I have one of the smartest dumb dogs in the West. Tyke. I’ve told you about him. He will chase cows. In fact he will chase them for miles, even if you don’t want him to. It’s hard to sneak up on a calving cow because Tyke runs alongside you and barks constantly. But he is faithful to me. Always happy to see me, even after a severe scolding for doing something wrong. And he never misses a ride to town in the pickup. He, like a good rope horse, is bar broke. He can sit in that pickup for hours and be plumb happy.
But this morning I was thinking about another old dog. Lucky. And I found this column from years ago. Bear with me while I retell it.
Well, we found Lucky yesterday. I’ve told you about Lucky over the years. He was the best dog we ever had. Got old and kind of went into semi-retirement the past year or two.
Oh, he’d still try. When you went riding, he’d hobble out of the yard and try to keep up. If you moved cows home, he’d usually meet you about a quarter mile from the yard. And he was so proud, cause he knew you couldn’t have gotten ‘em without his help.
A month or so ago, he didn’t show up for breakfast. We searched everywhere and no Lucky. I’ve whistled and called and checked with the neighbors. I knew no one would have kidnapped him cause you had to lift him into the pickup. We always took him along when we took the pickup and trailer cause he looked so sad if you left him.
I remember one time about ten or twelve years ago. There was a bunch of horses that ran back east. Back east is rough. If you got behind the wild bunch, they knew every trail in the Badlands. You couldn’t head them off. You could only follow them. And they’d slip out on the reservation. And if you tried to pen them out there, they’d head for our place. I don’t think the Man from Snowy River could have gotten them.
Paul, Shirley, and I jumped them one morning. We made a mad dash at the Y to stop them from going east. They split and went around us. Down over a cutbank, through the trees, and back east. We hung our heads in shame and trotted for home. We’d never had as good a shot at them as we did that morning. And we lost them.
Lucky didn’t give up so easy. We didn’t notice till we were home that Lucky wasn’t with us. I figured he had jumped a deer or something and would be home later. That night when Paul went home, there was the wild bunch! Lucky had tracked them all day and penned them over at Pauls. Really! You can buy a lot of dog food for a dog like that.
And Lucky was a good brush dog. When he was young, he’d spend a day in the willows tracking cows and bringing them out. And cows knew it. If Lucky was along, they wouldn’t even try to brush up. And he would be damned if he was going to drop anything. He’d bring them all, whether you needed em or not.
We didn’t call him Lucky for nothing. He’s got pups from Mandaree to Minot and everywhere in-between. And most of them are good dogs. It’s like I tell Shirley, the male is responsible for the brains in the family. Ouch! I take it back.
Well, a month ago Lucky followed us out of the yard. And like I said, I drove, and called, and whistled. And finally figured he had just gone to town to visit some of his ex wives. But yesterday Will found him. Guess he just followed us out of the yard, laid down behind a bale and went to dog heaven. Where, if I listen at night, I can hear him chasing wild horses, fighting coyotes, babysitting kids, and, yeah, visiting the neighbor girls. Sic em Lucky.