by Cindy DeMay
My family has a best friend, her name is Shadow. She brings us joy. She’s sassy, loving, funny and the best dog ever. If I don’t tell her where we’re going and when we’ll return, she’ll go through my office trash and take out all the candy wrappers. I won’t know until I go into her room and find them on her bed. (Yes, Shadow has her own room. When my daughter moved out, she took it over.) And when I get home from shopping, she has to inspect each and every bag. She sticks her whole head inside to get to the very bottom.
When we adopted her, she was a 3-month-old puppy. I took her for a ride when I had to pick up a few things at the grocery store. On the way home, I stopped at our local bakery to pick up some freshly baked scones. I left her in the car for maybe 5 minutes. Another patron came running into the bakery as I was checking out. Does anybody have a wagon with a puppy in it? I nervously said that I do. Thinking the worst, I asked what was wrong. She said I think you’d better get to your car quick, looks like she’s enjoying a baguette. Oh boy!
Shadow started growing and maturing a little bit. We have a bunch of chickens and a pig named Wilber. Shadow knows that she’s in charge of any trespassers or critters on our farm. She naps on our bed where there is a clear view of our chicken coop. One day, we had a hawk swoop down and grab one of the chickens, Stella. She quickly alerted me to let her out. Do you know that girl chased the hawk away before he did any damage to poor Stella?
This past fall our pig Wilber got out of his pen. Our neighbor saw him get out, and ran down to our back door to alert me of it. My husband was out of town at the time and I had just gotten out of the shower and dressed…thank goodness for that, but my hair was still wet. Shadow ran up with our neighbor to try and help guide Wilber back into his pen. By the time I was able to throw on my sneaks and get up to where the action was, I saw four of my neighbors trying to corner my 300 pound pig. This was the first time he escaped, and though they had visited him on many occasions, my neighbors had never had to handle him. He is very powerful. Last summer he dragged my strong, 210 pound husband. Shadow saw me coming and ran over to show me where Wilber was.
One of my neighbors works for Little Debbie’s and lured Wilber back into the pen. That was a sight for sore eyes, watching a grown man with eyes as big as saucers holding a cinnamon bun like a fishing pole and a 300 pound pig launching at him just to get a bite. Wilbur got back into his pen and ate the whole box full of the sweet treats my neighbor had at the ready. He was just hungry, you see, and he’s got quite a sweet tooth. But, the whole time Shadow was trying to herd and guide him.
Shadow and Wilber have been buddies since he was a piglet. He was a sweet boy and very funny. Shadow used to go inside his pen and they would play and chase each other with sticks and other toys. That is until Wilber grew to over 100 pounds. Then Shadow didn’t want to go in anymore. I don’t blame her.
Sometimes we’ll let our chickens range free on our farm. They always seem to make their way up to see Wilber. They like his food, but he doesn’t like our chickens. When dusk comes, it’s Shadow’s job to herd any of the chickens that go astray. Sometimes, she’ll pounce near them and make them fly. It’s rather funny to watch. I swear it looks like she laughs at them when it happens. I call it Bowling for Chickens.
I think Shadow likes being a farm dog. She came from a litter of 6 puppies and not one of them looked like the other. The vet where we got her said that each one probably had a different father. Shadow’s dad must have been the champion, because Shadow is the best puppy ever!