Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Four-Footed Saviour

Us. And Mike as a puppy.

We had a dog. 

Mike. 
Big dog. 
Saint Bernard. 
Very protective. 
He thought nothing of risking his very life defending us from such dangerous things as – the cat. Tumbleweeds. 
The occasional cardboard box, blowing in the wind. 
Laundry. 
In the history of the world, no one was safer. 
My parents could relax, knowing that Mike was on duty . . .
It was summer.
Summer meant swimming on the ranch.

How convenient that the south fork of the Milk River curved  around the ranch buildings like loving arms.
Baking in the hot sun while lying on the sandy shore.
Looking up through the cloudy water to see the particles of grit suspended in the light.
The very best of times.
Back to Mike.
Such bliss needed to be shared with our very best friend.
Right?
Well it seemed like a good idea at the time . . .
We didn’t realize that Mike was a mountain dog. Swimming hadn’t been programmed into his non-rewritable brain. 
He knew only two things. 
Snow. 
And saving people. 
Oops. 
At first everything went well. 
We swam. 
Mike ran up and down the bank, barking frantically. 
Then, the problems started.
If anyone ventured near enough to grab, he did so by whatever protruded. 
And drag them further up onto the beach.
To his horror, the ‘saved’ person would inevitably extricate themselves and, without even a thank you, nullify all his best efforts by charging back into the milky waters.
It was more than the 'saving people' part of him could stand.
He started venturing further and further into the uber-dangerous, monster filled water, seeking someone to save. 
He'd find a limb. 
Or a backside. 
Then grab it, and whoever it was attached to, and drag them out of the water kicking and screaming. 
How happy they must be that he was on hand to save them! 
Listen to the sound of their relief! 
He would bark happily and charge in for the next heroic act . . .
He never managed to drown anyone that day. 
A true miracle. 
And we learned from the experience.
After that, when we went swimming, our hero guarded the garage. 

From the inside.

3 comments:

  1. Poor Mike! He must have really wondered about the lot of you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. But,...but.....you were so safe.

    ReplyDelete

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