced you to Kit-Cat. She’s okay. She’s black and white like me. She stays outside under my porch. I don’t mind that. As long as she doesn’t slide in on one of my blankets or up on my couch again. I can tell you this; I seriously doubt she’ll try that one again. I’m pretty sure she lost a few of her stupid white whiskers last time she fell asleep up on my couch.
Oh, don’t worry. I won’t hurt her. She’s a momma now and that’s an important job. But a little scare is a good reminder of who’s boss around here.
Anyways, to her credit, Kit-Cat doesn’t come out much. Only to eat and to bring her kittens out into the sun for a little while. Well, Kit-Cat decided she wanted some of Steve’s popcorn. He left an empty bag on the table and went inside. I know it was empty because he stopped giving me some. I can’t think of any other reason he’d do that.
This was hilarious!
That silly cat popped her head into the bag. And then she managed to push most of her tiny body in. The bag flipped, flopped, and twisted around that table until “Wham!” off went the bag with kitty inside. Hahaha, she scrambled out there like her tail was on fire. Yep, it had been a good day and a half. Too bad good days don’t last.
I’m thinking Steve must be cursed. At least a little. His training was coming along fine. And he seemed to be comfortable around everyone. In fact, one day while visiting the horses, he told me he used to ride. He and Shasta, “a fine working dog and good friend’ as he put it, would take the whole day to ride down to the creek where they would hang out and appreciate all God’s mighty wonders. And he knew about chickens.
Yesterday, when we stopped at the top of a big hill to give Steve a break, he told me, Sissie, Riva, and Dottie all about how his family raised chickens when he was a kid. And by guarding Steve while he tended to the chickens in the early evening, I could see he was taking good care of them.
So, when I let him find the dead hen it hit him pretty hard.
“Great! Just great! Another tragedy. How was this my fault?” poor Steve whined. It had to be though. He was in charge.
Upon close examination, using my experience and knowledge of farm animals, I could find no clues concerning the hen’s death. No apparent cause; probably old age. Once again, Steve felt the dread of telling Maya that another one of her animals suffered under his care. More bad luck. Or a curse?
I gotta say though, it was good for me. I got to speak to my human, Maya, again. I was so excited to hear her voice! I jumped up and almost got that little black thing where Maya was to come out of Steve’s hands.
He was so worried about telling her. I know because he began to do that sweaty thing — where humans drop water out of their skin and stink. But of course, my Maya told him “No problem. Quite used to them passing on!” Steve blew a bunch of hot air out and barked,
“Woohoo! damn straight! Chickens die of old age. I had nothing to do with it. Bad luck that it happened when I was there, that’s all. Isn’t that right, Allie?”
And before you get all boo-hooey and ‘how could you be so cold?’ That’s not callousness; it’s the reality of ranching. A level head is a valuable trait. Grit and determination are what won the west! I could see that Steve admired my Maya.
The next morning, with the sun shining and a warm breeze blowing, I decided it was time to get Steve moving. He’d thank me for not letting him waste his day. He made his usual breakfast of eggs and meat. By the way, that’s another reason why I was getting to like him so much. He knew good food. Better yet, he knew how to share.
After we all ate, Riva and I decided to take a little nap. We knew we would be hiking or doing something fun so we needed our rest. Meanwhile, Steve went over to see Diane. He came back with a noisy machine that made our grass shorter. I went out with him and made sure that thing didn’t hurt my new human. So when every time it made a funny sound I yelled at it to stop. Steve appreciated that. He knows I’m looking after him.
After that, Steve started to dig in the yard! Bad human! Bad! We’re not supposed to dig. I barked and barked at him and he looked at me like I was crazy. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing until he grabbed something that looked like a white snake.
“There it is, girl. See that crack?’ He said. ‘I need to fix this so you can have a nice green yard and Maya’s been through too much to come home to a dead lawn.” I stayed by his side for a while but the whole thing bored me. Steve wasn’t going to get in any trouble doing that stuff so I let him alone. He should know I trust him. A little.
I thought it was pretty cool that Steve was taking care of our yard. He went back and forth over to the neighbors to get things so he could repair the gate on the side of the yard and a few other things. He returned from their house late in the afternoon shaking his head a bit. Not enough where I thought he might have a foxtail in his ear, no, it was that slow shake he does when he’s puzzled.
“Would you look at that, Allie-girl?” I like the way he says that to me. “Jeff insisted I take some money for the work I was doing. I tried to refuse but he wouldn’t have it.”
“Well, of course he wanted to pay you!” I replied. Steve can be so thick!
As a hard-working ranch hand myself, I know how special these hardworking people are. They both have jobs outside of the ranch. Jeff is a full-time truck driver and Diane works for the county. They don’t come home after work and plop down in front of the TV. They get on the tractor until midnight. They don’t whine. Lesser people would hold a grudge, be quick to judge and slow to forgive. Not them. They are ranchers. Their word is good and they don’t pull any punches while being kind, considerate, honest and forthright. Best of all, they take good care of their animals. What a privilege it is to know them!
Too bad I can’t say the same about Wombles.
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