Country dog, city dog… Sawyer adjusts

By Willis Webb | Published Saturday, January 12, 2013

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Recently, we gave up the river house in Central Texas to move close to our son. It’s one of those things people of advancing age have to face sooner or later, figuring that getting older means more health challenges. All of that points toward a day when our offspring have to make a decision about driving an aging parent who requires fairly continuous care to a facility equipped to do that.

Seeing as how driving one or both of us to such a place would’ve required a five-hour-plus drive one-way, we opted to move to the city where Son lives, so his trip would be a mere five or 10 minutes. Considerate, huh?

Willis Webb

Willis Webb

Of course, giving up the house on the riverbank meant abandoning the home Sawyer, heretofore known as The Famous River Wonder Dog, had and requiring him to adapt to city yard living.

Sawyer has long had an “idyllic” country place there on the riverbank to develop a whole bunch of bad habits. Since our river house had a fenced yard that abutted the black-topped county road on which we lived, he could put a bit of a scare into those just ambling by and enjoying that beautiful countryside.

He’d come bounding down the stairs from the front deck and into the yard, racing along the fence a mere 12 to 15 feet from a bike rider, milk truck, farm equipment, or slow-moving car, emitting his “ferocious” bark. Regular commuters learned his name and would call out to him. Any time he hears his name, it sets off a tail wagging that tells one and all there may be a bark, but chances of a bite are twofold – slim and none.

On occasions, when I take him somewhere with me, people stop and ask if they can pet him. He’s a friendly, happy little animal who loves people, so he’s in dog heaven when that occurs. And, I’ve found, he’s the lone reason young women and girls will stop and speak to an old geezer like me. Life Mate isn’t too thrilled when I refer to him as a “chick magnet.”

Sawyer’s exposure to passing traffic is now limited to his looking out one of the front windows or the two narrow areas, fenced from either side of the house, that offer a view of the street on which we’re located. Actually, it has pretty much ended his chasing and barking at passing vehicles.

But, it’s opened up another world of adventure for Sawyer in his new domicile/yard.

Three sides of the backyard are enclosed by a tall, wood privacy fence. A burgeoning population of squirrels taunt Sawyer by racing along on top of the fence and into the trees. All he can do is run along by the fence or around the trees, bark and leap at the squirrels.

He did get a major surprise recently when a young possum made the mistake of hitting the ground within the confines of the backyard. Sawyer corralled the critter, and the possum, well, uh, played “possum” (acted dead).

Wonder Dog came to get us, to show us, how well he was protecting the backyard, and when we followed him out to where he’d left the possum, voila, the rodent had come to life and found safer climes. “The Puppy,” as he is sometimes called, made lots of quick, almost comedic, head turns with this quizzical look as if to say, “I was brave, captured it and (he thought) killed it, so where did it go?”

Now, the possum(s) run along the top of the fence, totally frustrating Sawyer but not dampening his lust for the chase and the “treeing.”

Willis Webb is a retired community newspaper editor-publisher of more than 50 years experience. He can be reached by email at wwebb1937@att.net.

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