Story of how I got a basset hound and a billy goat the same day.
| Could I really do that? I looked at the words on the computer screen. Alpine, Utah where in the heck was that? Using DexOnline, I found it. Holy Hannah, it was over two and a half hours away. Only I would be crazy enough to drive this old beat up truck 180 miles down the road. I put my silly looking green and blue hat on, if I was gonna be nuts, I might as well enjoy myself. I turned up the radio. Pretty soon, I was keeping time with the tunes weaving and bobbing with my shoulders. I started singing at the top of my lungs. I was having a great time.
Later today, I would be bringing a billy goat home for Shiloah . The funny thing about it is, I had to drive so dang far to get him. You would think with all these darn farmers around, we would be able to find one pygmy billy goat for sale. It seemed that everyone had a friend that had pygmy goats. The thing was, I couldn't seem to get in touch with any of them. So, I did what I normally did. Got on the Internet and after about a week of discussion with various pygmy goat people, found one that looked just right.
But, who was the owner? When I found out, I had to laugh. None other than the head of security at the local mental hospital in Provo. Yikes, had I been there as a patient. Heck, yeah, did I hate my time there? Well, not at the time but I determined after five visits at various times in my life, I would never go again. It was an ironic piece of news. We did the deal. After borrowing $20 from my neighbor, I know, I know, if I have to borrow $20 you'd then I don't need a goat. Well, I didn't but Shiloah did. She was pining for a husband, if that is what you call him and I that's what I called him.
Shiloah was off her food, she didn't want to be around her son, the wether. (that is a castrated billy) He couldn't help her biological clock as it ticked on and on. Standing alone in the pen, Shiloah and wandered around aimlessly. She didn't even try to escape her pen. That was the goal for her son, Sebastian every day. Every night I would put him in the pen, every morning he would be out. His tail wagging as his head was buried under the brown tarp eating the hay. Poor Shiloah, she waggled her tail in vain many times a day, so, I answered the call of the tail. I borrowed the $20 and drove my old truck up. I was getting her a billy.
As I was dancing away on my seat, I noticed, how nice the day was. Then about forty-five minutes into my drive I saw something that made me squint. No, it wasn't the sun, even though it was bright. It was a dog, Not just any dog, but a full-blooded, short legged, long eared, basset hound running along side the road. I peered closer and thought, how strange. Oh, well, someone's out having a good time besides me. Then I saw something that made me shiver.
My darn old mind's eye, quickly put itself to work. I saw a coal truck barreling down the road just as the basset hound spotted a cat on the other side of the road. He dashed across the road just in front of the truck. Tires squealed, a huge semi waffled out of control. I shook my head, clearing the dust, the sound of the brakes dissipated into the air. I spotted a pull over just in time, signaled, slowed to a stop. Jamming my hat, harder on my head, I started out of the truck on a slow trot. The bassett hound was just ahead of me. His busy nose was working over time. Carmel colored, his head swiveled back and forth quickly as smells assailed him from all sides.
From behind him, I called, "Hey boy". He turned, looking in my direction, then he bounded joyful up to me. His tail beat a tattoo on my leg.
"What are you doing out here, huh?" I questioned. His large golden eyes twinkled up at me. Ah, he was having a great time. But he didn't know what I had seen. Real or not, I didn't want him to end up as the next road killl having to be scooped up by the city guys. I reached down, gathering him in my arms. He was skinny but compact. I figured by the feel of his rib bones under my arms it had been awhile since he had been home.
Putting him in the cab of the truck, I thanked my lucky stars. I happened to have an old wool blanket a friend had given me in the truck. I placed the baby items, I was taking up to my son and his very pregnant wife on the floor. White hairs had come off on my dark green sweater. They told me a tale, he was shedding tons of white hairs. Probably for lack of care more than anything. I threw the old blanket on top of the pile of stuff. It kind of made a bed for him between the seat and the dash. He immediately looked at me with those limped eyes, then tail wagging, he plopped his head on the dash and settled his long body in.
I looked at him with a wry grin. This dog was so funny looking. He has the shortest, strongest, legs I had ever seen. His hind end and short body was muscled and stout even with the ribs sticking out. His four feet were huge! Those claws, heck his feet looked like they could scrabble up a mountain side with no trouble at all. Hikers with their cleats had nothing on him. This guy was made for the mountains. His paws were as big as my hand splayed out with all the fingers distended. I shook my head, threw the signal on, and pulled out then turned by the tiny log post office building.
I went to the first house which looked like it could have once contained a dog. Kid toys were stung all over the winter, yellow yard. Trikes and bikes littered it's once green glory. I knocked but to no avail. Maybe with so many kids, she was trying to get some sleep with a toddler. It was after all getting toward mid day.
I turned looking at Henry, as I called him by now. He reminded me of a black and white basset hound mix we had long ago. We lived out on the dry west mesa in Albuquerque when Rob was three years old at the time. Henry the 1st never did settle. We had picked him up in mountainous Ruidoso, New Mexico. He came with us on our move to Albuquerque but he kept digging holes in the back yard and running away. When he got hit by a car, we even had one leg amputated, but he was a hobo from the get go. Even having only three legs didn't stop his wandering and one day he just didn't come back home.
Memories receded as I approached the house across the street. It had a few country looking items on the porch. A older style sedan was in the drive. I supposed it belonged to an elderly couple and I was right. A kindly, white haired woman answered the door. Her eyes shone as she invited me in.
"Hi, what can I do for you today." I had noticed the name Allred on the wall above the doorbell.
"I had a cousin who married an Allred," I replied as I was ushered inside the cozy home. She had a tinkling laugh that made me smile.
"Yeah, there are a lot of us around." She smiled again. I glanced around briefly before getting to the point.
"I found a basset hound running down the side of the road trying to get hit. I wondered if you might have one or know of a neighbor one might belong to." A wrinkle of concentration formed on her brow.
"Well, now, I seem to recollect that those people down the street, have a black and white one. Does the one you found look like that?." She looked up at me waiting for a response.
"Nah," I shrugged, "He is tan, white, and black with lots of spots. He's pretty skinny so he could have been lost for awhile. Could I ask the time?" I queried. I had to be to Alpine by 4'oclock and I didn't really know the way. I had directions but I was a little nervous.
"It's 2:30." Jeez Louise. I had to get going. I hadn't planned on such an interruption and the truck wasn't giving greased lightning a run for the money. I thanked her and decided Henry would have to go with me. I had noticed a heavy duty faded blue collar on him but no tags. I had brought a rope along but not a collar for my new goat. Taking Henry was one way to get a heavy collar without having to buy one with only gas money on me.
Off we went again. Henry rested his muzzle on the dash as he stretched out. Heck, he was so long. I had no idea what I was gonna do with this dog with a body like a small freight train. He shook his muzzle and spit flew around. Then with a sigh he settle back down. I gave a sigh and kept on driving. At least I had company.
An hour and half later, I pulled off the right exit but that was beginning of my mistake. I realized when the directions didn't match my surroundings, I had taken a wrong turn. Oh, boy now what. Well, I pulled over to a bowling alley. It might be a likely place for instructions to Alpine, Utah. As it turned out it was. A elderly, nice looking couple, had just parked nearby. I let Henry out after tying a stray orange twine on him for a leash. He tugged and pulled at the restraint. I jerked back dragging him with me.
"Hi," I smiled, "Can you tell me how to get back to the turn for Alpine?" With a nod the white haired handsome gentleman did just that. They listened politely to my tale of woe,after which he commented "It sounds like you going on a scavenger hunt to me" I laughed, how very right he was. But who or what was the scavenger, I wasn't so sure. After a sniffing, bathroom break for Henry and a loosing up the old bones for me, we hunkered back into the truck.
I rerouted myself and in no time at all was turning up the right snow covered drive. Hopping out, I rang the bell. I looked around the expensive neighborhood. You wouldn't have suspected the stately windows were goat lovers inside these walls. After a moment the door opened. Dark thinning hair and blue eyes behind spectacles loomed before me a tan hand was extended, I gripped it with mine.
"You're here for the goat," he smiled his greeting pleasant. I nodded and followed him in and around to the garage. He put some rubber boots on. After opening the garage door for a convenient way to get back to the truck, we went outside. It was a lot bigger outside than you would have thought, especially for a ritzy neighborhood. I squinted at the glowing ball of amber in the sky. The sun was two fingers from going down. Half hour was plenty of time to get the billy into the truck. He led me to a small enclosure that housed two nannies. He explained that one was a mother and the other, her daughter. I gazed at the two and saw they were creme colored and black. A better combination than Shiloah's standard black peppered with white coat. There he was in all his glory.
"What's his name?" I questioned. "We just call him stinky 2. Last year's billy we called stinky 1." I chucked peering down as he fed stinky 2 some grain from the bucket. Stinky 2 had a set of horns. They were slicked back off his skull, brown and chiseled across with ridges some 5 inches in length. He looked up at me for a minute munching away, his jaw grinding from side to side.
"He's pretty nice looking isn't he." I commented at length. Cream colored hair stood at least 3 to 4 inches along his spine. Spiked black and cream colored hairs were swirled in his coat. He was very handsome if you were a goat. Earlier at a stop, I had met a girl named Jill. Smiling, I told her I liked her name, I decided Shiloah's billy would be christened Jack. She laughed when I told her my short tale.
A long beard and tawny eyes looked suspiciously at me. Jack acted as though he knew it was going to be a long, cold ride home. My new friend gathered Jack in his arms, throwing over his shoulder as he walked.
"It is just easier to carry him to your truck. He'll be a little nervous but he should settle." He was lifted over the side of the bed of the truck. Securely tethering him to a tire with a rope, the gentleman worked while, I pulled the wool blanket out of the cab. Soon Jack was bleating in the back of my old brown truck. We both surveyed him critically.
" Don't worry," was his reassurance as he patted me on the back. "He'll settle down once you get on your way." I worriedly looked on. Jack wrapped the too long rope about his hairy legs. We shortened the length. For the moment I had forgotten Henry but he was gazing with wide eyes at the new addition to our group. After saying good-bye, I watched the billy goat with his beard blowing in the cold evening breeze. Eventually he settled in a corner of the bed of the truck. We were off, as I turned the truck, I pondered on the beauty of the cold night. Amber, white, green and blue lights twinkled all around as our trio lumbered off the hill. All in all it had been a funny day but as Chandra, my oldest daughter often said, it had once again been one of mom's adventures. What my husband would say I had no idea. But I was sure I could twist him around to my way of thinking.
After all, he loved me that much. With a sigh, I settled back for the long drive home. I looked at Henry, his freight train compacted body was turned backward looking at our cold passenger. He stood on two legs looking into the darkness. His tale was beating on the steering column. It looked like Jack had a new friend, Henry. Who without knowing it had supplied me with a traveling companion to help keep me awake. Jack with a new friend. Last but not least, a friend my husband could understand. Henry's slow and happy accepting attitude reminded me of my husband waiting at home. He was that way with me, my Fred. Fred sighed sometimes, and would shake his head but at the end of the day, he looked at me with those same kind of trusting eyes.
I only hoped that I was up to the task. The task of always being someone that could be trusted. Those thoughts kept me awake as I drove home. Was I to be trusted? My thoughts made me tremble, I knowing how weak I really am. Then Henry put his muzzle down on my leg. The warmth of it gave me a calm, comforting feeling. A bleating reminded me of Jack. Looking at him, I realized he had a sort of trust in me too. Animals trust you until you prove them wrong, even then , they forgive easily. Thought of the new responsibility I had taken on suddenly filled me with warm emotion. I was to be trusted. Then, I sighed again, this time in peace. In the darkened night it was just me, Henry and Shiloah's billy named Jack.