Sleepy Time Pal
by DebN2003Comment by DebN2003:
We never could have known that cold February day when we went to doggie jail what a unique dog we'd get. he was about the color,size and shape of a basketball. It was 2/3 fur one third dog. He was happy, feisty and ready to get out of that pen. We took him home in his namesake truck. Thus began a love affair that spanned 12 years.
He was a real beauty in his day. His thick red coat had triple layers when we lived in frigid MN. He was a soft yellow at the bottom.. It was so thick he never got fleas or ticks. But he always got burrs and foxtails when he'd run through the tall grass. He hated grooming but tolerated it.
He was a bolter. He chased cars. He didn't know his own strength. He was overshadowed by a bossy alpha female. He learned to chase a frisbee. His first love was the truck he came home in and he did anything it took to get a ride. He loved McDonald's hamburgers and Taco Bell Tacos. I always wondered how he could eat entirely around the tomatos and leave them sitting on the wrapper.
He was singularly the smartest dog I've ever known. We never did really figure out his origins. The best I could come up with was shepard mixed with akita. This dog, and I'm not exaggerating, understood human language. I could tell him to do things that I never trained him to do and he'd do them.
We hiked the coastal trails from Fort Ord to Big Sur to Fort Funston to Fort Bragg. He went camping in the Sierras. He hiked the mountains in Colorado, New Mexico and the BLM in Nevada. He hated baths but he loved to swim.
When I spent the summer on the big rig so did he. Ranger got to pee in 44 states. He learned to run off lead without running away. He learned to love other dogs and the pats of admiring truckers. He never refused a hand out.
He lived with us in the mine in San Benito county those 2 years. He chased off a mountain lion, chased frisbees daily and helped coax a very old, scared lost dog into our RV so we could contact her grateful owner. He napped in the sun in the winter and under the RV in the summer.
As our fortunes rose and fell he was there to help us through. Ranger accompanied Rick when he entered rehab. The residents helped hide him for 6 months. Everyone loved him. And then the owner discovered him. That was about the time I published a plea for a new home for this loving companion.
Ranger retired on a ranch in Coarsegold. He fell in love with someone who had never had a dog care for them. It was a mutual admiration society from what I hear. He came to love grooming after watching the horses curried. Of course! He wanted to be curried like his friends! He continued his great adventure bonding with a cantankerous horse, going to the swimming hole and fathering an orphan litter of kittens along with the Bernese Mountain dog who was nursing them.
They didn't tell us but his health was steadily declining over the last 6 months. He'd been on medicine for arthritis, that we knew. But they spared us the details. He was taken to the vets on June 16th after not being able to stand up. I wasn't able to say good bye to my four footed friend. I hope his journey was a good one. And I hope he remembers me when I whisper to him again, his secret cheer:
Ranger oodle skippy doodle rah rah rah.
It was never meant to be a serious competitive photo. It's a casual pic of a beloved casual dog. And not bad for a less than 2 MP camera with no lights.