LIFE OUR MOUNTAIN TOWN: Truckee, a dog’s kind of town
My yard abounds with love provided by my family’s dog Chloe, and all of her dog friends who hang out with her throughout the day.
Chloe is confined to our yard by an electric fence, which we believe is a very humane way to keep her safely home, rather than having her out chasing every car or truck that passes our house, which is what she would like to be doing.
She is kept company by Emma and Gypsy, Chloe’s two best friends, who spend a good portion of every day laying in the grass with her, keeping watch on the passing cars and birds and cats and whatever else that interests a dog mind.
When someone goes by walking their dog, all three of them will bark, causing quite a nuisance. Sometimes I have wanted to tell people passing by: “They’re not all my dogs.” But I don’t. Instead I just let these people who walk by our house think that there are a lot of dogs at that house. We happen to own just one dog, with many others who choose to pass the day in our yard, providing our dog with excellent companionship and camaraderie.
There’s Duke, who lives across the street. His owners call him the Thunder Chicken because every time there’s thunder, he takes off running, sometimes remaining at large for hours and causing all who care a lot of worry.
Recently Duke paid me a big compliment by running to me and the shelter of our porch when an extremely loud stealth bomber flew overhead. I wasn’t sure if the loud jet was from the Reno Air Races or the Fallon Naval Air Station, but Duke didn’t care to know its origin, he just needed someone to reassure him that the scary noise wasn’t going to cause his demise. Duke is a regular in our yard, as he comes by every morning for a scruffle on the top of his head (I used to give him a biscuit, but he’s on a diet now).
There’s Joy, who chases our cats, and so Chloe, Gypsy, and Emma usually send her on her way. There’s Sam, who lost an eye, and Bosco, who is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever but he looks like a horse (it’s the way he cocks his head to let one eye stare out at you from the side of his head).
There’s Max, who’s a girl, and Baxter, who wears boots on his paws in the winter. Shayla is our back door neighbor who shares part of the yard with our dog Chloe, so unfortunately for sweet and submissive Shayla, Chloe likes to let her know who’s in charge. There’s also Jake, who thumps his tail loudly when he gets caught sneaking a nap on Chloe’s dog bed on our porch.
There’s Weezer and Lily and Lucy and Luke and Dallas-all who live within earshot of my house, and all who pay a visit now and then. Sometimes I get to know a dog in the neighborhood before I actually meet the owner. Then I will hear myself saying, “Oh, Magic belongs to you!”
Then there are the dogs in our neighborhood that don’t actually venture into our yard for one reason or another such as Daisy and Maddie, two old homebodies who live down the street. They live in separate houses across the street from each other, and they both will come out and greet me when I walk by the end of their driveways. There’s Hoagie, who pretends to be very aloof but he’ll join us on a walk if Chloe and I happen to pass by his house. And there’s Kobe, who lives next door but also has an electric fence and so she is never on our property. But I have a feeling that after the neighborhood dogs cruise through our yard, they head over to visit Kobe next.
There once was a t-shirt for sale in a window of a downtown store that read: “TRUCKEE POPULATION, PEOPLE: 5,000; DOGS: 10,000.” I never did buy the shirt, but I always liked the statement that it made about our town.
Now if you don’t like dogs, you might have thought that t-shirt made a very negative statement, especially considering that at about the same time, a former Truckee restaurant owner was arrested out in Glenshire for poisoning six or eight dogs. This was during the days when Animal Control was located at the other end of the county and dogs ran rampant in packs and were considered by many a problem.
Some might look into my yard and think that our town is still overridden with dogs. And they might be right. But as long as these divine creatures bring me love and a smile to my face with their silly antics, I will continue to welcome them into my yard.
Katie Shaffer has lived in Truckee since 1981.
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