Few appreciated 'what the dog dragged home'
Some found Daisy to be an uninviting dog. But what she brought home was even more off putting.
A good farm dog is a trusted companion and helpmate capable of making bad days better.
(Because of medical appointments and other time demands, I’m returning to a column written in January 1991 in which I discuss the quirky personality of Daisy, who was indeed a great dog.)
“What’s that?!" my wife asked as a look of revulsion spread across her face while she headed out of the car with a bag of groceries under one arm.
“Oh, it’s just something the dog dragged home,’’ I said, figuring she wasn’t particularly interested in learning what the frozen carcass lying on top of the snowbank in our front yard was.
“Well, get rid of it,’’ Kathy said as she disappeared in the house leaving both me and our dog behind.
“It’’ was the remains of a raccoon — specifically a raccoon attached to a steel trap. A wood stake had been tied to the trap by a hunter who wanted to make sure the prey didn’t get away. The stake may have stopped the raccoon, but it didn’t stop Daisy from dragging the whole kit and caboodle home with her.
You see our dog has a nasty habit of collecting things that are 100% guaranteed to offend Kathy and cast a dark shadow over her mood. So far this winter, Daisy has brought home two raccoons complete with leg traps, the skeletal remains of a deer, a leg from what I can only hope was a dead calf and assorted other animal bones and parts that often smell to high heaven.
All in all, Daisy isn’t a bad dog. She just has some bad habits that sometimes seem to outweigh the good ones.
But she barks when anyone pulls into the yard, and she sure enough scares people. Unfortunately, sometimes she scares people that you don’t really want to scare.
Like my mother-in-law.
She is convinced that a hidden evil lurks in Daisy, an evil that she claims can be seen in the dog’s eyes. I can understand why she feels that way. Daisy has only one good eye; the other is milking white and strikes fear in some people.
Daisy also scares people because she is part Norwegian Elk Hound and is about as big as a Shetland pony.
Kind strangers and friends often remark that Daisy sure looks different. Unkind folks say she is as ugly as sin.
When she stands on her hind legs, she is taller than most people, and if she ever decided to take a bite out of someone, it would be a big bite.
But she is really a friendly dog. Unfortunately, when people realize she is friendly, they pat her on the head. She responds to the show of affection by jumping against their chests and licking them on the face.
Although she’s discovered that people don’t like to be licked, this hasn’t stopped Daisy from trying.
Anyway, I wonder what there is in a dog’s character that makes it drag things home. I suppose it’s something that’s ingrained in them by Mother Nature.
It’s probably the same inner voice that drives people to buy something at every auction they go to. At least auctions have that effect on me. As soon as I get a number from the clerk my head starts to nod, and my right arm starts to raise. That may be the reason why I return home from auctions with a box of junk or a shovel with a bad handle or a whatchamacallit for which I have absolutely no use.
I told Daisy that I understand why she does what she does.
“But you have to get more selective in what you bring home,’’ I said. “Don’t bring back any more dead animals. You see that green tractor and that front end loader over there in the neighbor’s yard? Now that is something you should drag home.’’
My heart-to-heart didn’t do much good. The green tractor is still in my neighbor’s yard, and the raccoon is still in mine, and unless I want to spend additional time with Daisy in her doghouse, I’d better get rid of the carcass.
Mychal Wilmes is the retired managing editor of Agri News. He lives in West Concord, Minnesota, with his wife, Kathy.