A few nights ago I awoke to the incessant barking of my eight-year-old Norwegian elkhound. If I keep very still, I told myself, maybe Xandy will take care of it. We both play this “wait-it-out” game when our daughter Kitt comes into our room, going back and forth with taking care of her, but the dog is usually my responsibility.
“That damn dog never listens to me,” Xandy often says.
“Well, if you didn’t call her ‘Stoop’ (short for ‘Stupid’) she may listen to you more.”
“She likes it!”
“Yeah, everyone loves to be deemed an idiot.”
Thankfully, Xandy this night took pity on me and got out of bed to take care of the barking. When he came back to bed, I thought he said something about Lakota being choked by her collar. He later told me that he said nothing. Regardless, the barking stopped, and we slept.
The next morning this is what we found all over our front lawn:
One of our hens had been dragged from the barn to some unknown location by a creature during the night. A trail of feathers stretched out into the side pasture and then just disappeared, as I imagine the hen herself did — into the belly of a fox or other night predator. I thought about the fear she must have felt as she was taken from her perch, her feathers ripped from her body, her neck broken. It was so sad to see only two hens out in the yard the next morning.
“Poor thing.” I said later to my husband.
“She’s just a chicken.”
“But still. That is not a way to go, and Lakota was trying to warn us.”
“She’s still a damn dog.”
I thought about how the first time Lakota came to the farm, she saw the entire place as her own personal dog park with the chickens as chew toys. She actually de-feathered a couple of birds herself. Now, she is a protector — spending her days and nights watching over all of the farm inhabitants. I love to watch her sitting majestically in the morning overlooking the pool.
Man, I love that dog.