I’m jealous of one of my dogs. I suppose it’s bad enough that I’m jealous of any dog, but the particular mutt of which I’m jealous is probably my thickest-headed dog. Really, that’s just a nice way of saying that he’s a stupid dog. You see, he got hit by a pickup a few weeks ago when he was doing something stupid in the road. I hate to be harsh, but when my brother-in-law (the driver of the offending vehicle) informed me of the incident, my reaction was one of resignation because the dog survived the mishap. Of course, I didn’t want my dog to be hurt, but I wasn’t looking forward to caring for a crippled dog, or worse, and Deets (the dog) hadn’t really done much in his life to warrant a hefty vet bill. I privately told my sister that I wished her husband would have at least had the decency to kill the dog rather than just crippling him. Yes, by golly, life’s rough out here south of the Snake River.

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But as it turned out, Deets easily survived the accident, and though he packed a hind leg for two or three weeks, it wasn’t long before he was pretty much carrying on as though nothing had really happened. I’ve been nursing a sprained ankle, the result of an argument with a malevolent cow, for nearly three months. In less than a month, the spry but slow-witted dog heals up from a semi-violent hit and run, for which he was mostly to blame. How does that work? It hardly seems fair. Hence my jealousy. But that’s not really my purpose for relaying this story.

Dim-witted Deets got nailed by a northbound truck while his attention was on a southbound side-by-side loaded with the neighbor’s dogs. My mutt’s wreck was not totally unlike the time I nailed an unsuspecting border collie in Owyhee County with a trailer loaded with horses because the goofy dog was hell-bent on attacking the rear tire on my truck. He was oblivious to the greater danger of the trailer bearing down on him, well within his sight but somehow completely out of his awareness.

I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on my feebleminded dog. I, myself, am sometimes subject to fits of inattentiveness. Not long ago, I was on my way home from Twin Falls late one night. The purpose of my trip, while mostly irrelevant to my story, was some volunteer church work for which I had reluctantly volunteered. Which is to say, I didn’t really do it with a cheerful, willing heart – I kind of got roped into it. So any goodwill I may have earned from my service was probably considerably diminished by my poor attitude.

Anyway, I was an hour into my 70-minute return trip, a mere 5 miles from home. I was on Basin Road, and I knew there’d be no traffic at 11:30 p.m. I was gawking off to the south, where I could see the lights of a vehicle out in a field where I knew some poor sap was checking heifers. As I was lost in slightly anxious speculation about my own impending midnight calving adventures a few weeks hence, a wild-eyed deer came bounding out of the sagebrush and into my path. As I spotted the doe in the corner of my eye, I immediately slowed down and swerved to the left. The hapless muley apparently had no brakes, as she glanced off the front passenger side quarter panel of my little silver Nissan. She continued her charge across the landscape and bounded off into the brush on the other side of the road. My wife, now profanely alert and wide awake, completely shaken out of her temporary slumber, shot up as though she’d just been run over by, well, a deer. I stopped in the middle of the road and walked around the car to survey the damage. There was no radiator or condenser damage, and the car was still drivable, but it looked pretty rough. I wondered out loud to my wife if we had anything more than liability insurance on the little car because it wasn’t really much of a car when we got it. Still, I didn’t want to have to go through the expense and hassle to replace it. It’s a good little run-to-town car that goes a long way on not much fuel.


The whole dog, deer and pony show of the recent past has lent some insight and perhaps given a little validation to some of my long-held beliefs and what I’ve always perceived as nuggets of fatherly wisdom that I’ve tried to force into my kids’ instinctual behavior over the years. The first deer you see in the road; the loudest bang; the brightest, most obnoxious flash or most obvious monster is rarely the one that gets you. It’s the second or third deer or the trailer behind the truck or the subtle, quiet seductions – the ones you can’t clearly see at first – that are more likely to bring you down. And that’s why you invest in insurance, in whatever form that may be.