6: Every Farm Needs a Dog

6: Every Farm Needs a Dog

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Dog

Every Farm Needs a Dog

Fun fact: Up to fifteen percent of dogs may experience some form of separation anxiety.

Our dog had died the previous year, shortly before we had left to go to Mississippi for a year on a mission for our church. When we returned home, it didn’t feel quite right to have a farm without a dog, but my husband wasn’t eager to start over with another one.

Then one weekend, when he was at our son’s dairy farm, our son said, “Dad you need a dog. Every farm needs a dog.”

My husband looked at the four dogs there and commented, “The only dog I would want would be one like old Comanche there. He just lies around and stays out of trouble.”

They both laughed and went on with their work.

Comanche, a German Shepherd mix, was a brother of our dog that had died. He was about five years old and well past the puppy stage.

When my husband returned home, he repeated the conversation to me. We laughed and soon got busy on our mini-farm, forgetting all about it.

A few weeks later, our son and two of his children were heading south and “just happened” to be coming our way.

Our son called and said, “We have a surprise for you. Something you really need on the farm.”

For the next hour, we wondered what we “really needed on the farm.” We should have guessed, but we were so surprised when our son and his children walked in with Comanche in tow!

Comanche was not an overly friendly dog; in fact, he had always barked at us when we went to visit our son and would not let us get too close. We were not sure that we really wanted this dog, but here he was. And how do you say “no” to two grandchildren who are excited to give you one of their prize dogs?

At first, my husband was concerned that the dog might run back to our son’s farm if we left him alone too much. So, for the first time in over forty-five years, we had a dog in the house. We let him sleep by our bed the first night, and that turned into the second night, and the third night. He wasn’t really any problem. When he was in the house, he would find a good spot and lie down. Soon, he was following my husband everywhere he went, even if he just went into the next room. I could see that my husband was getting very attached to this dog, and before I realized it, we officially had an indoor dog!

However, the first Sunday we had a dilemma.

“Where do we put Comanche while we are at church?” I asked.

“We can’t leave him outside,” my husband said. “He is not all that familiar with things. And he still might head for his previous home if no one is here for several hours.”

We decided to leave him in the basement.

At least, we thought he was in the basement. When we returned home, we found a mess. There were lamps turned over, flower pots emptied on the floor, and curtains moved in every room, even upstairs. As we walked into the kitchen, I noticed my honey-bear jar was on the floor. It usually sat on top of the microwave.

“What happened to that?” I asked, looking around the floor to see other things in disarray. Reaching down to pick it up, I caught movement from the corner of my eye.

I glanced up and was totally stunned! My mouth flew open, but I was speechless. There on top of the refrigerator lay Comanche. His tail wagged in greeting. All I could do was point.

“Oh, my goodness!” my daughter exclaimed.

Suddenly coming to my senses, I hurried for my camera — this scene could never be duplicated. But when I moved, everything changed.

Comanche carefully slid around and jumped on to the sink and then to the floor. He hurried over to my husband, who was always good for an ear rub. He seemed so happy to see us.

We discovered that he had opened the basement door and checked out every window. It was as though he had a panic attack when he could not find us anywhere in the house and could not see us outside, so he found a tight place where he felt secure.

As time went by, we discovered that he knew how to open the back door and the garage door, so he could come in whenever he wanted unless we locked the doors. Fortunately, he also figured out that we always came back once we left, and he did not have another anxiety attack. And we never found him on top of the refrigerator again!

~Shirley M. Oakes

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