35 Days to 35: Even Farm Dogs Get Cold (8 more days)

Day Four of being snowed in the house.

I didn’t even bother to get out of pajamas. The day was spent, as per usual, in front of the computer making book revisions with furry supervisors, candy, and copious amounts of water, hot tea, and Dr. Pepper. (Liquid of champions).

Around 5:30 p.m., I decided I needed a break. The mail hadn’t been collected, so I spent five minutes suiting up in order to fetch it. The end result was that I looked more like Randy in “A Christmas Story” than I care to admit.

I waddled down toward the driveway, wind stinging my eyes and crystalizing the tears that involuntarily welled up. I passed the garage where my car is securely stuck, and walked on down the driveway, drifts reaching up to my knees at some points. Finally making it to the mailbox, I opened it like a pirate finding his treasure chest. Oh! The battle it took to make it here! Oh the riches that undoubtedly awaited!

It was empty.

“Figures.” I thought, and trudged/waddled back up the driveway. The chickens had obviously not been let out today, so I needed to get them food before dark. Back at the house, I opened the front door and let out an exuberant Riley. He began his sprint toward the chicken coop.

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Only, today, he got stuck.

The snow was legitimately more than he could jump over. I did not feel that bode well for me and my analogy from yesterday. He made it to the shelter of the chicken coop and waited for me while I fed them.

When I left, he just stood there, shivering. I told him, “You have to make it! I told everyone on the Internet that you were Farm Dog!”

He looked at me, probably thinking, “Just pick me up and I WILL make it. Even Farm Dogs get COLD.”

So I did.

I carried him back until the snow levels got lower. I set him down when he could make it and he sprinted happily toward the house, waiting for me at the door.

If I wanted to get analogous, I’d say that sometimes we need to let our Owner carry us over the rough patches until we reach the safety of home.

Or I could just straight up say, “Stay inside! It’s cold!!”

Both are true. 🙂

P.S. Riley has the perfect outline of Abe Lincoln on his right side. I think it shows up quite nicely in the featured image.


Right at 35 days before my 35th birthday, Rachael and I found out that a book we wrote about our experience making our first film “No Lost Cause,” was being returned to us by the publisher after a year of waiting for it to be printed. Instead of wallowing in our collective misery, I committed to blogging every day while I searched for ways to overcome this perceived rejection and obstacle to our goal. I currently also have about three other projects brewing at the same time, and write about the progress of each of them. This is part of that series.

Read the first entry here: https://ashleyraymerbrown.com/2015/01/23/35-days-to-35-dealing-with-rejection/

35 Days to 35: Farm Dog (9 more days)

My dog Riley is not a six pound Pom-Chi. Oh, he may look that way on the surface, but in his heart, he is a German Shepherd, or a Collie, or even possibly a Mastiff. Whatever the breed, he desperately believes himself to be a Farm Dog.

As any good Farm Dog would, he LOVES the snow. If the temperature is any kind of bearable, he wants to be outside. Sniffing, shuffling, checking on the chickens, surveying his land.

In truth, his actual favorite thing to do is for me to go outside with him. When I do, he likes to get as far away in the field as possible and then wait for me to call him. I know this. I know what my role is and I fulfull it for him. He is the star of his own action movie, and I’m the director. When he’s far enough away, I whistle and call him back.

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“ACTION!”
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Simon Sees a Murder

The Theory:

My cat was the only witness to a murder in a bathroom. Henceforth, he feels it is his loving animal duty to prevent that same kind of murder from happening to me. I don’t mean to be macabre, but that is really the only explanation that makes sense.

His background:

Simon is one of my beautiful adult black cats adopted from the Humane Society last year. He had been left on their front porch in a carrier with a note that read: “Friendly neighborhood cat. Keep carrier.”

Simon is many things, and he is friendly, to a degree, but there is no way he was just some ‘friendly’ neighborhood cat. He’s very skittish, and frightens at the least little noise. I don’t think this is the kind of cat that would just wander up to strangers. Actually, this is the kind of cat that hides until he’s certain it’s me that’s calling for him.

Our relationship:
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A cat named Cat Ballou

This was written shortly after I found Cat. It had been years since I had a feline as a pet. Happily living with two dogs, I didn’t know what I was missing until that day in December. Cat stayed with me for several months, and was the best mouser I ever had the privilege to know.

She took walks with me, slept with me, and just generally improved my life. After I moved, she ran away after some fireworks and a run in with another family member’s dog. She had started living in the wild, and she went back to the wild. One of her ears was grown together at the tip and was her only identifying mark. I searched for weeks, months, and then a year. I still miss her.

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For those of you who don’t yet know the story, “Cat Ballou” is one of my very favorite movies. It is one that I watched over and over again as a kid, and actually never gets old. It’s a comedy western and stars Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Dwayne Hickman and Michael Callan. Lee Marvin won the best supporting Oscar that year as the drunken “Kid Shaleen.” He famously said that half of his Oscar belonged to “a horse somewhere in the valley.” Watch the movie. You’ll see what he means.

Anyway, on December 12th, I was coming home from running some errands when I saw a cat dart across the road. Since I live on a road that is a popular “drop off zone” (a place where cats and dogs are dumped by owners who know the schmucks on this street will more than likely take them in) I stopped the car. I got out and did the ‘test.’
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