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Peppercayenne
04-10-2007, 02:49 PM
Before Tasha Was Mine


Before the little red ranchdog Tasha came to be my dog, she was wild as a little March hare?if there was dog trouble on the ranch where I worked, you?d usually find Tasha in the middle of it. There were dogs everywhere you looked, most of them ACDs, Texas Heelers, and even a big black Kelpie dog. This motley dog crew belonged to an equally motley assortment of cowboys that trained and showed working Quarter Horses.
Into this hive of Western Style horse activity I stood out, the lone breeches-and-boots English Riding Instructor. I had two lesson horses and my old Elkhound-Shepherd dog, and lived in a big barnloft apartment, while the cowboy crew lived over across the property in an old singlewide mobile: boys, dogs and all. They were best kept away from, but periodically we crossed paths, (and occasionally sabers, metaphorically speaking).
One such occasion had to do with a rather nasty dogfight that broke out in the barn aisle below my apartment one evening as I was grabbing a quick bite to eat in my kitchen. I could hear dogs snarling and yipping, and the boys whooping and hollering. I came halfway down my stairs and I was shocked to the bone marrow by what I saw! There in the center of a circle of cowboys were two fighting dogs ? one was good old ?Otis?, a sweet little blue Texas Heeler bitch who was due within the week to deliver puppies! On Oatie?s throat was little Tasha, going in for the gusto. I heard one boy offer a bet on the outcome, and that was IT for me! I can?t recall before, or since, being so angry in my life! I waded right into that pack of boys, elbowing ribs and shoving my way through the crowd, my adrenaline pumping. I reached down and grabbed Tasha by the hair on the back of her neck and the hair above her tail and she was so surprised she let go of Otis and froze. I lifted her as high as I could above my head and tossed her against the nearest stall wall and then I grabbed Oatie up in my arms and turned around to face the cowboys as Tasha slunk away to hide under her hayshed. Shamefaced cowboys averted their eyes and one by one, they slunk away too. I faced Oatie?s owner, the head trainer, and said, ?You don?t deserve this dog. You don?t get her back.? And I literally carried Oatie up my stairs, pregnant as she was, and slammed the door.
The following day I was returning from the store and out crawled Tasha from under her hayshed, crawling slowly on her belly. I stopped in my tracks and it was like a knife in the heart to see her. I thought I had injured her when I?d thrown her that way! She reached me at last and she rolled slowly over onto her back and laid there, pushing her nose into the dirt behind her and revealing her throat, shaking, and then I saw what she was saying to me: ?You are my Alpha. You win.? I was just able to gently stroke her fur briefly and then she was up, quick as a fox, and ran to hide again. That night she slept on my doorstep, and for every night thereafter. She began to follow me after that wherever I went. She would wait if I drove away, watching for me until my return. She was my little red shadow, and she was always right there with me. I fell so hard in love with that dear little dog back then. She didn?t pick fights any more, secure in her place as she saw it. She only had eyes for her mama, and she had a job now: watching out for mom.
As a postscript, that head trainer did finally steal his dog back from me, and Oatie did have eight fine puppies: they were Heeler/Kelpie cross pups. And, ever after that, any of those boys would tip their cowboy hats to me respectfully and nod, whenever they saw Tasha and I pass them by, saying, ?Howdya do, MISS Shirley.?
Here?s a photo of me and my baby-girl, 1986.
Shirley
http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q112/Peppercayenne/tashaandmom2.jpg

Dominique
04-10-2007, 04:40 PM
I read the first post that you did about her and was glad to see this one posted I love both stories about you and your best friend. Thank you so much for sharing something so personal.

lauralu
04-10-2007, 04:48 PM
You should write a book! I myself can't wait to read the next chapter. I am very serious!!!!!

Lolly
04-10-2007, 05:59 PM
You really should write a book. The story itself is wonderful, but the way you tell it - I'm completely and totally immersed in it. Thank you for sharing, I hope there is more to come!

Kotterkey
04-10-2007, 06:34 PM
Beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing such a touching part of your live. Very beautiful dog, too.

sierrasuenos
04-11-2007, 10:36 AM
You should write a book! I myself can't wait to read the next chapter. I am very serious!!!!!


You really should write a book. The story itself is wonderful, but the way you tell it - I'm completely and totally immersed in it. Thank you for sharing, I hope there is more to come!

I third the notion! What an amazing story and an amazing life! My heart sank at the part of the dog fight. Thank you for being so brave and passionate. I hope there is more.

catchncows
04-12-2007, 01:49 AM
Wow Shirley. You told me today that you posted another story about Tasha. Your stories are so well written and heartfelt. I can't wait to talk to you more about it tomorrow.....when you get your new family member!!!!

Alison

Peppercayenne
04-12-2007, 10:45 AM
LOL Alison! I'll have some explaining to do about that new family member here on the list!!! Can't wait!!!
Thanks to everyone who liked Tasha's stories...she was an incredible girl, and though she's been at the Bridge for many years now, I still think of her so often; I can still relive these memories of her as though they were only yesterday, and my mind's eye can see her close enough it seems I could almost pick her up in my arms again. You all know how it is sometimes! You just never get over missing them so.
I don't know about a book but one day soon maybe I will put another story here, about life with my wild little March Hare Tasha.
Shirley

Belgrael
04-13-2007, 06:35 PM
Shirley, I only just re-read your original post on Tasha and was crying my eyes out. I am so very glad you posted how she became "your" dog.
What a wonderful story. Sounds like your life has been far from boring.

Now, SPILL THE BEANS on your new addition!! Get thee into the general chat forum and tell us all!

Lolly
04-13-2007, 09:04 PM
Now, SPILL THE BEANS on your new addition!! Get thee into the general chat forum and tell us all!

Yes! Do tell!