Dad keeps about 75 yearling and bred heifers in an 80-acre pasture just across the section line from the dairy. Here awhile back, he’d started having trouble with some wild dogs bothering them, so he’d been keeping a watch ful eye and a loaded gun.

Driving up to the dairy before daylight one morning, everything was looking normal; the lights were on, and John, the morning milker, had parked his pickup below the barn. Suddenly, something caught Dad’s eye. A strange dog darted out and stopped a few feet from the back of John’s truck (about 30 yards from where Dad had braked). As luck would have it (and as is seldom the case), he had his .22 ready in the front seat. Dad made out the dog in the sights and took careful aim. The dog looked at him but stood still. Dad took a shot, and the dog went down.

Proud of his marksmanship, Dad pulled up closer to the dog, got out, and went over to inspect. Upon reaching the dog, he knelt down and found it had a collar … and a rope … which was tied to John’s bumper!

At this point, Dad did a double-take on the dog to see if there was any life left in him. Sure enough, the dog was stone dead. To make matters worse, it looked to be part German Shepherd, and Dad knew that John had a family dog that was a Shepherd mix.

Now, John’s a retired schoolteacher and has been a very dependable morning milker for Dad for several years, and Dad sure didn’t want to lose him. But my dad, never one to make up stories, quickly started to the parlor to face the music. (I probably would have spun a yarn about some hoodlums and hearing a gunshot.)


Dad stepped down into the pit. Short and to the point, he looked at John and said, “John, I think a bad thing has happened. I shot your dog.” John, also a man of few words, wanted to clarify but remained calm, “You mean the dog tied to my truck?”

Dad nodded.

John replied, “I don’t know where that dog came from. He’d been chasing cows in the alley all morning, so I found an old collar and tied him up.”

Relief washed over Dad. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll take care of it.”

And just like that – problem solved, case closed. Dad still says it was one of the best (and worst) shots he’s made in quite awhile. Apparently word got around the local dog community, as well, because things with the heifers across the road have been fairly quiet lately.

I suppose there are several morals to this Baxter Black-wannabe story. The one I walked away with was: ‘Don’t go messin’ around our dairy before daylight, ‘cause my dad’s an early riser and apparently has poor eyesight; but he’s quick on the trigger and sometimes gets off a lucky shot. Oh yeah, and don’t bring your dog to work there, either.’

As always, God does the rest. PD

Regional Manager Brandon Covey for Progressive Dairyman