Ziva, my Black Mouth Cur, is an energetic soul. I do my best to keep her busy... she helps with the livestock, (loves to herd the goats!) and we have long sessions of fetch, as well as occasional walks and play dates with her best pal, Trixie. But it's not enough.
Across the street from our house is a beautiful, big field. The farmer that owns it hayed it earlier this summer, and then a few weeks ago he began to work the field. I watched him out the windows of the studio for days. On his tractor he plowed and tilled and disked. At least, that is what I think he did, and I am not sure of the order of these tasks, but it was a lot of work. Then he planted a crop of winter rye. It has been coming up nicely, a soft green blush on the dark soil.
Canada geese are passing through as they head south for winter. There is a lake just beyond the field, and all that nice new sprouting rye makes a fine snack for the geese as they rest from their travels. The farmer is not pleased to see them eating up his crop. He drives past in his truck several times a day, and veers into the field, leaning on the horn to send the birds flying.
I called him tonight. He has a good sense of humor so I started off with, "I'm calling to proposition you." He chuckled. "I couldn't help but notice that you are displeased about the geese in the field." He replied, "Oh I hate 'em. They are ripping up my plants by the roots." I said, "Well,here is my proposition. I have a big bouncy dog that would love to chase them for you, and I'll take her over there every time the geese drop in."
He was delighted by the plan and gave us his blessing. So, at dusk, when a large flock landed in the rye, I snapped Ziva's leash on her and we crossed the road. The geese were there, nibbling on the tender shoots. Ziva didn't understand the plan, but trotted ahead of me, happy to explore a new place. The geese were on high alert. Ziva pressed on, exploring. The geese began to move away. "Good dog!" I said. Ziva looked at me, puzzled. Then a few birds lifted off, heading for the lake. "GOOD GIRL!" She looked at me again, and I could see that she was getting the idea. She is so clever she got the plan quickly, and after glancing my way, headed for the remaining geese, picking up her pace. They, too, spread their wings and flew off, complaining loudly. "Good dog!" I said, calling her to me and giving her a treat. She danced about happily. This was FUN.
We'll go back tomorrow any time I see the geese there, I expect that after a few more visits Ziva will embrace the new "game" and chase those birds with gusto. She's the kind of gal that likes her work.