Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our Vicious Attack Dog named Muffy!?

Muffy. Okay, she got bigger . . .
We only lived in Winnipeg for eight months.
It was a beautiful city.
It just wasn't home.
But, in support of the breadwinner and student in our family, we had packed up our household and moved.
Dogs and everything.
Now anyone who knows our family, knows that we are completely enamoured (good word) with Old English Sheepdogs.
Hair and all.
So when I say that we moved bag and baggage to Winnipeg, that includes our dogs.
Because what's one dog without another dog, right?
And both of them need a dog . . .
Okay, my husband didn't get it , either.
I should point out, here, that OES (see above) are extremely gentle and friendly.
Though they can be protective.
But that is another story . . .
We lived in a townhouse.
Having moved from a mobile home in Alberta, we were overjoyed with all of the extra room.
But that townhouse had a miniscule yard.
Or, in other words, tiny.
That's where the whole 'missing the great stretches of prairie' came in.
I would let my dogs outside, and they would turn to me, doggy faces frozen (another common Winnipeg expression) in shock, as though to say, “What? You expect us to run in here?!”
I would point and tell them to 'go run!'
They would sigh and trot to the far (I use this term lightly) fence.
And back.
In about 3 seconds.
I would shake my head and close the door, leaving them outside for a little while to get some 'exercise'.
Yeah, it didn't make much sense to me, either.
One morning, I had put Muffy outside by herself.
She wanted to go.
And no one else did.
This isn't rocket science.
A few minutes after I put her out, my phone rang.
Cool. Someone wanted to talk to me!
I answered.
It turned out to be my letter carrier, calling from the nearest phone booth. (Cell phones existed only in the minds of Science Fiction writers at this time.)
She couldn't get into my yard because of the vicious dog guarding the gate.
There was a vicious dog in my yard?
How did it get in?
And where was Muffy?
I dropped the phone and hurried to the door.
Swinging it wide, I peered outside cautiously.
Muffy, standing beside the gate, turned and looked at me.
And then I realized that the vicious dog spoken of was my 35 pound stick. With hair.
It's true. An OES, shaved, looks like a toothpick.
On toothpicks.
Yep, the dog world equivalent of a 98 pound weakling.
While I'm in information mode, I should also tell you that OES don't have tails. They are nipped off soon after birth.
Thus, when the dog is happy, or excited, or hungry, or tired, or worried, or . . . you get the picture . . . they wiggle.
Their whole back end.
It's quite a sight.
And that was what Muffy was doing.
So this pile of hair, back end shaking like a hula skirt was what had frightened the letter carrier.
Okay, I guess I can understand.
Someone who isn't used to dogs could certainly be intimidated by the sheer size.
And the motion.
But, to me, it was funny.
That anyone would be frightened of Muffy . . .
I grabbed my dog, apologizing profusely and dragged her away so the carrier could complete her mission.
Then I explained that she was extremely gentle, and even introduced the two of them so Muffy would know that the woman was a friend.
And vice-versa.
All was well.
Until I received a notice from the postal company that no more deliveries would be made to our house if our vicious dog was in the vicinity.
Okay, this had gone a little far.
I looked down at my 'vicious' dog, currently the bottom of a game of 'dog pile' with my boys and sighed.
But we complied.
Yard time was moved to the afternoon.
To avoid any conflict.
And wussie letter carriers.

P.S. I completely understand that not everyone likes dogs, and that some of them even have an irrational fear of dogs that they really can't control, so I apologize to them for this story. I'm the same way with guard-chickens. But that is another story.


  1. It is so ironic that you post this today! I took my boys over to a woman's house on Monday to deliver a thank you note and out came 5 dogs, barking and surround my car like crazy! We were all too afraid to get out! So I still have the thank you note in my car - hoping to deliver it to her at her office. :)

    My husband was bitten by a dog on his way home from school when he was a kid and has a 2 inch scar on his back... he is terrified of dogs! His fear has passed over to me. I try to be brave though. :)

    P.S. I think Muffy is a beautiful dog. And she looks like she was (is?) about as menacing as a cotton ball!

  2. I hesitated to write this because I know about other's fear of dogs and I totally understand. The only dog I was ever bitten by was a German Shepherd. I am timid around them to this day. But OES? They're amazing. Gentle and wonderful. My blog tomorrow will be about one of the puppies we placed during our 35 year OES-raising career. Maybe I can introduce you to a wonderful breed that can help you get past your fear . . . :)

  3. She is a cutie pie. I was bitten by my aunt's german shepherd but it was b/c she was going for a bee when I ran in front of her mouth. Just bad! We love our Maisy Moo. Some people are afraid of her at first ?? until they realize that she just gets overly excited. And she has bit us all too (we play rough sometimes), but she is very sorry after it happens. Her animals instincts get the best of her on occasion and she doesn't know what to!

  4. I used to LOVE dogs ... but I got attacked twice (yup, 2x) on my mission -- one time I ended up in the ER. So for the rest of my mission, I would JUMP even at yip-yip dogs. I'm no longer afraid ... but I'm no longer a dog lover :(

  5. So sorry to hear it, Laura! I totally understand! I'd love to introduce to to one of OES, though. They have converted many . . .

  6. OES are so cute and they sound perfect for what I am looking for but unfortunately they have all that hair. I need to find a hypoallergenic dog for my family so I don't accidentally kill my hubby:)

  7. I'm glad you finally found it. I guess I should have wrote it sooner. Thanks for reading.


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