Once we had these two big, bulked up dogs like they was bull-dog Quarter Horses, only dogs instead of horses, and fully trained and gave permission by their own people to attack humans and horses, which their people called “intruders,” here on the County Island. They was black as night on top, and rusty-colored on the bottom, with no tails to give a friendly wag at all, that’s how mean they was. Dogs don’t generally bother me none, but these was a different breed.
They lived along a real narrow dirt way, where a horse had to walk right past their ranch’s chain fence to get wherever a horse was goin on his ride. We stopped takin their trail after this happened. We was moseyin past real quiet and slow and polite-like, just the bucket gal in the saddle, and me. We weren’t no big herd of horses causin no commotion nor harm. We had no plans to intrude on their ranch at all. And there was no dogs in sight. I could feel the bucket gal relax some in the saddle, on account of I doubt she was any more fond of the dogs than I was.
They ran at us while makin no sound at all, until they was damned near ON us, except for the chain fence between us, with an explosion of sound, mostly barkin deeper and more menacin than any dog sounds I ever heard. They said they meant to eat us whole, and I believed ‘em.
The main problem was, there wasn’t much space to give ‘em space, which I’d a been more than obliged to do. They was all up in my face, snarlin and growlin, and grabbin the chain fence with their long, snarlin teeth, and rattlin the whole entire chain fence line at us. I had no doubt they could take down the fence if they wanted to bad enough, and right after that, they’d surely work as a team to take down me.
It made no difference when I pinned my ears and swung my head at ‘em, which is my general language meanin “back off, dog.” It only mad ‘em madder.
It made no difference when I jigged to the far side of the narrow way, practically draggin the bucket gal’s knee —and my own hide, I might add — into the cactus to avoid ‘em. Plus then we was draggin ourselves through the cactus. It all made me jumpier than a County Island Russell dog, ya know, the li’l tan and whites ones that jumps and stirs up lots of trouble in the barn? The kind a horse can dream about drop-kickin for their antics when there ain’t nobody lookin? We made it out alive past the bulky black and rusty bull-built dogs, but likely barely.
Anyhow, ridin past those dogs sucked. And we never did it again, after that. Until the other day.
So much time’s passed I can’t even count the number of feed buckets or hay flakes I ate since the time we barely escaped those dogs with our bodies intact. I also can’t imagine what possessed the bucket gal to give it another shot. Sometimes I don’t think people ever learn from bad things, unlike us horses. When a place or a thing is bad, to us horses, it’s bad forever, as is proper and sensible. Only some horses got a whole long list of silly things they think is bad, mostly County Island horses. Also mostly Ayrabs.
Down the narrow dirt trail we walked, approachin the long chain fence that marked the ranch of the trained attackin dogs. Only, there was no dogs. Didn’t they hear my soft hoof beats upon the sand? Didn’t they smell me comin with their high intruder alert dog senses?
All of a sudden, I heard a heavy pantin sound, comin closer. I tried not tense up. I could thusly feel the bucket gal tryin not to, too. And then she laughed out loud, and I saw why.
Comin through the cactus in their yard slower than lumberin big desert tortoises was two real fat, out-a-shape, gray-faced black and rusty-colored dogs with no tails. Between their labored breaths and pants, they each gave a mere woof. One stood there softly woofin out a real weak warnin at us, while the other loped real slow, with big, heavin breaths, along the chain fence line to follow up the entire length of their ranch, while sayin the entire way, as I walked as slow as I usually do, what sounded to my own horse-ears like, “Woof … oh, wait a minute there … Woof! … slow down, will ya, I’m comin to get ya … Woof!” It ain’t nice to laugh at no animal, even old dogs. I didn’t see no signs of them snarlin with their teeth, which made me think maybe they had no teeth left to snarl with. Or shake the fence with. Not that I am one to judge any critter that’s missin teeth.
The bucket gal told ‘em they was still real fierce and very scary, good guard dogs, which did not seem real genuine to me. But I guess we got that dirt road trail back at our disposal now.