Dallas Tales…Hank’s Rescue

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Reveille sounds for the camp kids. They’re out and about with all their adventures for the day. It’s time for our little pack to get started for the day as well. I thought we would take a hike on a trail I discovered a few years back. It winds along Inks Lake where there are lots of rabbits to chase. We normally take a little picnic lunch to share. I rigged up a little cart with a harness that our big guy Felix has agreed to pull. They served pizza at the mess hall last night so there were a lot of leftover bones. Bones are the part those kids never eat. Also called the crust where you don’t find many ingredients. They eat the middle and toss the rest. Along with pizza there were lots of apple slices. To complete our lunch, we found a whole box of corn dogs. Ok, let’s go. I will lead the pack and let’s have big Felix at the rear so no one gets lost.

We arrive at the edge of a big rock that overlooks the lake. This will make a splendid spot for our picnic. Thanks Felix for hauling our lunch up the hill. Let’s all help spread our feast on the big rock. Geez, all that hiking has really made me hungry. I can’t wait for those left over corn dogs. They are my favorites at camp each year. Let’s circle up and put everything in the middle. What a beautiful afternoon. The kids are sailing out on the lake and having so much fun. What’s that little sailboat I see in the distance? I don’t see any kids on board. But there’s a tiny speck on board. Hand me the binoculars Bear. Let’s see if a sailboat broke away from it’s mooring last night and floated out into the middle of the lake. Oh my goodness! There’s no way! I can’t be seeing what I think I’m seeing. Where’s Hank? I know he left with us didn’t he? Hank, come here! Hank, where are you? Come on now; don’t be playing games like this. Bear, didn’t you make sure Hank left with us? Bear has a really sheepish look on his face and cowering a bit. I’m gonna take a deep breath and say a prayer right now. Clean the lens of the binoculars Coco. I focus the binoculars really well this time. Great scot, Hank’s aboard a sailboat all alone! How in the world did that happen? Catahoula hound dogs can be pretty mischievous little pups and Hank is proving to be just that and more. Come on guys, just leave everything, we’ve got to get down quickly to the lake and see how we’re going to get Hank to shore.

Assuming the role of camp chairman this year is proving to be quite the challenge. If anything happens to Hank I’ll never hear the end of it. That pup! Grrrrrrrowl! Ok, Bear since you are probably the strongest of us all I need for you to take the lead on this rescue. We’ll all swim out to Hank except for Felix. We’ll need Felix to run back to camp and stay ashore near the big slide as a landmark so we can find our way back after we’ve rescued Hank. On the water everything looks the same from a distance. So we should all remember to have a landmark to help us find our way back to shore. Coco, Bear and I dive in and start dog paddling out to Hank. By now little Hank is howling because he’s scared to death. The closer we get the louder he’s howling. We finally reach Hank. I tell Bear to get the rope in his teeth and I will climb aboard since I am the smallest. Hank is shivering with fear and he’s so glad to see me he almost knocks me into the water. After reassuring him he’s going to be ok and not in trouble Hank settles down a little bit. I really want to scold him big time but poor little pup has already had the most frightening experience of his young life. We’re all family and even though we can get frustrated with each other we love one another deeply. Bear swims hard with Coco helping pull the rope towing us back to shore. Felix is barking loudly to signal where we should dock the sailboat. There will be big tales for campfire tonight!

 

Dallas Tales..Lessons Learned

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Hank bends to peer pressure on the very first day at camp! I suppose he didn’t learn at dog obedience school that you don’t do everything your friends tell you to do. There’s Hank on top of that giant slide with no other option besides sliding down into Inks Lake. There goes Hank head first into the lake as we all stand there watching. He begins to thrash about coughing since he obviously got a huge mouth full of water going head first down the big slide. I realize immediately he’s drowning so I jump in and dog paddle quickly to his side. The lifeguard jumps in about the same time and together we get him out onto the bank. The lifeguard holds him so he can get some of that water out of his lungs. After sputtering a bit little Hank goes running over to the cousins with his tail tucked between his legs. He’s lucky he survived. I get real close to Hank and tell him it’s ok but that I hope he’s learned his lesson. Never let others influence you to do something you know you ought not to do!

After the scare of Hank’s near drowning we had to quickly set up shop under the big house and prepare to scout for our night meal. Felix was a big help. He begged some kids sweetly and they were glad to toss all their hot dogs to him. Turns out some of the same kids were at camp last year and they remembered our little cousin pack of dogs. I’m sure we’re gonna sleep in tomorrow morning. Whew, what a long day.

Mercy sakes alive, what’s all that noise? Whistles blowing, kids hollering, what sounds like a herd of buffaloes up above us in the big house was deafening. Maybe staying under the big house wasn’t such a good idea after all. Maybe we’ll make other arrangements later in the day. OK, all you pups lets rise and shine. Time to scout for food.

Breakfast was yummy just like the good old days. One thing for sure, these kids don’t eat much. Most of them don’t like eggs either. That’s a good thing for a pup. Yum. I love me some eggs! I got into the worst trouble of my life one year when I spent the summer with my cousin Radar the fox terrier. Radar lived on a farm and one of his favorite pastimes was raiding the hen house where he would steal the eggs from the hen’s nest. Raw eggs are just like caviar to a dog. He taught me how to sneak into that chicken yard and outrun the old rooster who stood guard over all the eggs. Those roosters have big claws on the backs of their legs called spurs. Radar told me to be really careful because if that old rooster spurred me on the neck I would bleed to death. Late one night Radar and I sneaked into the chicken yard. All the chickens were on their roost. That means they were pretty much all asleep. We both had feasted on several eggs when all at once out of the corner of that yard here came that old rooster. He was mostly running but every now and again those big wings would allow him to lift off the ground. I felt something brush my neck so quickly I was certain the old rooster had spurred me to certain death. Radar had jumped completely over my back allowing his toenails to scratch my neck in his attempt to escape that old rooster. I followed quickly behind Radar and got out of that chicken yard fast. I lost my taste for eggs for a good while after that near death experience! That was my first lesson in learning why I should not give in to peer pressure. Old Radar had been teasing me all day that I would be a big chicken if I didn’t go with him. I knew I shouldn’t go but I went anyway. Just like little Hank climbing that big ladder to the slide, I learned my lesson that night.

Dallas Tales…Summer Camp 2019

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The dog days of summer…..now, just who started that saying! Who knows? Probably someone who wasn’t a dog, that’s for sure. I guess it means that it’s hot outside, not much going on and everyone is being lazy. Lazy? Who me? I’m not lazy. Oh, you mean because I sleep so much during the day. A girl must have her beauty rest. Thank heavens I’m not a yard dog. Geez I can’t imagine living outside all the time. Well, prayers for my poor cousins who are off to camp. It can get really hot there. Wait, Mama just came in with my little tiny suitcase. She’s putting my things inside. There goes my leash, extra collar, and treats. Now she bagged the dog food and yikes, my kennel and blankies are going to the car! Mama, it’s hot up there! Oh well, guess I’ll be joining the cousins soon.

 

We’re on the road on the way to camp. I’m thinking back to some of the memories I made last year at camp. The cousins and I did have great fun. Oh yes, and I seem to remember Radar nominated me to be Camp Chairman this year. It will be great fun with new adventures I’m sure. Hopefully my newest cousin, Hank, will be there too. Hank’s a Catahoula hound dog. He mostly lives in Mississippi but he was born right here in Texas! Yay, a good ole Texas boy. I tell you, that Hank has the bluest eyes you’ve ever seen. His eyes look sort of like people eyes. It’s kinda of spooky, especially at night! I just asked Mama if Hank was coming to camp and she assured me he was on his way as well.

 

After a long ride I’m finally at camp. There comes Felix, Coco, Bear and Hank to greet me. Sooooo excited to see all my cousins. Laci the cat decided she would stay home for the summer as well as her little pup brother Luke. Luke is getting older and really doesn’t need to be out in the heat. We’ll miss Luke and Laci.

 

The cousins remembered I would serve as camp chairman and have my little space all prepared under the big main house. Guess Mama can just take my kennel and blankets back home. It’s gonna be dirt floors under the big house or camp outs under the stars.

 

Hey you cousins lets go down to Inks Lake and see what the kids are doing. Felix you be in charge of Hank cause this is his first camp. Off we go to the water. Can’t wait to jump in and take a swim. It’s gonna be nice to cool off after that long car ride. Felix, where’s Hank? Felix looks around to see that Hank has seemed to vanish. Where could that little pup have gone so quickly? Oh no, oh no, that can’t be little Hank up on top of that big slide? I know Catahoula’s can climb but geez he’s all the way to the top! Gulp. As camp chairman I can’t have an injury on the first afternoon. The entire camp now sees Hank up there and they’re all chanting, “slide, slide, slide”! I can’t look……….

Dallas Tales – The Ant I Met Along The Way

 

Written especially for my sweet little friend Ember

May 11, 2019

I met Mr. Ant in back of my new house yesterday. An ant you say? Yes, a big fire ant. You see he was rafting down a giant rapid next to the curb. After a big rainstorm the dirt from my Mama’s new lot at The Crescent had washed onto the street creating a tiny canyon of dirt. Water flowing down the dirt canyon provided a perfect river for ant rafting. Mr. Ant was just free falling down the river when all of a sudden he clung to a tiny stone and crawled out onto dry concrete. I asked Mr. Ant where he was going. The ant said that he was about to go down into the gutter to gather all his other ant friends who had washed down the drain. Mr. Ant said they were going to the Grand Canyon. They would hike to the nearest train yard, hop aboard and they’d be at the Grand Canyon in no time at all. Mr. Ant decided on the Grand Canyon because it was supposed to be dry there. Arriving at the Grand Canyon they hiked all the way to the bottom only to find water! Water? We are tired of water. Mr. Ant assembled all his people and they hopped aboard another train and headed out to Tennessee to hike the Appalachian Trail. He had heard the trail stretched between Georgia and Maine. Because he had relatives in Tennessee he decided to pick the trail up in Tennessee. So off they went on a long train ride. They found a cozy boxcar on the train that previously held all sorts of food items. There were crumbs everywhere so no worries about food. Upon their arrival in Tennessee all the ant cousins greeted them. What a feast the cousins threw for those Texas ant cousins. It was a sight to behold. Breadcrumbs, crackers, but best of all was the watermelon! Yum!

The next day Mr. Ant and his group were off to hike the Appalachian Trail. They encountered the tallest trees they had ever seen. Over the rocks and mountains they went. Such beauty they had never seen. And best of all not too much water. Nice easy creeks where they could float peacefully on a leaf if they wanted. They hiked all the way to Maine finding so much fun along the way. Beautiful birds, lizards, animals, flowers and lots of fun thinks to do. The most interesting thing they saw were the synchronous fireflies in the mountains at night near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They encountered these mysterious fireflies at the start of their trip in Tennessee on the Appalachian Trail. You see, most fireflies just blink on and off but this group blink all at once and go dark all at once. They are the only species in America whose individuals can synchronize their flashing light patterns. A beautiful little mystery the Lord created.

The ants arrived in Maine and found that winter had arrived. There was too much snow and much to cold. Since they had spent their summer on the Appalachian Trail they had not prepared for winter. They could have bunked up with ant cousins there in Main but they hesitated to impose. They took a vote and decided to hop another train for Key West, Florida. They had heard Key West would be a great place to stay the entire winter. Ah, the cool breeze from the ocean and lots of restaurants. No we don’t eat in the restaurants but there are plenty of crumbs to be found nearby. But we were told to watch out for the iguanas. Scary big lizards! Yikes. We’ll stick together and we’ll be fine. We sent out worker ants who were able to find tiny bits of wood from which we made tiny chairs. As a group we worked hard all day but were finally able to drag those chairs down by the beach. We discovered with a bit of teamwork we could fashion an umbrella from a tiny shard of bark and then cover it with a bit of moss. Ah, Florida and wonderful breezes to just sit back and relax for a while. What an adventure the past several months have been. However the ants have voted to return to Beaumont. So off we go to find a train bound for Beaumont, Texas and our home in The Crescent. It’s always fun to travel, but as they say, “there’s no place like home”.

Dallas Tales – Eight New Friends

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It’s a beautiful fall day and a fun trip to Dallas is in the works. I know the drill when Mama is packing . I know we’re going on a trip when she begins to pack the car. When my kennel goes in the car I get sooooo excited. I love road trippin’! Since I was just a pup and only a few months old I’ve been going on trips to Dallas and The Woodlands. I have cousins in each town. BIG cousins. I figure we’re going to Uncle Craig’s who has two big Irish Crème Golden Retrievers, Felix and new pup Coco. Felix is lots of fun and we wrestle and play quite well together. Little Coco is still just a bit wild as she’s still a pup. On this particular trip Mama tells me there’s a nice lady in Dallas, Patty, who will be keeping me. Mama says that Patty has some pups of her own and is an incredible animal lover. You see, Coco had recent surgery and should not be wrestling; therefore Mama decided to let Ms. Patty keep me. Patty had kept one of my older brother pups before when Mama had to evacuate for hurricanes. So Patty was not a total stranger to Mama. I always trust that Mama makes good choices for me so no worries here. It’s been an uneventful drive up to Dallas as always. We made our usual potty stops. Yawn…..I’m ready to be there. “Are we there yet?” Finally we turn onto Strait Street in Dallas. My goodness, it’s beautiful here. Great big houses and beautiful lawns. Just down a ways Patty lives on a cul-de-sac. Great walking spots around this neighborhood I can tell. Mama said Patty will take me on walks every day. Fun stuff. We finally arrive at Ms. Patty’s and Mama gets me on the leash for one last potty time before we ring the bell at her house. “Listen…..do I hear dogs barking? Mama, I hear dogs barking as in the plural sense. Does Patty have dogs?” Yes, Dallas, Patty has dogs, Mama tells me. We ring the doorbell and Ms. Patty opens the door. Now I hear lots of dogs barking. We enter the home with Mama holding me and I gasp when I see so many dogs. Eight dogs total! Mama! You’re gonna leave me with eight other dogs? I’ll be eaten alive! I’m so little! Mama tells me to settle down. The first dog to greet me is Rally. Rally only has three legs and is a shepherd mix. Did the pit bull, Tasker, bite her leg off? Mama, I ain’t staying I say as I snuggle real tight under her arm. What, not another german shepherd mix. Laramie comes grinning, wanting to play. Oh no, another german sheperd mix, Stryker, is licking my feet! There’s another Belgian shepherd with the sweetest eyes, Chose is her name. Well, Chose looks really sweet. Another 3 dogs are nearby, Elsa and two others that, well, I didn’t get their names. I mean, I am a little overwhelmed. I’ve never been in the room with eight dogs! Actually six or seven cause Ms. Patty kept the pit in another room. A real sweetheart was Tasker the pit but thanks Ms. Patty. Whew. And just like that after Mama gave Ms. Patty all my likes and dislikes she was gone. For four days! I ran for my kennel, my safe spot. It’s gonna be a long four days. Rally, the sweet three legged dog came over and befriended me quickly. She explained how she lost her leg and that the pit bull didn’t bite her leg off. Well, that was a relief! Rally also explained how much fun it was at Ms. Patty’s house. Fun, with eight dogs? Yes, fun, Rally said. Rally coaxed me out of my kennel to meet the other dogs. Ok, I can do this. Like I said Mama always knows her stuff. One by one Rally introduced me to Laramie, Stryker, Elsa, Chose and the other two. I met Tasker the pit by barking across the divider as Rally had me to do. Tasker is a great pup but sometimes gets a little nervous when meeting strange pups so Ms. Patty thought it best to keep us separated a bit. Thanks, Ms. Patty! Geez, this is gonna be a really fun experience. Things are so organized. Water bowls everywhere, food bowls everywhere when it’s time for dinner. The first day went great. Ms. Patty leashed up five dogs at once. What? How can she manage five dogs on a walk? Let me just tell you Ms. Patty is the dog whisperer! She speaks our language for sure. I have never seen anyone like her. She teaches us all how to get along and take turns. She is so sweet. By the first night I knew I was gonna be ok. I snuggled in my bed that night thanking the good Lord for my sweet Mama. I knew she would never leave me any place that would not be the best. And this home is just the best! The next few days went by way to quickly. I was having so much fun I didn’t want my stay to end. We took walks every day. Rally and I became best friends. When Mama came for me I didn’t want to leave. Thanks Ms. Patty for this fun experience. I can’t wait to see Ms. Patty again!

Dallas Tales – Camp’s Over

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Just like that another year of camp has come and gone. This little camper has had the time of her life! But hey it’s not over till it’s over. We’ve still got chapters to write so lets go!

I barked all my friends up out from under the camp house porch to our meeting area down by the lake. We’ve all decided we would really like to try that big slide that goes directly into the water. I thought the best time to try that out might be during the kid’s quiet time each day. So now all that’s left to figure out is how to get everyone up that big ladder. Geez, that might be a problem but hey we’re going for it. I told my pup friends I would go first. Now why did I do that? That ladder looks so scary. But it’s too late to back out now. Carefully I hop onto the first step then I just pretend I am climbing the stairs at Felix and Coco’s house. Careful Dallas, don’t miss a step and for goodness sake don’t look down. So far so good. Yay, I made it to the top. Come on guys you can make it. I turned around to look down that big red slide and I almost fainted. I had no idea I was so high up. I was concentrating so hard on climbing the steps that I didn’t realize how tall this slide was. Gulp! Me and my big mouth. Why did I say, “Oh, I will go first”! Dallas, what were you thinking? Now there’s only one way out of this mess I’ve gotten myself into. I gotta slide. Yep, I’ve just got to say a quick prayer, jump on that slide headfirst and do a belly flop into the lake. I will either look like a complete idiot or the biggest hero at camp. We’ll see. Here goes. Lord help me to make it down and not drown. Help me to look like I know what I’m doing! Here I go! Yelp, yelp, yelp, yelp, ahhhhhhhhh, woosh! There it’s done. I am above water, dog paddling to the side like a world-class seasoned diver that knows completely what I’m doing. Yes! I say to myself when all at once I hear all the pups giving me ten paws up, barking wildly in approval, shouting, Dallas, you’re our champ! I gotta tell ya, I felt pretty good about myself. Talk about a camp experience, this one just about tops them all. Radar, Felix, Coco, Bear, Luke and Laci ran to meet me and were all giddy about my first slide down ole red. I asked why no one followed me up the slide. One by one they all had excuses of why they hadn’t followed. They all admitted it looked like such fun but they chose not to slide. I guess I just set the bar pretty high for next year. Whew, at least I don’t have to slide again. Truthfully, I was scared out of my wits going down that big slide. I thought it was lights out, goodbye Dallas and Dallas Tales right along with it. Thank you Lord for saving me from my bad choices. He does that sometimes but oh, we shouldn’t put Him to the test like that!

We’ve decided to have our own campfire tonight way out near the big rock. Everyone has brought sticks all day to put on the pile. Radar has put a big piece of paper under the pile, I have brought a small magnifying glass I found on the campground. The sun will shine through that magnifying glass onto the paper and poof, we’ll have our campfire. I mean dogs can’t make a fire any other way. It’s finally dark and the fire has a nice glow. Radar is the camp chairman and storyteller. He tells the best tales at night. I just love listening to old Radar. He begins his story tonight telling of when he was a young pup. He grew up way out in the country. He never had any brothers or sisters. That’s why he was always so excited to come to camp. He waits all year just for this week. So Radar goes on with his story. Radar says; like I was saying, I grew up way out in the country. It was so dark out there we had to pipe daylight in just to get some light. The trees were big and tall, casting shadows everywhere. One bright moonlit night I was almost asleep when I heard the most gosh awful scream. I jumped so high I hit the roof of my doghouse. I eased out and looked around when all of a sudden, our old cat raced by so fast I thought her hair was three feet behind her. What in the world was going on? I tiptoed on around the corner when to my shock I saw the biggest colony of bats I have ever seen. They were all hanging on the back porch of the old house. I always heard that those bats would jump on your back and suck all the blood right from your body. Geez, Louise! I normally sneaked in the old house every night after everyone was asleep, pushing the old screen door just right to let myself inside. Well, those bats look like they’re asleep so maybe if I just barely try to pull the door open I won’t disturb them. Careful Radar. I take my paw and catch the bottom of the door. Good, this is gonna work just right, I’ll be inside in no time at all. All of a sudden my paw slips off the door, the door slams shut so loud all those bats come swooping down towards my back. Woof, woof and woof. Help, I’m being attacked and eaten by bats. I remember the old water tub down by the barn filled with water, so I make a run for the tub and jump in and stay under water for a minute. I stayed just long enough to let those blood sucking bats fly on back to their cave out in the woods. Whew, that was a close call.

Radar says. pup friends its time to tap out our campfire, but before we go I think we should nominate Dallas to be our camp chairman next year. Dallas’ brave slide today convinced me of how brave she is and to be chairman you must be brave. You must also care about one another and Dallas has proven her friendship by taking such good care of little Coco during her first camp this year. So pup friends, time to tap out the campfire. Turn around and start digging. Sling the dirt onto the fire until it goes out. The big dog tap out is complete. See ya next year. Woof Woof!

Dallas Tales – July 4th

 

My third week at camp is proving to be really exciting. Finally cousin Luke arrived today and you’re not going to believe it but he sneaked Laci the cat into camp with him. Oh my goodness it’s the first time a cat has been to camp. Laci is very clever and really knows how to hide so this may get very interesting. What ever will we find for Laci to eat? All of us pups hang around the kitchen back door and scrounge for scraps. I suppose Laci will figure it out. I’m told she really loves rat so I suppose that will be the end of our rat meatloaf for a while. But wait, maybe she’ll catch a big ole supply of rats and leave them at the back door of the kitchen. Then we can have our full menu of rat main dishes. Other than my favorite, rat meatloaf, we all love rat burgers, fried rat legs, rat soup, rat nachos and rat tacos. So I’m not worried at all about Laci.

I hear there’s to be a huge bonfire tonight down by the lake. I sure hope those coyotes across the lake don’t decide to make a surprise visit tonight. I heard they really love cat meat! Yikes, Laci, stick close to me and especially our camp chairman Radar. Bear is even bigger than Radar so I think we’ll all be ok. I sure hope those kids toast marshmallows and make smores. There’s normally tons of scraps because all those kids drop their marshmallows and graham crackers before they ever begin toasting. Yum, I can hardly wait. But until then it’s play time. Little Coco and I have been hard at work digging holes all under the front porch of the main cabin. We have made tunnels from the main camp to each cabin. That way we are connected underground and can hide when too many kids are screaming and running. After digging all those tunnels Coco and I headed to the lake for a swim. Little Coco’s white fur looked solid gray from all the dirt we dug out and well I looked pretty gray myself. Dive in Coco! Watch me. I go out on the edge of a big old root sticking out over the water and dive. Come on, it’s fun. Coco soon got the hang of how to dive. We were having a great time when all of a sudden I looked up and saw all of the camp kids. They were jumping in for their afternoon swim. Talk about speed dog paddling, Coco and I hurried to the side of the lake and got out of their way. Those kids soon began jumping on that huge blob and bouncing all over! I tell you, we got out just in time. I thought those kids were in craft time but I suppose we were greatly mistaken.

After a cool nap under some trees, Coco and I caught up to all our pup friends. Where have you all been this afternoon I asked Radar. Radar said, we ran into town and waited outside this really great steak house for scraps. It was beyond amazing!

Seriously? You didn’t wait for me and little Coco? Coco and I have worked hard all afternoon digging our tunnels. What about Laci? Where was she all this time. Radar said, Laci is the one who directed us to the steakhouse. Cats have a very keen sense of smell so she had no trouble at all finding the best place to hang out as we waited for scraps of food. Well, thanks a lot for sharing with me and Coco.

Evening is here and all the kids are down by the lake waiting to make smores. Pop, pop, pop, bang! Radar, what’s that loud noise? It sounds like lightning. Oh no, wait. I see sparkles up in the sky. Please tell me its not fireworks! No! Those things hurt my little ears so bad and they are so scary! They are sort of pretty with all the colors they create up in the night sky. Coco is shivering and she’s so scared and Laci ran up a nearby tree. Run for the tunnels everyone! We can wait there until the fireworks are done. Just when I thought we were going to have a lovely evening. It will be midnight now before we can go scavenge for smores leftovers.

So down in the tunnels it’s story time. Coco asks, why do all the kids like fireworks? Radar, the wise camp chairman tells him they have this celebration each year on July 4th to celebrate the birth of our great country, The United States of America!

Dallas Tales – Coyotes Across The Lake

 

I returned to camp early today exhausted from chasing those goofy chickens out of my yard. They had pooped and scratched their way across the entire yard. They ate all of Mama’s figs in the backyard and boy was she mad about that! Those chickens are finally gone, thank goodness. A good rain and my backyard will be as good as new, washing that chicken poop away.

A lot happened at camp while I was gone for those few days. I learned that coyotes had been heard howling every night from across Inks Lake from the cabins. Poor little Coco, my youngest retriever cousin, was scared to death. She’s a city dog and hadn’t heard coyotes howl before this camp. The sun is setting and the kids are all about to go in for the night. My dog cousins and I are scouting for scraps around the back door of the kitchen. The camp chef has tossed out all sorts of incredible left overs tonight. Yum! A feast of pizza crusts, cheese bread and that delicious cinnamon sugar crust with butter. Hey Felix, I think you’ll love the pizza crusts best! Those crazy kids must be out of their minds to leave even one crumb of the cinnamon sugar crust! It’s my very favorite. Mercy sakes alive what was that piercing howl? Coco, come near to me and don’t leave my side. Radar, where are you? Felix and Bear, what did I just hear? Radar ran and gathered us into our den we had made for ourselves under the front porch of the main camp house. Radar told us not to move and for goodness sake, no barking or whimpering. Radar told us to stay put because he was pretty certain the howl we heard was a coyote. Radar went out to the edge of the lake very quietly. He listened and looked for a really long time. The howling began again along with more howls. There must have been 12 coyotes now all singing together in what sounded like a concert. Then quiet. We then heard Radar began his deepest, meanest growl that sounded very similar to the howls of the coyotes. I’m told that when coyotes howl they are marking their territory, basically saying, this is my spot and don’t come near. I suppose Radar was doing the same in his most stern voice by the way he was growling and howling. Whatever Radar was doing it sounded pretty impressive. Now old Radar has been coming to camp for years. He told us a story a few years back about an encounter he had with a young coyote across the lake. Radar had decided to swim across the lake that night and see if he might find some young rabbits for dinner. He came face to face with a pack of coyotes as he climbed onto the shore on the other side. The coyotes came up to him and surrounded him. Although he was terrified he never let on that he was scared. He stood his ground. Radar asked to see the coyote in charge. A big coyote known as Aztec pranced out and came up to Radar and said, “you asked to see me?” Radar answered with his bravest voice, “yes, I did”. “I have come in peace to find food for my friends across the lake.” As luck would have it rabbits had been extremely plentiful that season. The big coyote, Aztec, told Radar he could have what he needed this time but that he should never swim back across the lake to their side as that was coyote territory. Aztec and Radar growled a sound only the two of them understood that night. Radar returned across the lake with the rabbits and never returned. Tonight we all snuggled close to each other and listened for what seemed an eternity as we heard first Radar and then the big coyote on the other side of the lake. It was if they were talking to each other back and forth as they took turns howling. Was it old Aztec he was talking to that night? Soon Radar was back under the porch with all us terrified pups. “Radar, what was all that howling?” Radar, we’re scared! Are those coyotes gonna come and eat us for dinner? In his most calming voice ever, old Radar began telling us that he had promised old Aztec that night long ago that he would never return across the lake into coyote territory. All that howling tonight was just Radar and Aztec remembering old times and the promises they had made to stay out of each other’s territories. You see when you make a promise to someone you always keep your word. You always do the right thing. Friends forever, old Radar and Aztec.

 

 

Dallas Tales – Second Week at Camp

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Whelp, it’s my second week of Longhorn Camp. It’s taken me all week to round up my pup friends. Some were late getting to camp so our sleeping arrangements kept changing every day. Little Coco was a little homesick so I spent lots of time showing her around camp. It’s her first year so she didn’t understand how things worked. Things like where to get her food, water and treats. When I explained that camp would be one big scavenger hunt for food every day she almost fainted! The truth is I thought the same thing my first year at camp. Thank goodness for the friends I made that first year. They took me under their wing and in no time at all I knew where to find everything.

I am very excited to see rat meatloaf is still on the menu this year. It was my very favorite last year. I can’t wait to see the look on Coco’s face when she sees that meatloaf. I bet that beautiful little white furry face will turn green after I tell her what’s she’s eating. But it’s really really good if she’ll just taste a bite. Well rats, no treats tonight; the big dogs beat us to the back door of the camp kitchen. I’ll post a pup there tomorrow evening early to guard those treats.

It’s been such a big day of swimming in the lake, running all over chasing rabbits and trying to dodge all these kids. We try to stay hidden most of the day and come out at night when all those little campers are in their cabins. It’s the first night for all the pups to be in camp and the oldest pup this year is my big Rottweiler friend named Radar. The oldest pup is always the master storyteller for camp each year. It’s great to be friends with Radar because no one messes with Radar! He’s big, bad and loud! He’s got a bark that would scare the horns off a longhorn. Oh my, I just know he’s gonna tell that really scary story that had Felix running under the porch last year. Poor little Coco is about to be welcomed to camp! But don’t worry I’ll take good care of her.

Tomorrow I have to leave camp for a few days and return home. It seems two chickens back home have invaded my yard. Chickens? For real? We’ll see about that!

Dallas Tales – The Chicken Wrangler

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Merciful heaven, my Mama done turned into a chicken wrangler! So embarrassing! It all began last week when a couple of chickens, Cluck and Peep, from next door decided to come over and eat bugs in my back yard. I named the white chicken Cluck cause she just kept on clucking. The red one I named Peep cause she stayed hidden behind the bushes but continued to peep out. These chickens were gifts for the little kids next door at Easter from their parents. Like all cute little biddies, they grow up to be chickens. Yesterday I went out like always to run my traps and check the perimeter of my yard. Afterwards I always take a little sunbath, stretch and enjoy the fresh air. This day I ran straight for the back corner of my yard when I spied something different in the bushes. Now Mama just thought it was a dove or squirrel because we have lots of both. All of a sudden the race was on when across the yard Cluck ran for her life. Mama screamed at the top of her lungs, “Dallas, stop”! I stopped and laid down in the grass and let that goofy chicken get away. I still can’t believe I let Cluck get away. But I really don’t like to disappoint Mama so I listened and stopped. Mama came and picked me up and praised me greatly for stopping. I was a little confused by all that but at least I got a couple of treats out of the deal. The next day Cluck and Peep were back again digging for bugs in the pine straw. I’m a fast learner so I refused to go out into the yard to take care of business. No way I was gonna get yelled at again because of a stupid chicken! That’s when it happened; my Mama became a chicken wrangler on the spot. Mama went running out into the yard making all kinds of noise to scare the chickens back into their yard. Today it was pouring rain all morning. It’s really hard to go potty in the rain but I manage. What, Cluck and Peep are back again! Now it’s raining cats and dogs, the chicks have pooped on the patio; it smells like a chicken yard. Seriously, I’m going inside Mama. I didn’t sign up to live in a chicken yard. I was watching from the window as Mama put on her rubber boots, her raincoat and grabbed a yard rake from the garage. She yelled and chased those chickens down two sides of the fence hemming them in behind the big fig tree in the corner. She was making all kinds of noise before she managed to scoot them out of my yard and back into their yard. I didn’t know Mama could move that fast and I certainly didn’t know she was a chicken wrangler. Be careful Mama, I don’t know how to call 911 yet.