The Supporting Cast of Characters - India
When we moved to Eastside Road from the city, it was obvious that Callebaut, the chocolate lab, wanted and needed a friend. This was made clear by the amount of the back sliding glass door frame he was eating in a 24 hour period. We called him “wood chipper boy”. He was gnawing on EVERYTHING.
We had been in the house for 2 months when we finally decided to go to the animal shelter to see what dogs were available for adoption. We had been told there was a sweet female golden retriever there, but by the time we got there, the dog had been adopted. We went back through the cages and talked to the dogs, then came upon an enclosure in which a medium sized black female would roll on her back when you talked to her…and just smile! They had named her Millie, and while there, it seemed to fit! She was attentive, seemed like a smart dog and one of the keepers/attendants had written a note on her posting: this is the sweetest dog I have ever worked with! Well…that did it.
We signed all of the forms, paid the money to have her spayed, and left, knowing that we would pick her up 3 days later on a Friday. Apparently it would take a few days for her to recover from her surgery. They called on Wednesday, told us to come and pick her up on Thursday. It seems that she had already been spayed. We couldn’t figure out how someone would give up such a sweet dog!
We no sooner had gotten her home and off the leash when that dog was running all around the yard at about 90 mph. Poor Callebaut, about 15 pounds overweight at the time, was trying to keep up as she just sailed around the yard. I started laughing and yelled to Farmer Jeff: this dog is NO Millie. Millie is an old, fat cocker spaniel and this girl is running like she is at the Indy 500!!! Why don’t we name her India ‘cause she is black as India ink, but runs like she is at the Indy races. Well, the name stuck!
What we didn’t know about India…well, there were quite a few things. One, she is an escape artist of the master level. We can put her in the back yard and she is gone in less than 10 minutes. Mind you, we have 5 foot deer fence ALL around the yard, but she figured out something. The first few times it was by crawling under the house. We didn’t know she was out but did notice that the neighbors sheep were making a bit of a fuss. Turns out she was herding them. It wasn’t until the neighbor comes walking down the road with her in his arms did we know she had even gotten out. I just about had a heart attack because there is a fine of up to $2500 per animal bothered. The law/fine is called “worrying livestock”.
Another time she got out and Farmer Jeff couldn’t find her. I ended up leaving work to look for her. We drove up and down the roads, dropping off flyers. I finally spotted her sitting in a car in an open garage, waiting for the driver of the car (not anywhere to be seen). I called her and she hopped out, then rolled on her back. I was so happy to see her that I couldn’t even scold her and she happily jumped in the back of the car for the ride home!
Farmer Jeff, while I was away on a long work trip, finally had to resort to getting an electrified fence that activates a shock in the dog collar. That was 3 years ago and once those batteries die, she takes off. I guess the dogs are always testing the batteries, and once they are dead, they know it.
India is also fiercely protective of us, even against Callebaut! Farmer Jeff and I can be sitting together, inside or out, and India will plant herself at our feet as our guard. Callebaut, being the ever playful fellow, will approach us/India with one of his various toys in his mouth and taunt India. India, because she is guarding us, will NOT play with Callebaut but instead run up to him and nip at his flank! Callebaut is thrilled because India is playing with him, not realizing that she ISN’T playing with him!
Out of all of the animals we have, she is the one that runs the WHOLE show. She is top dog/top animal of the entire household. She is loving, fiercely protective of everything, takes her guarding duties very seriously and expects everyone else to, as well.
We sometimes call her “Watcher of the skies” because she is the only dog I know, so thorough in her guarding the yard duties, that she actually barks at the vapor trails in the sky!!!