Friday, July 11, 2014

# 519 - A Gracie-Update

Gracie, the dog found in the forest, has grown to be quite an awesome member of our growing farm. I was concerned about her having a "bullish" breed in her DNA, but she has become one of the best protectors a farm could have for their weakest and most vulnerable critters.

The vet said it appeared Gracie also has Aussie or Collie in her because of the speckling...regardless, she is a blessing to us.

She still has the itch to satisfy her wanderlust, but she's getting better about staying around the home zone, especially if she knows my eye is on her...she also wants to be close by me. Very sweet.

One issue we had with Gracie is that she loved to sneak into the kitchen area as we slept and dig into the trash. Often, we'd wake to discover trash strewn from one end of the RV to the next. Yes, we are still in our year of exploring our acreage to prepare for building our next house, and that means living in the RV.

Anyway, we solved the problem of her digging into the trash, other than putting it out of her reach, which is difficult to do with good-sized athletic dog, by putting a light sprinkle of SPICY chili powder across onto the trash. Magic trash-repellent powder.

Life is much easier when the dog is not getting into the trash every day.

Anyway, Gracie gets along beautifully with the chickens. Well, the second flock that we added after the initial flock were a couple of months old was a massive mistake on so many levels.

That won't ever happen again.

That second flock confused the older chickens and Gracie because we kept the youngest chicks separate for so long, inside the barn, and Gracie thought that the moments they wandered into the yard signaled a new intruder. So, she would start to treat the second flock of chicks as if they were like the moles she would dig up in the yard...and then "play" with until they could never play again.

It has taken a lot of extra training for Gracie to learn that the "barn" chickens are the same as the other chickens and to allow them access to the yard. But, the important thing is...she GOT it. We went through a couple of bad situations, but then she understood that we were okay with the other chicks mingling with the big chickens and that it was okay to give them free range in the yard.

Now, they are all with each other, every day. The younger chicks still go to the barn to sleep at night while the hens go to their chicken coop.

Gracie is a lot of fun. She loves to find "special" sticks and branches to play with...the photo below shows Gracie with a branch that she dragged around for a few days and when we'd walk outside, she'd duck low behind it, as if the branch made her invisible. It was hysterical. If she walked away, she dragged the branch with her.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to see Stefie in San Marcos, to get her moved into a new apartment for her last semester of on-campus classes for her Master's Degree. We brought all three dogs with us. Sgt. Dave and I stayed in the old apartment on an air mattress so we could disinfect and clean the old apartment so the most of the deposit could be returned. While there, our dogs slept in their kennel, and they were so well-behaved.

The road trip, one way, took about four hours, so that meant we were in a vehicle with the dogs for a long time, and we had to keep the child-lock engaged for the windows to remained locked since Howdy has learned to eye the controls and to put his paw on them to roll down the window.

He figured this out years ago...we would roll it up, he would look down, put his paw on the window control button and roll it back down...until we figured out that he was doing it on purpose. A typical Aussie. So, we are forced to keep the windows locked.

Howdy sitting on Gracie, in typical Aussie fashion to use any part
of their body to control and direct another animal into doing what they want.

As we got close to home, I had to roll down my window for a moment and we forgot to re-engage the window locks. Bad mistake. That created a scary incident that could have been the worst kind of experience for those traveling with dogs. As soon as we turned off of a busy highway near our house and finally reached the long road that goes through part of our own property, and as we were jamming to loud music, Howdy rolled down the back window without us knowing it at that moment. We were on our private road, still pulling a trailer down and we suddenly noticed the window was down, we both stopped to look at each other and then to be in shock as Gracie jumped out the window.

What the heck????

I guess she recognized the acreage as "home and decided she was getting OUT, at that very moment. Howdy seemed to have read her mind and worked as her co-conspirator for the great escape.

Actually, Howdy's eyes were huge as he gave us that "What the ???" kind of expression as he sat in the backseat, not knowing how to react to her jumping. The whites of Howdy's eyes were showing HUGELY...demonstrating that he KNEW something was really wrong.

Gracie jumping out the window, without any warning. was shocking to us, especially because we were still driving.

Thank God we were on our property, but Sgt. Dave slammed on his brakes as we went through shock at what had occurred. And then we again look out the front window to see Gracie running to the grass in front of the truck and she squatted in the grass to immediately begin peeing. I supposed she REALLY had to go.

I had already told Sgt. Dave that Gracie was an escape artist while in a vehicle and to be VERY careful because she WILL jump out HOWEVER she can, and if you are in a busy area, she probably won't meet a kind ending, which will be traumatic for all involved. Gracie does not like being trapped in a vehicle...she can appear to be sweet and kind, but she is really plotting her escape.

This trip, she was a much better travel companion; however, when she is ready to get out, she will act upon her desperation. Our trip to San Marcos had been so much fun, but Gracie jumping out of the window was a sobering end because we did not know how long we had been driving with the window lock disengaged, probably for at least 20 miles, down the highway. Thankfully Howdy didn't decide to roll down the window until he saw that we were home and thank goodness he didn't jump out the window to go after Gracie.

That dog Gracie. I love her. Window-jumping-warts and all.

1 comment:

Vickie said...

So thankful Gracie wasn't hurt, Lana! I saw 3 dogs jump out of the back of a truck a few years ago. I know they were hurt. I heart them yelping. They landed and rolled and tried to scoot off the road into the bushes. I hope they made it - I couldn't stop on the road I was on. I hope the owner went back....

Gypsy sits or lays on me especially, or all of us if she can. I cannot walk without her leaning on one leg of the other. I'm scared I'm going to not be watching and take a tumble! These Aussies!

I'm anxious to see your house going up! Aren't you so excited!