Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mike

Straingam Ranch
We had a dog. Mike. He was a 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.
We decided to take our fearless guard dog swimming. 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. Swimming couldn’t possibly fit in there anywhere. But he good-naturedly followed us because we asked him. Or because Jerry was holding the rope that doubled as a leash. Whichever.
At first everything went well. We swam. Mike ran up and down the bank, barking frantically. If anyone ventured near enough to grab, he did so. By whatever protruded enough for him to get a grip on. But 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.
Finally, Mike’s lack of success in the saving department became too much for him. His frustration boiled over into something more proactive. He started venturing further and further into the uber-dangerous, monster filled water, seeking someone – anyone - to save. A limb passed near. Or someone’s backside. He grabbed it, and whoever it was attached to, and dragged them to the shore. 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. Wisdom. Or a miracle. After that, when we went swimming, our hero guarded the garage. From the inside.

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