Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:18 AM
Sandy shows a fancy dog the farm life
By Lee Jennings | Special to the Times
Sandy the farm hound’s ears perked up as she heard the gravel crunching beneath the tires of an SUV making its way down the long driveway. The sunshine poured through the branches overhanging the path to the farm and gleamed off the shiny chrome hubcaps of the SUV. As it was coming to a stop, Sandy began to bark to let the Baker family know that visitors had arrived at the farm house.
Mrs. Baker came out on the porch in her apron that was dusted with flour from baking. She smelled wonderful, like a freshly baked cake. Sandy stood at the bottom of the porch steps looking toward the SUV.
She was not familiar with the car, but had heard the Baker family talking about Mr. Baker’s cousin from Charlotte coming to visit. What Sandy didn’t know was that another dog was coming to visit along with the cousin. The Baker family didn’t know that either.
Mr. Baker’s cousin was a girl that looked to be around the age of thirty. Her blonde hair was pulled up in a high ponytail, and her legs were like long toothpicks on top of thick wedged sandals. She wore a pair of jean capris and a bright pink shirt with pink sequins on it.
Sandy thought she was pretty in a city kind of way, but not the natural pretty like Mrs. Baker, who was coming down the steps to help the girl with her bags. "Hi, I’m Stacy,” said the girl.
Mrs. Baker said they had been expecting her, and she was glad to meet her. Then Stacy opened the back of her SUV, and a chocolate Labrador retriever dog gently jumped out. "I hope you don’t mind that I brought my dog. Her name is Katie,” Stacy said.
"I bet she’ll fit right in,” said Mrs. Baker. Sandy stood beside Mrs. Baker, who was helping with what seemed like a hundred bags that Stacy had brought. She said that they were not all hers. Some of them belonged to Katie.
A dog with luggage? Sandy was amazed. She also noticed that Katie wore blue and pink nail polish on her manicured paws, and she smelled like a rose bush or some kind of flower. Her collar was hot pink leather with sparkly stones on it.
Sandy had never seen such a fancy dog. She welcomed her with a friendly bark and a tail wag. Katie barked back with a tail wag, too. Mrs. Baker and Stacy laughed and headed into the house with the screen door closing behind them.
Mr. Baker and six-year-old Emma and her puppy, Fudge, were just returning from a trip to Tractor Supply where they had bought some supplies for the sheep at the farm. The sheep greeted them with lots of baahs, and Emma smiled at the sound of them.
Fudge came bolting out of the truck to see her mama, Sandy. She backed up when she saw Katie, and then began to run circles around her and Sandy. Emma asked Mr. Baker who the chocolate colored dog belonged to. "It must be Stacy’s dog,” Mr. Baker said as they walked up on the porch.
"She’s a fancy dog,” said Emma. "I like her nail polish and her pink collar. And I think that Sandy and Fudge are friends with her already!”
Emma and Mrs. Baker had not met Stacy before this day, and Mr. Baker had not seen her since she was a little girl. Stacy was very much a city girl, but had remembered that her cousin had a farm in Wilson and wanted to get away from the big city life for a while to breathe some clear country air and visit family. She also thought that her dog would enjoy stretching her legs instead of being walked in the park and playing Frisbee in her small backyard.
Sandy and Fudge and Katie walked around the farm sniffing here and there. It was getting really hot, and Sandy decided she would jump in the pond for a swim to cool off. Fudge jumped in behind her, doing the doggie paddle as hard as she could. Then, Katie hesitantly jumped in. She had never been in a pond before. It didn’t take her long before she was swimming for all she was worth.
The three dogs returned to the house hungry and ready for some lunch. Stacy saw them through the window and screeched. She had just given Katie a bath, and now she was all wet with pond water. But then, she saw the happy look on Katie’s face and calmed down with a snicker.
Sandy and Fudge ate scraps left from the Baker’s lunch, lapping it up from their tin bowls. Katie was given some canned food in a decorative ceramic dish with a matching bowl for her bottled water. Sandy felt bad for Katie, having to eat canned food, but Katie seemed to like it. She did keep sniffing of Sandy’s bowl though.
Sandy was so excited, causing her not to be as hungry as usual. She intentionally left some gravy and biscuit in her bowl for Katie. As soon as Sandy walked to the edge of the porch, Katie stuck her nose in Sandy’s bowl and then licked it clean. Sandy’s lips curled up in a smile knowing that the city dog had probably never had anything that tasted that good in her life.
The three dogs had just finished their meal when a loud thunderstorm boomed close by. Lightning bolted around the farm house and heavy rain showers blew up on the porch. Katie began to whimper and laid low with her paws over her ears, but Sandy and Fudge barked as loud as they could so the Bakers would let them in.
Mr. Baker came to the door and let the trio in, and Sandy led the other two dogs to the laundry room to lay down on the cool floor. Katie had calmed down, but the lightning and thunder were fierce. Raindrops pelted against the window panes, and the wind was blowing a branch against the side of the house that gave a scratchy sound.
Then after a while, the storm calmed down, and everything was quiet. Sandy could hear Mr. Baker coming toward the laundry room and stood up to greet him. Sandy knew they would be going to check on the sheep in the pasture.
Emma kept Fudge inside so that she could play with her for a while, and Katie went with Sandy and Mr. Baker to the pasture. Everything was wet, and there were mud puddles. There were birds singing beautiful music, and she could smell the sheep with her keen senses. She followed Sandy, who knew the routine and could have walked down the path from the house with her eyes closed.
After checking on the sheep and finishing her chores, Sandy the farm hound lay down on her back in the wet grass and rolled and twisted until she was satisfied. Katie was standing there looking at her with amusement. She had always wanted to do that. She lay down in the grass and did the same thing. It was such a free feeling to be here in the country. There were no loud car horns close by, no crowds, and she hoped that she could have leftovers from dinner that night like Sandy and Fudge.
Nightfall came with the same freedom as the day. The black sky was full of stars that Katie hadn’t seen in the city. The crickets were chirping, and the air had cooled to a comfortable sleeping temperature. Sandy contently lay on the porch with Fudge and Katie.
She was glad that she and Fudge could share the country life with Katie for the day. And Katie had the chance to lap up some table scraps after dinner. Sandy was thankful that Mr. Baker provided the kind of life with delicious table scraps, room to run and swim and roll around in the grass, and safety in the storms. If you think about it, we all have a Master that allows us to lap up his goodness if we stay close to Him.