A Sallie Tale

Spent the morning setting a new fence line in one pasture.  This will allow Primo, the livestock

Primo and some of his goats

guard dog, constant access to the barn, without having to leap the fence into the barn area.  He doesn’t mind, and seems to enjoy the jump, but we all age.  I had to have his knee rebuilt a few years ago and don’t want a repeat.  Thus to the “Sallie channels Lassie” story.

The backstory: Primo is a big dog, over 100 pounds of very vocal protection for the livestock & hives.  Sallie is the small dog, when asked “what’s her breed?” I say a CAD: Cute Annoying Dog.  Sallie whines, Sally barks, Sally jumps…but we love her.  She’s a “cross”, probably Springer Spaniel-Australian Shepard-Terrier-and part of someone’s leg.  Folks who have been to Seattle’s Fremont Market in the early or late hours may have met her at our booth.

The tale: In the depths of a snowy winter, I had walked the dogs & pack goats down to the pond – which is fairly large.  The goats browsed, Primo wandered, Sallie ran about frantically (she does most things frantically), I did Tai Chi & Yoga.  The spot where I did this was separated by a hill from the pond.

When I was done I called the goats and dogs to “walk on”.  The goats and Sallie came.  That was normal.  The walk is Primo’s moment to go look around on his own: his time off from being a guard dog.  The goats and I started walking home.  Sallie wouldn’t come. That was unusual.  She bounced.  She barked.  She ran back and forth frantically.  But she would not come with us.

I turned and stomped back to her in my snow boots fashioned on Frankenstein’s monster’s footwear.  “What is it, Sallie?” I stormed.  “Is Timmy down the well and we have to save him?”

She ran to the rise that overlooked the pond,  jumped up and down, and barked.  Up the rise I stomped muttering to myself.  At the top I stopped in mid-mutter.  In the middle of the ice-covered pond was Primo.  Only his head and forelimbs were visible.  The rest of him was below the ice.  He was trapped.  He had walked onto the pond. The ice had given way.  His hind legs must have been barely touching the pond floor, which is covered with slash (piles of cut tree limbs left behind by a long-gone logging operation).

I was about to plunge into the ice, when I realized that 2 of us being stuck wasn’t the best idea.  I ran (as best one can in snow boots) back to the farm, got a rope and the husband.  Then back to the pond where I walked into the water, breaking the ice as I went until I could reach Primo.  With a bit of exertion on both our parts, he managed to get back onto the more solid ice and slide his way to shore.  In the course of this, the ligaments on his back knee ripped apart.

So Sallie was trying to say “No, it’s not Timmy down the well, you slow human, but the big guy’s in trouble and I’m not letting you leave until he’s out…and who’s this Timmy guy anyway?”

Sallie may not be as big and beautiful as Lassie, and she certainly has more emotional issues, but she certainly channeled Lassie that morning, and saved Primo.  Gotta love her, even when she puts muddy paws on the bed.

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