Saturday, June 26, 2021

A Quick Side Trip With Cooper

It has been surprisingly cool the last couple of days ... as in 90 something.  Rarely do I ever take Cooper out for a drive unless it's to the vet.  Lately however, he's been rather attached to my hip, so I thought a nice drive out to the Wildlife Refuge was in order.  Big mistake on my part.

He was so excited to get going, I could hardly put the leash on.  He's all about tracking everything that ever stepped foot in his front yard.  When we headed for the garage, he put on the brakes pretty quickly.

Nevertheless, I stuffed him in the truck and off we drove.  He cowered in the seat before snuggling up with the seatbelt right next to me.  Once out in the country, I pulled him over to my lap so he could look out.  That worked for about 30 seconds until his face turned green.  Hmmmmm maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all.

With irrigation season in full swing, I thought the refuge would be flooded, meaning there would be birds hanging out ... SOMETHING anyway.  Nothing ... there was nothing.  No water, no critters.  We cruised along very slowly so Cooper could stick his head out the window.

We found not a bird singing or even a rat swimming in a mud puddle.  It might have been nice if Cooper could have gotten out and smelled the smells .. marking every single foot of the road, but the foxtails, puncher vines (goat heads) and other nasty stickers were abundant.  This was definitely a bad idea.

Oh ... and the electric fence that skirted the entire road.  Not such a good place for the kid to play.  I had also spotted residue that I knew would make for some yummy smells as Cooper rolled in them.  No dog can resist cow pies.  

At last, we came to the reason for the electric fence ... to keep these guys from wandering off across the hundreds of acres.  Why do cattle group up like this?  Because of the flies.  Millions of heel flies bite and suck blood.  Yeah, they are nasty.  If there is any water or mud around, these guys will stand in it during the afternoons to keep the flies at bay.  In this case, it was just mud.

On the very last leg, I finally spotted a critter.  Jackrabbits used to be very prolific out here.  We had hundreds of them on the ranch.  Sadly, since the Hmong people were re-homed here many years ago, the jacks have mostly disappeared, along with every bull frog, catfish and crawfish.  Someone forgot to tell them there was food to buy at the store instead of eating every wild thing they could find.

I was happy to see this guy sauntering along the trail.  Just as I was taking his picture, a car came along and scared him away, thus you only see a bunny butt.  

That was it ... the only critter we saw all day.  I'm sure Cooper would have barked and chased him had he been able to see over the dashboard of the truck.

Lucky for me, just as we arrived home, I spotted this big boy on my farthest back fence.  I saw more in my back yard than on the game refuge!!  Looking a little rough he is.  

Exhausted after his big adventure, Cooper crashed next to me on the couch for the duration.  I guess we will stick to hiking the front yard for smells.

What he doesn't know is there will be another truck ride on Monday morning.  To the vet to get his teeth cleaned.  I think it's scarier for me than him!!!


  1. Nice to get out for a little ride with Cooper. Sure he enjoyed it since it didn't end up at the vet! It's so dry everywhere! Sad!

    1. Very dry here. Towards the end of the year, they will flood the entire area with water about 12" deep to have a place for birds to land who are flying south for the winter.

  2. We saw a hawk outside my brother-in-law's house, and two on the road today...well, not on the road...we were on the road, they were in the air.

    1. Okay ... I thought you meant you ran over them. Glad they were still flying!! Hawks seem to be out and about this time of year.

  3. Ah, I'm sure Cooper appreciated your efforts to take him on a 'sniff' tour!
    Jack rabbit butt and long ears, better than not seeing him at all. Love love love the picture of Cooper crashed beside you. Looks very familiar. 💖

  4. Jack rabbits have mostly disappeared from Texas. No Hmong.