Takoda here. Don’t tell Mom I used her laptop. I am not allowed to play with it. Or phones. Or remote controls, socks, books, magazines, shoes, sweaters, cats, chickens, coyote poop, wastebaskets, beer bottles, couch cushions, blankets, pee pads, rugs or gloves. I am not allowed to chew on furniture. I am not allowed to take food off the counter or out of the trash. They fuss at me in the kitchen. I am not tall enough to take food off the counter yet, but they act like I do it all the time, like I am a problem. I just want to see what I smell! They have a lot of rules.
I like to bite Mom. I can’t help it, she is chewy and I love her. I love Dad too, but he is tough not chewy like Mom. Dad says she looks like a battered woman and it is my fault. I don’t know what that means. I have torn 3 pairs of Mom’s pajama pants, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 winter coats, and a pair of corduroys. (Also a fleece shirt, but I don’t think she has seen that yet.) She gets mad when I tear things, but I am a herder from way back, how else can I control her? When Mom walks me, she gets out of line and I have to correct the situation. It’s fun. We walk and run every morning. We go down the driveway. I have to wear a leash part way because of the stupid cats and stupid birds. They need herding, no one understands that like I do, but I am not allowed to chase and nip them. When we get down the hill by the fire pit, Mom takes my leash off so I can RUN!!! Run, run, run, run! I run! I like to disappear into the brush and wait until Mom walks ahead. Then I run! I run by bite Mom while I am running I don’t even have to slow down. She yells at me “TAKODA NO BITING” and I look back smile keep running. I like my Mom, it is funny when she gets mad. I am very fast, too fast for her to grab it’s funny, I run! We go around Big Loop in a field, I get to dive into the brush over and over until I have seeds and burrs all over me. Sometimes
grass sticks out of my fur and I get frost on my face. Sometimes I find briers, they scratch it hurts my belly so I run. Then we go down to the well pump. I can see the cows next door but I am not allowed to herd them, either. After that, we go up the road to the top of our mountain. I see turkeys and smell bear and deer and possums. I run! Mom throws a stick ahead of me I get it, chew it. I don’t take it to her. I am a herder. Not fetch dog. I run. Then we run down the hill. I stop at the puddle and splash or bite the ice. Some days water, some days ice, I like to slide on ice but splashing is good. I run. Mom moves her hand and says “Takoda come” and I do so I get a treat. Then I run ahead so she will do it again when I get too far away. It works every time. Mom has a lot of bruises and little cuts from my puppy needle teeth. So do her clothes. I like to bite Mom. Sometimes she flips me over and holds me down and looks in my eyes and says “TAKODA NO BITING” I don’t like that.
Could you get mad at this face? I ate the chickens’ treats that day, I had yogurt on my nose I got in trouble.
At first I thought my name was TAKODA-NO-BITING! Then I figured out TAKODA-NO-BITING means I am in trouble again. My name is plain Takoda. That means “friend to everyone” in the language of the Lakota Indian. I am a friend to everyone so far. Except Amos and Rory Gallagher. Cats suck. They either run from me or turn on me and hiss. There is no in-between with those two. I heard Mom and Dad say the cats used to fight a lot before I came, now they are all buddy-buddy and stay together and plot against me. I just want to play, when I run at them they run like I want to kill them and I get in trouble. TAKODA NO! I just want to herd them so we can play. Cats are stupid. One day I stuck my head through the cat door and Amos smacked me in the face and I was stuck until I could back up and get away. Then he ran like I did something bad. Rory Gallagher taunts me, he runs by me outside, up a tree, down, back by me with his tail up and his sideways run and I can tell he wants me to herd him but I get in trouble if I chase him.
I ate two pairs of Dad’s prescription glasses in the same week and knocked his milk over. He got more mad about the milk than he did the glasses. Milk went everywhere and he was trying to eat a sandwich. I can reach the table next to Dad’s recliner. When he leaves the remote there I am going to eat it. I check every night unless I fall asleep. I fall asleep at 10:00 and I sleep until 7:00 a.m. when I bark at the door. I am not allowed on the other side of the door. The cats are. They sleep high on a bed and glare at me from there like they own the place. I know how to SIT and LIE DOWN. I don’t like to STAY. I don’t like to be QUIET.
This week I went to Highgate Farm twice to play with Kelly. She is an English Shepherd, too. She is really big, almost 2 years old and she can roll me over and herd me and she knocked me down in the snow or the mud a lot of times. I am only three months old, I run as fast as her. She is bigger. Kelly pushes me around I like to chase her and she does not get mad at me when I run by bite her run look back run. She likes it, she runs, runs, runs. We are not allowed to chase the chickens there or the cats. We jump on the people, though. Mom took the chickens to live at Highgate Farm because something ate Snapdragon. It was not me. I was in the house. Then something got Clara and hurt her wing and tore feathers off her neck. Mom was supposed to take them to another farm but the people were out of town at Christmas so they went to Highgate instead, where there is a fence and I am not allowed to chase them. There are a LOT of chickens there, I would like to get into that pen but I would be in very big trouble, maybe the most trouble yet.