He’s My Neighbor

Published 10:00 pm Wednesday, June 25, 2014


It’s a package deal. Tot, the hounds and the Jack Russells are my neighbors.  Most folks in this area know all there is to know about Green Creek Hounds’ Huntsman and Master Tot Goodwin and his award winning hounds Banker and Bankrupt. I’m a first-time-country-dweller-from-the-city who knows nothing of hounds, foxes, horses and other critters that creep and crawl around.  Yet, country-living amazes and amuses me.  Sitting on the deck, I watch the hounds romp and get in line to Tot’s commands. The evolving friendship of the Jack Russells, Walter and Skipper with my dogs Pooh Bear and Puck create a five-star-sitcom that is better than any video or show on TV.
In the beginning, Walter would wander down to torture Pooh Bear on the deck in his enclosed area.  He would leave his scent on every corner of the fence, the deck, plants and shrubs. This is a habit that Walter cannot quit in spite of Pooh Bear’s loud barks from behind the fence.
Walter’s buddy, Skipper, is a one-year old long-hair Jack Russell, who loves my new puppy Puck. The moment Skipper saw Puck on a walk he ran as fast as his short legs would run to catch him.  Puck, a two pound Papillion puppy, adores the attention and the rough play from a “big” dog.
Pooh Bear, a Pomeranian who looks like a fox, tolerates all the visits and play times.  He’s an old dog and does what old dogs do: rest and watch the world.
Puck, the trickster puppy, however, is ever alert to Jack Russell sightings.  The other day I overheard these furry friends chatting.
Pooh Bear: Ah, Puck, leave the Jack Russells alone.  Skipper plays too rough and Walter sprays everything and makes it stink.
Puck: You’re an old dog and you don’t understand how much fun it is to run, jump and bite Skipper’s ears.
Walter:  I’m alpha dog and I just want to mark my territory from the barn to Sandy Plains.  I might even find a mate as I wander around.
Skipper: That Puck is more fun to chase than a squirrel.  Tot told me to stay away from that killer road.  I will.  Puck is always on a leash when we play.
Pooh Bear: Yeah, he eats squirrels.
Puck: That’s disgusting.
Skipper: I don’t eat them.  I just shake them around a little bit.
Pooh Bear: You’re a puppy, what do you know about Jack Russells.
Puck: Skipper plays with me.  You don’t play.
Walter: I hear Tot calling us.  Skipper let’s get back to the barn.
The perks of country living exceed my greatest expectations. There’s a Spanish word, la querencia, which translates as place where someone feels at home. It comes from the verb “quere” which means to desire, to want.  Literally, it means the “wanting place.” Barry Lopez in “The Rediscovery of North America” explains that “querencia is a place where one feels secure, a place from which one’s strength of character is drawn.  In Spain, it is the place in the ring where the wounded bull goes to renew his strength and center himself, ready for a fresh charge. What a beautiful concept:  a place in which we know exactly who we are.” [TaprootFarm website]
The idea of a safe place to recharge, get grounded, get ready and get centered for a new day are embedded in my country living experience.  I learn each day how to slow down, listen to the wind, smell the flowers – really weed my mind, and just be…. grateful for good neighbors.

by Paulette Carter

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