We’re not sure what he is, where he came from, or what the small turquoise mark on his belly represents, but Jug is our barn dog. He is a mutt. Not your first idea of a barn dog, but nonetheless he is our smooth-coated, lovable idiot.
Juggernaut, or Jug for short, was a foster dog in my brother’s home. His head is too big for his body, his legs are stout, and his tongue lolls in a happy manner. He doesn’t bark, only chortles at birds and bushes. He loves the old brown farm truck and willingly sits in it for hours with the hope that it might transport him to the feed store or dump. He is the world’s best snuggler and always asks to get on the couch with you.
Jug has yet to figure out how to fit through the boards in a fence and is oblivious to bovine and equine antics. He will bound into the field and trot amongst the herd with a string of curious calves following in his wake.
One day, I went to catch Copper for an afternoon hack and Jug came with me. I opened the gate and Jug set to work sniffing “all the things”. Copper was munching on a hay bale with a couple of cows. I headed over to the hunk of a chestnut who’s been my horse for the past six months and slipped the halter over his ears. I noticed a few of the heifers had stopped their munching and were transfixed on Jug.
Copper and I ambled back toward the gate, my mind reviewing the course I wanted to set in the ring, when a rush of hooves sounded behind us. Copper spooked at the sound as I turned to see three bovine bodies galloping towards an unsuspecting Jug.
Jug was scrutinizing a cow pie when he glanced up to see the stampede. He froze for a moment as the curious heifers closed in at a trot.
Now I want to express to you the numerous options Jug had for escape:
We are in an open field – he could have outrun the cows.
We are near a barn – he could have run into the barn.
We are near multiple fence lines that he can dive under.
I am 20 yards away from him – he could have come to me for shelter.
He is a dog that has the capacity to bark and scare the cows off.
Guess which one he took?
None of them.
He made a dash for the closed gate. The gate that he can’t fit through.
Now the cows had him cornered and they weren’t hostile, just curious about this bow-legged beast that had entered their field. They sniffed him and Jug cowered, his brindle body pressed harder on the wooden boards with each prodding nose that reached for him. He cringed away from their presence, believing his last moments on Earth were at hand. A gap between the gate and post left just enough space for Jug to think he could squeeze through. He turned and attempted to slip through, but his head was too big.
Meanwhile, I am doubled over in laughter and in no rush to “save” Jug, since there was no danger, just a bunch of inquisitive cows.
Copper and I meandered over to the scene and shooed the cows away. Jug looked up and I’m sure there were angels singing in his head when he saw me. His eyes smiled and his tail gave three light whumps on the ground as I unlocked the gate.
“You are the worst cow dog.”
Whump, whump, whump, whump…