BARK AT THE DARK

BY KEEPER 

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Keeper . . . . . . warning villians away as evening approaches

OH NO!!!

Yikes!!!

There's something out there!!! Out there in the dark!!! BARK!!!, BARK!!!!, BARK!!! Get out of here!!! Whatever you are!!! BARK!!!, BARK!!!!, BARK!!!!

Cmon Abby. Start barking. We gotta scare it away. Whatza matter with you? BARK!!!, BARK!!!, BARK!!!!

That neighbour dog was crossing the field this afternoon and I remember him cause we barked at him and Iím almost-positively-maybe could-be-for-sure-certain he must be out there in the dark just looking for a chance to pounce on us and take us prisoner. We gotta warn him off!!!

 BARK!!! BARK!!!!

 Go on - get outta here!!!!

Jeez, that Abby. She don't bark at nothing. Sheís just standing there looking at me like Iím stupid or something. Weíll see whoís stupid when I gotta mount a rescue mission to get her back!!!

Oh, Oh, here comes that loudmouth Rick to tell me to shut up. Honestly, between him and Abby them two donít have two brain cells to rub together.

BARK!!! BARK!!! BARK!!!

Oh, I forgot to tell you my name is Keeper.

I am a Golden Retriever dog. I am Abby's sister. I live with Rick and Carol.

To be with Keeper, sitting in the field watching as a slow summer day on the prairie pass us by

Abby said I should write a story and I said "What about?" and Abby said I should write about myself and adventures and such but I am still learning how to write as writing is not such a big skill with dogs or at least not so much more important than catching mice and digging holes. Mmmmmm, that sentence was probably too long. I will try better.

Abby said I should write a story and I wondered who I was writing a story for and Abby said there were some human-type kids who lived far away from the valley who had been learning about us from Abby's stories and I said "Human-type kids - like the one's next door?" and Abby said "Yeh, like those one's" and I said "The one's that throw balls and pick crabapples and give them to us and talk to us when they're waiting for the school bus, those kids?" and she said "Yeh."

Oooops.

A stalwart Keeper, standing guard on a windy-blown day, a bulwark against the predators of the prairie!!!

I suppose that sentence was too long too. Writing is hard!!

I have to concentrate and I donít do that very well. Unless I am finding enemies in the dark. And then maybe I over-concentrate. But those kids next door have socks that taste pretty good so yours must taste good too.

So I will write you a story.

But maybe I should start at the beginning. I can take a second because the dark is confusing and I've probably scared off that pouncing dog that was maybe, possibly out there. Abby doesn't bark unless she sees something which I think is a little reckless.

Me . . . . I ainít taking no chances.

That's because I grew up in town with my former littermates of a father, mother and three human-type kids. But they had a small yard and while everyone likes a puppy for awhile they maybe didn't like me in the end. Maybe cause I barked there too. I'm not sure. But the kids pulled my tail sometimes and then no one would play with me or much talk to me or take me for walks so I barked some more cause at least it was something to do.

Then one day I heard a truck pull up outside the gate and I looked through the peephole in the gate and there was this big old eyeball looking right back at me and then the eyeball said "Hey, there's one in here too." And so I got to meet Rick who's got a hairy face like me and then he left for a second and when he came back I got to meet Abby and we jumped up and down and sniffed noses and tore across the yard and ran into Carol and knocked her over because it was so much fun to have some company and company that looked like me.

But then something strange happened. I got the leash put on me and I got put in the back of Rick and Carolís truck and my blanket was there and my dinner bowl was there.

This was very strange and scary so I started to hyperventilate when the truck began to leave my house. Abby was with me and didnít seem to mind and Rick and Carol were sitting up front and they said it would be alright but that only made me hyperventilate even harder because it was all so different.

Summer and the living is easy for Keeper at her home

The truck drove away from my yard and out of town and up hills and down the other side and then we got out of the truck and it was even scarier because my fence wasnít there and we were in the country and the yard was so big it wasn't like a yard at all and it wasn't home and why was it so big and I was still pretty scared because I didn't know where I was.

I was scared because I thought I was with aliens and they would suck the brains out of my head any second!!!!

Then Rick and Carol gave me lots of hugs and kisses and Abby and I played a bit. But then it came time to go in the house and I got really scared and so I went and found Rick I was shaking all over. I was so scared because it wasn't home but he sat on the floor and gave me a big hug and that made me feel better.

But that was a long time ago in the Hot Time and now itís the Cold Time and Abby and I are now sisters and we are good friends and we play all the time and now Iím not scared. I have got confidence now. I don't think much about my previous life much because I get to explore swamps, plains and forests and my sister Abby and I look for mooses, deer and coyotes and the yard is pretty big with lots of tall grass for finding mice and such.

But I still bark at the dark. And rightly so.

I still don't like to ride in the truck because I fell out of my previous father's big truck and hurt myself. But I like getting in Carol's car and riding to town and back. I wish they would use the car all the time. Abby and I sit in the back seat of the car like human tourists and we are big so we must look pretty strange from behind. But Carol drives us to town and back and we look out the windows at all the peculiar things we can see. Like people.

I like to run a lot. When we are on Epik Journies I run down into canyons and up the other side and into forests and over lotsa logs and then I run back to Rick and Carol, then past them and do the same thing on the other side. I was pretty fat before but now I'm not because I get to run all the time.

I'm sure you've noticed that humans are pretty strange - no offence - and Carol is no exception. She keeps bringing us toys home from someplace and Abby and I sit down with them and study them a bit and then we tear them apart. Always. Then we play tug oí war with the remainders and Abby drags me around on the floor because I can grip my teeth real good. But then there is usually stuffing from the toy all over the place and Abby eats it. I like to eat the outside of the toy so it works out OK. Then Carol brings more toys home. But Carol found a "softy" toy that squeaks and stretches and we have tried all the usual destroying techniques we have learned and nothing works. Not like with tennis balls and other squeaky toys. That new toy is a lot of fun because it squeaks and its a survivor.

Winter and the living is pretty cool for Keeper . . . Look, a Snoopy Vulture!!

I am starting to understand barbed-wire fences. In the summer when I first got to the country I didnít know what a barbed wire was and I didnít see one when I was running and I ran into it and it knocked me on my bum. That made my eyes water for a bit. And then for awhile I didnít like fences cause they hurt!! But then Rick and Carol would hold fences up for me to go under and now I donít wait sometimes because I go up to the fence and study it real hard and then when Iíve got it figured out I can go under it by myself.

Did I tell you about cows? They are very big even compared to me. I remember when I saw my first cow. It was out in the field with other cows and we were walking along a fence and the cows were fairly close and all the cows stood up and faced us.

Like we were the problem???

So I stopped and stared at the nearest cow and it didnít seem to like that and it started to lower its head. And then I noticed that Rick and Abby had kept on walking and Rick was telling me to get going. I donít like cows much because most things are afraid of Abby and me on account of our obvious ferocity.

But cows arenít afraid of us and I was wondering why they didnít run away like the moose and deer. But I also noticed the cow was ten times my size and the only place I could have run away to was the barbed wire fence. So I kept on walking and pretty soon the cows were far behind and then they went back to eating the grass.

Mooses and deer are OK but maybe not cows. They are probably terrible predators and we were probably lucky to escape. Sometimes they come up to the fence near our yard and I bark at them because I know they canít leap through the fence and grab me. So that's OK.

I ate a vole once. I can personally say that a vole is bigger than a mouse and about as big as a gopher which we see sometimes on Epik Journies.

Rick catches voles from holes in the ground but he keeps them away from us. But one time Abby and I were playing and tripped over one of his traps and it came out of the ground and there was a vole hanging out of it.

This was very interesting so early in the day!!!

But it was stuck in that trap so I spent part of the day chewing the trap to pieces and then I finally pulled the vole out and swallowed him. Rick didnít like that. 

The sun sets on another grand day in the life of Keeper

I caught a mouse a little while ago and carried it around for awhile and it was squirming in my mouth and Abby wanted it so I kept my mouth pretty tight and Abby chased me all over. Just like with that moose ear I found in the Hot Time. But this time I kept the mouse and he wiggled and squirmed in my mouth while Abby and I ran around the house. Then I got bored with him and spit him out into the snow and he tried to run away and Abby ate him.

Abby and I look for mice in the tall grass in our yard all the time but there donít seem to be very many of them. We think the neighbour cats are stealing our mice at night. The neighbour cats come over in the Dark Time and camp out around our place and eat our mice. Weíre sure of it!!!

But we almost captured a cat in the Light Time when it came into our yard and we saw him and chased him up one of our trees. Carol got a ladder and got him down and then she put him on the other side of the fence. Now that wasnít nice!!!!. We were willing to wait quite a while for that cat to come down.

That Carol Ė sheís not too bright.

Keeper has an argument with Abby 

We saw a big old owl a little while ago. We were on an Epik Journey and we were in a canyon near our home and mostly we scare up grouse and sometimes partridge but we saw a big old owl taking off from right near us and woweee we just stopped and stared he was so big.

I have been here for almost a turn between the Hot Time and the Cold Time and then the Hot Time again. Pretty soon the snow will melt and then there will be lots of mud and then it will be summer with the morning dew, the tall grass all wet and then some rain and Lots More Mud!!! 

I like the Hot Time because I was here last time and it was fun to go into the hills on Epik Journies and such and find deers, coyotes and sometimes mooses. But mostly to run up and down canyons and across the vast plains, sniffing for foreign things and then lay in the shade while Rick chews on a piece of grass.

In the Cold Time the Lake of Despair is frozen over but in the Hot Time we can go out into the muck at the edge and scare the geese away and then we can go home and sleep in the shade of the willow trees. I like the Hot Time especially because we get to go into the pool that Carol and Rick fill with water. Abby sticks her head underwater for rocks and blows water out her nose but I donít like that so Rick just gives me a rock and I like to chew on the rock when I stand in the water. Then I spit the rock out.  But I like the Hot Time a lot.

Abby says that pretty soon the new cows will be born and we can watch them play in the valley and later we can go visit them in the hills. But even though they are only cows in training we will be careful to keep our distance and to make sure no fences are clogging our escape routes because everyone knows that cows are terribly ferocious.

HEY!!!!

I think I might, maybe, kinda, possibly hear something out there. SSSSHHHHHH!!!! Listen!!!! I bet that enemy dog is getting ready to pounce!!! I just know it!!!!

Gosh darn it, I hate it when it gets dark. Everyone sneaks up on us!!!

BARK!!!! BARK!!!! BARK!!!!

Keeper likes riding slowly down gravel roads with the window down so she can smell stuff.