Sunday, February 28, 2016

Baxter Black: Dog Emotions

It is my observation dogs feel certain basic emotions such as affection, fear, confusion and joy. I’m not sure they’re capable of feeling sadness or jealousy or if they can get their feelings hurt. But I think a dog can get embarrassed. Take the Sunbeam clippers to a long-haired dog and see if he doesn’t slink off behind the barn.

We bought a few acres in the country but rented in town until we built our house. Boller, my good cowdog and companion, stayed in the backyard but lived to go out to the place.

He would know when I was getting ready to leave. He’d wait by the front door vibrating like a bow string. I’d tease him a little, then say, “Go get in the pickup.” I’d open the door, and he’d streak across the grass and driveway, then catapult into the back of the pickup.

One winter morning, I was preparing to drive out and split some wood. Boller was tuned up and ticking similar to a two-dollar watch. I peeked out the door when I released him. We’d had an ice storm. The trees hung heavy with icicles, and the concrete driveway was similar to a mirror. Boller shot across the frozen grass, reached the driveway, set his hind legs to spring skyward, hit the ice and slid similar to a statue of a dog praying, directly into the side of the pickup.

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