New Dog Stirs Thoughts Of A Calendar Of Pickup Canines

Western Ag Vignettes

Farm pooch could become famous January to December.

Published on: October 15, 2012

My new mutt, an 8-month-old kinda lab/kinda Siberian named Arya (don't ask) sits next to me barking for yet another baby carrot. Nice to have a "bud" again since the trauma of losing my old Doxie friend, Spencer, who stood by me for the last 8 years. The horror of putting down one of the family still haunts me. We don't euthanize a child or a parent when they get really sick. Nature runs its course. Yet, when it comes to our animals, the "don't let them suffer" syndrome  gives new meaning to Kevorkianism.

Check out Sally Burnham's "Sallying About" column in the November Western Farmer-Stockman for a photo of our new Humane Society blue light special.

Dogs, like the common cold and taxes, are an inseparable part of the life of a farmer. For years I have wanted to create a new calendar featuring pickup dogs, those independent wind-sniffing tailgate tail wagers who peak over your truck cab with a look for you to go faster.

I know there are calendars about every breed of dog in the cosmos, but I have never seen the pickup dog reviewed. Imagine a dusty lab hanging out it's tongue and drooling on the bed of a Ford, or a coy Collie draping her paws over the side with summer air breezing through her fur as the Dodge shifts gears. Maybe a hound in a Chevy chewing a good bone en route to the Deere dealer for parts.

This is a million dollar idea waiting to happen. I know people would crush into the calendar kiosk at their local mall to snap up these $15 gift items with gusto.

Or not.

Nevertheless, the pickup dog as a calendar concept remains a challenge to pooch photographers who, until their lens licked by a terrier, haven't filled this gap in publishing history.

My brush with farm dogs hasn't always been positive. In a California pear orchard, I was kept in my truck by a pair of marauding 100-pound, slobbering Irish setters. I've had my share of bites from "he's friendly" canines that sent me to hospitals for rabies exams while they checked into the local dog jailhouse to see if they were OK.

My greatest encounter with near death at the jaws of a German shepherd came as the animal, freshly escaped from its nearby  razor-wire topped chain fence cage, came at me like an avenging angel on the attack. My life flashed before me as I felt what I knew was my last gasp of air escape audibly from my mouth.

But he stopped, sniffed, and walked away.

I still feel bad that I didn't make good on my promise to enter the priesthood.

Moreover, I feel I should erect a statue of St. Francis, patron saint of the animals, in my backyard garden. However, since the dog named Arya has totally obliterated by back yard garden – even my prize perennials have been uprooted and "transplanted" to her rat's nest under the cedar tree – how could even a saint be happy there?

Coincidently, as I end this, she just sashayed into the office and nudged my elbow, spilling my coffee on my lap, and she casually walked away to create who knows what havoc down the hall.

I think she's eating my five-year-old grandson!