Every farm needs a good farm dog, and as long as I’ve known my husband’s family, they’ve had more than a few farm dogs, but none were as good as Rudy. I’m not sure if Rudy was a good working dog, but she was pretty smart and super cute, so the rest doesn’t matter. When I was first introduced to Rudy, she was an old dog, but she’d hung on for a long time, but sadly, she passed away recently, so today’s blog is all about Rudy.
My husband picked up Rudy on a delivery route when his family still ran a dairy and delivered raw milk around the area. A lady on the route had a box of blue heeler mix puppies. My husband’s first thought was that blue heelers make good cow dogs and asked if she was giving them away.
He took one.
Did she make a good cow dog?
He never even heard her bark until she was three, but she was a good companion, loved to ride in the truck, and liked to be petted.
When he had Rudy spayed, she was the calmest dog at the vets. When they pulled up to the office, she jumped out of the truck and just followed him, no leash required, while all the other animals were caged or leashed and fighting against it. Rudy walked out the same way, just a little slower.
After he had Rudy for two or three years, she was involved in an accident. My husband was out mowing pasture. Rudy was in the field chasing rabbits when she jumped out in front of the mower. My husband couldn’t stop in time, and he knew he’d hit her, but she slipped into the woods quickly. He looked all over for her, came back later with help, and even looked the next day, but no one could find her. They assumed that she crawled away and died somewhere, but after a few days, she showed up, lying next to a hay bale. She had a gash on each leg, just above the paws. One more inch and her paws might have been cut off. Her legs were already healing, so they took her home and let her rest.
The injury didn’t slow her down. She healed and didn’t show much sign of a problem, except when it was cold or rainy out. Then Rudy would scratch on the door and limp like she was hurt. As soon as you took pity on her and let her in, she’d go back to walking just like normal, curl up on the floor, and take a nap. She learned how to get what she wanted from that injury and knew how to work your emotions. Even after my husband moved out and lived down the road, if no one let her in at his parent’s house, she’d come to our house and scratch on the door, hold up a paw, and we’d let her in.
Rudy also could work her magic to get a ride somewhere. She loved being your passenger. It was entertaining to watch her sit upright in the passenger seat. If you hit the brakes, she raise a paw and steady herself on the dashboard. Sometimes she’d look over at you with a look like she was pitying you for being a bad driver. She’d sneak into any vehicle if she thought she’d get to go somewhere, but it did get her in trouble. The family had almost given her up for lost after they searched a week when she went missing. Someone just happened to open the door of an old car that no one drove anymore and out popped a very hungry and dehydrated Rudy. After that they were extra careful to check the vehicles for a napping Rudy before shutting its doors.
When Rudy was already pretty old, she accidentally ate some poison, or we guessed that’s what was wrong with her. My mother-in-law called the local vet’s office that evening, but they were already out on a call, so we ended up calling a vet in a neighboring county. I drove my Mustang, my husband and mother-in-law holding on to dear life, but I was speeding because I knew how much everyone loved this dog, and I just can’t help but speed in any case, especially in panicked situations. Rudy laid in the back with a towel wrapped around her.
At the vet’s office, things didn’t start off great. The vet asked us what she ate, but we weren’t sure because none of us actually saw what it was, we just knew that she wasn’t herself. Let me make this clear: IT WAS NOT OUR LOCAL VETS! They would have never been so mean. The vet seemed angry with us because we didn’t know and seemed extra rough with Rudy. It felt like a punishment because we didn’t know what it was. The vet gave Rudy activated charcoal, which helped her vomit up anything that could have been poisonous in her stomach, then roughly pulled her off the table and said she’d stay the night. As he complained about not knowing what she ate, he suggested that she probably wouldn’t live because it may not be poison at all.
We huddled together in the waiting room. None of us wanted to leave her there. We were all emotional, but he was seriously being mean, and if Rudy was going to die, we didn’t want her to be alone. Against his advice, we took Rudy with us. Thankfully, she made a full recovery and gave us all a few more years to enjoy her.
In her older years, she was the dog in charge. She didn’t bark much, but she’d growl at the younger, hyper dogs, and they’d leave her alone and chill out in her presence. Basically, she’d lay the smack down. She’d demand to be petted anytime someone was near and laid around most of the time.
After moving, we tried to lure Rudy over with treats and petting, but she always went back home to my in-law’s house. She was their pet and liked her home, but she wasn’t afraid to snag an extra meal here and there. When my boys are older, I hope they get a dog like Rudy. Even if she didn’t turn out to be a good cow dog, she was one of the best pets you could ask for.