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You’ve got to be kidding!

When I wrote about the hound dog, I knew I was walking on sacred ground. All of Pagosa owns at least one to five dogs each. I received so many comments about dogs I couldn’t help myself; I had to write another dog article!

My friend tells me her dog sleeps in pajamas. Her husband sheepishly says, “Not all the time.”

I raised my eyebrows; this is good stuff, does this really happen? “You’ve got to be kidding; your dog sleeps in pajamas? Al would die if I put pajamas on his hunting dog. It would challenge his manhood. He probably wouldn’t mind if I put a red vest or camouflage on Shy Anne if it meant getting his game, now that I’m thinking about it.”

My friend continues, “Our dog sleeps with us, and by putting him in pajamas, it keeps the hair off the sheets.”

“Okay, I think I can understand. Wouldn’t it be easier just to let him sleep on the floor? I’m just asking.”

She continues, “Our dog has a closet of clothes. When our dog goes out, I put booties on him, his feet get cold and I put a coat over his sweater.”

I made a mental note. “You mean the layer look? I must be missing something here. Maybe there is a difference between city dogs and country dogs or maybe there is a difference between a man’s dog and a woman’s dog.”

Our yellow Labrador is country and so is Al; Al would have fits if I put a coat on his dog. She owns only one coat; when it gets dirty she runs to the river even in the winter. The Rio Blanco is her bathtub and in the summer her swimming hole. Her thick coat of hair is good enough to keep out freezing cold and in the summer she sheds it in the heat.

We do not walk our dog, and she has never been on a leash. Her favorite pastime is retrieving birds. She roams our property and knows her boundaries. She knows to stay home where she is fed. Her daily routine is following Al to the garage and back. Her social life is barking at her best friend, Daisy, the dog next door.

Al’s dog thinks she can drive the old blue truck which has turned into her doghouse on wheels. Al takes her around the property in it and she is content being a country dog. No one follows her around with a pooper-scooper. She is hearty, never has been to a doctor, except for shots. She has a dog’s life and is happy. Now I am wondering?

Al and Shy Anne have their favorite hunting shows they watch in the evenings. Al pats her head and tells her the same old hunting stories and she relives every story and hangs onto his every word. She gets scraps from the table and is over weight. We should put her on a diet, but she would be the only thin one in the household. She would feel she was being punished and deprived.

At nights, she sleeps on her own cedar mattress on the floor. Her dog bowl gets washed when it looks dirty. Whatever Al doesn’t eat, Shy Anne eats. Al and his dog is a pair made in heaven. They belong together. I wouldn’t say they are starting to look alike, but they surely act alike.

They prowl the kitchen at night for a snack; Al pops a marshmallow in his mouth and gives one to Shy Anne.

So what is the difference in dogs? It must be the way they are loved. They all seem to be the perfect match for their owner; it is more what their owner needs than what they need. Al needs a good hearty dog, one who can move quickly from moving objects; such as car wheels, jacked up cars and swinging hammers. Al needs a dog who embraces heavy handed pats; and. one who gets excited when a gun is cocked.

Maybe it’s their master who needs to be adjusted. Meanwhile, I am keeping Al and his dog away from the city. They think they have a pretty good life. How does the song go? “How can you keep them down on the farm once they see Paris?”

Final brushstroke: Keeping Al and his dog down on the Lower Blanco makes them fat, happy and content. Life is pretty sweet. It’s a dog’s life.

Reader’s comments

Dear Betty:

Tonight was a cold night in Clovis, New Mexico, so I was cleaning out my files, In so doing I sat down to read some of the articles which appear in The Pagosa SUN. I do not always read them at the time the paper arrives but I always save them. My evening has been enriched! 

There are people like me who think about writing our thoughts down and then there are the Betty Slades’ who put their thoughts down on paper for the rest of us to read and enjoy.

I simply want to say thank you Betty Slade for doing what some of us dream of doing, putting our heart-felt thoughts on paper. And thank you Pagosa Springs for publishing Slade’s works and other good articles. Truly enjoy reading them.


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 Artist’s quote

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” — Will Rogers.

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