From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Magic Jack Calls and a Dangerous Threat

My husband is in Iraq for short time, and as always happens any time that he is away, I miss him until my chest literally aches. As he served in the United States Army, and now serves with the State Department however, there are sacrifices that must be made.  Part of what has helped me so much has been the love and devotion of various pets, especially two dogs, Ginger and Chance.  They always miss Randy when he is gone as much as I do.  Ginger was part of this world for almost 18 years, and she faithfully loved us every day she was part of our family.  Thank goodness Randy had already bought Chance for me on Valentine's Day the summer before we had to put Ginger down, I need a loyal friend who shares the burden of Randy's absences with me each time he is away.

Each evening I can call and talk with Randy for mere pennies while he is away, as we invested in a Magic Jack telephone device before we moved to Germany.  By the way, I highly recommend Magic Jack, in fact I don't know what I would do without ours. I have to hear the voices of my children and grand-children often, and that little Magic Jack device makes it possible at a yearly fee that is less than I used to spend for a single month of land line service in the States.  The only draw back for me in living in Europe is my family being so far away.  I have to talk to them often, in fact every day I call at least one family member.  Of course the ability to speak with my husband daily while he is in far away places, all of them dangerous, is such a blessing, and I really need that little daily sweet time of communication, evidently our dog Chance does too!

On this current trip Randy is on, I had a bit of
computer trouble, and could not get through to Randy for about four days, and I had to rely on email communication.  Chance had been missing Randy for a few days already by the time I got the problem resolved and got through to him the first time.  To use Magic Jack, I have to use my computer and have it on speaker phone.  It is so clear, it sounds like Randy is in the room. It took Chance a few moments to realize , sure enough, that was Randy's voice coming from somewhere.  At first he ran to the front door barking, then back to me, he ran out the back door which was open, barking as he ran all the way to the back fence before circling back into the house.  He again came and stood in front of me barking loudly, and by then I was annoyed as I could not hear Randy for the racket.  Chance next bounded up the stairs to the bedroom barking the whole way.  Then it dawned on me that Chance thought Randy was home, and I laughed and told Randy about it.  Randy then called out, "Pig, Pig, Pig!"  There was joy in Mudville!

 We had pot bellied pigs in our little petting zoo at the ranch, and for some reason, those pigs held great animosity toward Chance, and he towards them. There is no love lost between Shelties and pigs.  Our little dog doesn't chase a ball, chew, dig, fetch, or play any dog games at all, except for Pig, Pig, Pig. Randy found this good sized rubber dog toy shaped like a pig which squeaks loudly on a shopping trip, and against my advice he bought it for Chance.  He thought maybe Chance would enjoy it.  The reaction from our sweet and overly friendly little dog was over the top!  He despises that pig, and feels it is the number one threat to world order, and his gentle and loving personality turns from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde, at the mere sight of the toy pig.  Where ever he is in the house or yard, when Randy squeezes that pig, no matter how softly, Chance comes charging to bark, growl, jump, and attack like we are all going to die if he doesn't do something right now!  In an instant, he transforms from a little dainty Sheltie, to a rabid pit bull on steroids, and he loves it!  So does Randy!

This thing would scare anybody, don't you think?

Every night right before bed, Randy plays the version of the game Chance so loves when we go upstairs to bed.  It is hysterical to watch!  In fact, since we go to bed fairly early, at about 9:30, if we stay up a bit later, Chance starts begging.  First he goes to Randy, whines and bows.   By that I mean, he stretches his front paws forward, and bows the front of his body down.  According to the "dog language experts, this can be interpreted as, "I want to play with you."

If Randy won't listen, he comes to me, repeats the behavior, and needless to say, this begins to interrupt whatever activity we are finishing up.  When we ask him what he wants, his face zeros in on Randy, he freezes, stops barking, and listens as we ask, "Do you want a drink of water?"  He remains frozen.  One of us will then ask, "Are you hungry?"  He remains frozen.  "Do you want to go outside?"  Frozen.  "Are you ready for bed?"  The happy dance begins, accompanied by vocal rejoicing!

We go upstairs, get ready for bed, brushing teeth, etc... Then we take the nice bedspread and all our "extra bed pillows men hate" slowly off the bed, and turn back the covers...  By then, Chance's whole body is quivering... and he bounds onto the bed.  The pig is always kept under Randy's pillow, and Chance is well aware of this.  If Randy tries to just turn over and go to sleep, Chance isn't having it!  The game must be played!  Randy loves pretending he isn't going to play the game.  Chance lays his chin on Randy's shoulder, staring intently with his big, brown, lovely eyes, waiting.  If he has to wait too long, he comes to me, whining, and begging for me to make Randy play...

When Randy finally stops teasing, the game begins.  Randy hides the pig under the covers, and makes the pig move under the covers toward Chance...  Anyone observing would think Chance is capable of chewing a leg off,  as he chases the covered pig moving under the covers.

Randy has very quick reflexes, and he will suddenly pull the pig from under the covers and make it "bite" Chance in the rear.  Several other quick maneuvers bring delight to the game. This causes Chance to all but loose it!  And so the play and laughter goes for about ten minutes, until at last I am the one who must declare Chance the winner by throwing the pig off the bed, and declaring, "You got that pig again Chance, thank goodness we can now sleep safe and sound.  Then Chance is praised, petted, and hugged... his joy is complete!

Each night now when it gets about time for me to call Randy, Chance comet to me, and begins encouraging me to hurry up and call.  He now climbs in my lap, tries to "paw the computer," and when he hears Randy's voice, he is filled with joy and excitement!  As anyone who has a dog realizes, these wonderful creatures make such good life friends, and make life richer.  My husband's jobs always carry a great deal of responsibility, but he never seems to suffer from stress.  When he works, he works, and his focus is unbreakable.  On the other hand, when he plays, he plays, and a good game of Pig, Pig, Pig, well played, melts the stress of everyone's day.  Chance climbs from the bed, lays down on the floor, and falls to sleep immediately.  God brings blessings and comforts to those who take the time and love to form a relationship with whatever animals are brought their way in life. Think I'll go make Chance a scrambled egg.