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Barks N Bits w/ Bella

Is There Really Such A Thing As "Normal?"

by Bella on 03/01/17

I’d like to let you in on how the past month has went for yours truly. If there is such a thing as a “normal” month (let alone day) I have definitely NOT had one.

It all started with the addition of a new creature here at the ranch. I was out minding my own business, probably catching mice or running off other unwanted varmits when I heard a commotion in the barn lot.

A trailer had arrived and I heard all of the outside dogs carrying on as usual. (And of course the little black bark box had to put in her two cents.) I headed over to find out what all of the fuss was about. You see, a trailer isn’t that much news around here, but this smelled a little different than your usual everyday, run of the mill “horse” trailer. There was something a little different going on and was I ever surprised to find out what was about to be unloaded from this funny smelling trailer.

The fella that was driving the truck made his way to the back of the trailer and before he could open the door, I heard the most awful sound, something I had never heard before....and I’ve been a lot of places in all my dog years! I was actually a little scared to see what was going to emerge from this smelly...and now noisy trailer. At that point I was hoping that whatever it was fond of Jack Russel dogs.

When the man opened the door, there it stood.....a ball of fur about the size of the neighbor dog, Duke. I couldn’t see it’s eyes (to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it had any.) It looked a lot like a miniature version of the big horses that the people around here spend alot of time riding....but there was no way they would be able to ride this scrawny thing! To top it all off it has the longest ears I have ever seen...and they stood up straight - all on their own!!! They didn’t fall over and flop around like Princess Annabelle’s ears always do. So strange!

And then as I was checking out this odd little creature - from a safe distance of course - it let out that strange sound again. This time it sounded like “Yee Haw.” I figured maybe the critter thought it should try to fit in at the ranch and hollar like a cowboy.

As I looked around, all of the people were laughing. I kind of felt sorry for the little guy, who’s eyes were now showing through the fur on his face. The lady of the ranch took the time to brush him a little and I heard her call him a donkey.  Finally - the new critter had been identified....a donkey.....and a miniature one at that!!

This should get interesting.....
To be continued........
Until next month....
“Yee Haw!!!"
Your favorite Jack Russel Terrier...

Another Flashback to 20111 - I REPEAT: “Rain, Rain, GO AWAY!!

by Bella on 01/04/17

Last month in the May issue, I took the time to introduce you to the rest of the doggie-crew here at the ranch because the rain had kept us from having too many adventures....and it seems that hasn’t changed much as I write this month’s article. The introductions may come in handy as you continue reading. I’ve had to do some serious concentrating here at the ranch to get some material and believe it or not, it wasn’t that hard once I started looking around at these other creatures who live here with me.
We’ll start with a funny story about our little Princess....
Here at the ranch we have an arena that is meant for horse riding and training. It is usually nice and soft and worked up for the horses, however this is not a good mix after a downpour of rain. “Miss Priss” found this out as she went for a stroll out around the second barrel the other day after a torrential rain had left water standing everywhere.
Miss Annabelle with the extra wide and extra long body and the super short legs got part of the way into her stroll and realized that she was stuck. Think of Woolly mammoths in a tar pit...... that paints a pretty good picture of the situation Little Miss “Thang” had gotten herself into. She would try to lift a foot and realize each time that her belly was already pressed into the mud too far to
make any kind of attempt at escape. I really hate to admit it, but I have to give the little diva some credit.... She didn’t put too much effort into her escape before she gave out a sharp “YIP.”
You realize Woolly mammoths are extinct, right? I think it was because they never learned how to “YIP” just right. Had they learned the “YIP” and had they trained a person to come at said “YIP,” they may still be around.
You see, Annie has a person who carries her around like a baby. And as soon as Annie made a plea for help....her help came running.... right through the mud. Her person almost got stuck in the mud while rescuing the little mud-covered wiener. They both came out of the incident a mess. Princess Annabelle came out with legs that looked like tree trunks because they were caked with the mud and her hero almost lost a boot more than once during the ordeal - and of course was then covered in mud after carrying the little mudball to safety.
I’m not sure what the moral of this story is or if there is one, except that everyone needs a good laugh now and then.....and I got one that day.
Until next month....
I’ll be working on my “YIP.”

Rain, Rain..... GO AWAY!!!

by Bella on 11/08/16

From what I hear, the weather has been extreme in more places than where I  live, but all I can testify to from first hand experience is that our weather has been - wet, wet wet!!
I cannot remember the last day that we had without rain - as I am typing, the rain is still falling. Our pastures are all sopping wet and there is water standing everywhere around the ranch. The only good thing is that it has been a steady rain so far, no torrential downpours....yet. I’m not sure what the weatherman has in store for us over the next few days....I just heard the word rain alot when the people had him on the TV. Hopefully I don’t float away before next month’s deadline comes around.
As for the other indoor doggie around here (aka “Princess Annabelle of Poo” - I kind of like that new nickname!!), she hasn’t been out much. She doesn’t do well when the ground is sopping wet. You see, her belly almost drags the ground and it just stays wet the whole time she is outdoors. Imagine people fingers after staying in the bathtub for too long and then you can imagine what her belly is like after too long in the wet grass. Yeah, I have to admit, I kind of feel for her...but don’t tell.
Since the Princess has been spending most of her time on the couch and the neighbor dog, Duke, hasn’t crossed the muddy field to visit, I have got to spend a little more time with the outside dogs that live here. (In case you don’t remember, there are three.) I thought I’d introduce
them this month.
The outside gang consists of two sisters - Freckles and Puddles. Their names kind of tell a little about them. Freckles has, well, freckles on her face. She has OCD, if dogs can have that. She loves golf balls and is a golfers dream....she will fetch them all day long! Her sister, who looks just like her was to be named Speckles - (sometimes I don’t understand the people’s sense of humor...) but she had a couple accidents as a pup and the rest is history for Puddles. Puddles has become my mousing partner. We have spent a lot of time mastering the art of tag-team mousing. I won’t go into detail here....but we do it well. The third of
the trio is named Shep. He is the only “boy” dog that lives here on the ranch and he was quite the introvert when he first showed up. He has gradually came out of his shell and likes to think he is a ladies man - although the only competition he gets is an occasional challenge from the portly Duke of next door.
The outside gang really isn’t that bad, I just hate it when they want to play and they are soaking wet, which seems to be constantly these days....
Until next month....
I’ll be trying to stay dry.....

Babies & Poo

by Bella on 08/16/16

Well, Duke is back. He seems to be trying to keep his visits down to once or  twice a week and only for an hour or so at a time. I’m not sure what his new philosophy is, but it works for me. His visits are frequent enough to give me a break from the outside dogs and Annabelle, but not so frequent that I have to watch for “deposits” that are larger than me every time that I walk out the back door.

This time of year is so fun on the Ranch. The babies are coming! We have one here already and there are more on the way. By babies, I mean little horses. They are littler than the big horses, but still much, much bigger than me. And, oh, how those babies love to play! I like to try to get close enough to smell noses. Sometimes that is easier said than done depending on how mama horse feels about Jack Russel dogs, and a couple of the mama horses around here aren’t too crazy about JRs. I have to be extra careful or extra fast to get a nose to nose with a baby.

This is not a game that interests Princess Annabelle. (Takes too much energy!)

I did catch the “Princess” outside on the manure pile today. I thought it was kind of funny to see a “Princess” on top of a giant poopy pile. It gave me a chance to think up some new titles for her. I would elaborate, but instead I’ll let you use your imagination.....besides, there may be kids reading this and we don’t want any name calling, do we?

Our favorite little Princess of Poo (sorry, couldn’t resist) was accompanied by our neighbor, the Grand Duke of Manure Hill. The two of them are quite a pair when seen together. Big ole’ lumbering Duke (the slightly chunky oversized yellow lab) and Annabelle (the prissy little black and tan weiner-dog) were nibbing around in the wet pile of horse droppings and sawdust after a recent rain. If that wasn’t cause for a good bath, I’m not sure what would be.
I watched them for a while, thinking up more names for both of them as I chuckled to myself about the impending bath awaiting Annie. She would surely attempt to enter the house later and get stopped at the door. There would be a detour awaiting her that would take her straight to the bathtub.

Ahhhhh....with a few extra dog years comes wisdom......Manure piles and inside dogs don’t go well together, especially if said inside dog does not like baths. (As I do not.)

So I say, “No bath for me.” I find no fun in playing with that kind of royalty anyway. I’ll stick to playing with the babies and take my chances with the JR hating mama horses.

Until next month....
Stay out of the poo and love those babies....

Neighbors...... and Being Neighborly - Part 2

by Bella on 07/04/16

Big Ole’ Duke, the neighbor dog, hasn’t been down in a while. I think his owners got tired of running down here to get him every other day. I’m not sure if I should say this or not, but I guess it can’t hurt since the other dogs around here can’t read. I wouldn’t want them to think I am getting soft - since I am the senior dog around here. But, I have to admit that I kind of miss the big lug. I know last month I complained of him hanging around all the time and all, but he really wasn’t so bad. He kind of kept the three big dogs busy so I could get in some good mousing time out in the barn.  Although I don’t miss the Duke droppings....they’re probably not as easy to miss now that the snow has melted.

I was right. Annabelle found my Christmas present. It didn’t take her long either. Now my brand new dog bed has been “Annified.” And for those who are wondering what the definition of “Annified” is, it is one word it means “ruined.” That’s right, she got ahold of it and once again - green stuffing now on the outside of the bed, not the inside. Of course, the one person in the house who finds her in the act would be the one who has also been “Annified.” (Once again - the definition is “ruined” - Annie has ruined her.) In a nutshell - Princess Annabelle has her wrapped around her little when she was caught with the green stuffing hanging out of her mouth, all she got was an “Awww, Annie, are you being bad? Or do you just want a bed of your own?” OMG!!! (FYI - I text 2 - lol!) Poor little Annablle chews up bed number two for yours truly and then she gets sympathy because she doesn’t have her own bed to chew on. I give up.

Did I mention that it is finally warming up a bit here? It is great, I can actually stand to go outside and stay for a while. It’s nice to get away from the little bark box for longer than what it takes to “do my business.” She usually ends up out there with me when the people go to the barn. It doesn’t take her long to beckon the “Annified” one and she has this one convinced to carry her back to the  house whenever she yips. Like she couldn’t use the excercise! It is pitiful. She’ll look at me and say “Watch this” and then give out a little yip. Then, here comes the “Annified one” and it’s “Awwww, Annie, are you cold? Do you want me to take you to the house? You poor little’s too muddy out here for you, Princess.....” Then as she picks her up, Annie gives me a “sorry about your  luck” look and she’s swooped off to the house. All I can say is “GOOD RIDDENS!” More alone time for me.

One thorn temporarily removed from my side, now where is that Duke? I could use a distraction for these three big outside dogs so I can get to mousing.
Until next month....
Don’t get “Annified”

A Puppy in a Cowboy Hat
Isn't that just the cutest thing you've ever seen?  Yes, that is me as a cute little ball of puppy fur and puppy kisses.  This picture was taken the week that I met my family.  I had left Georgia and made my way to Ft Smith, Arkansas where my new family picked me up and then brought me to this marvelous place where I live now...Indiana.
Princess Annabelle
This is the reason I write.  I had to start letting off steam somewhere, somehow.  When this precious little bark-box came into my life, everything changed.  I guess you could say she brought out the best in me.  You could say that.  Anyway - if you're trying to catch up on the Who, What, Where and When....she is part of the "Who."  (And not the rock band.)
Books in the Works...
It's finally happening!  I'm going to put together some books to share my adventures.  I thought I's give you a sneak peek of what is to come. Do you remember Seven the donkey?  (Artwork by Vicki Piebenga)

​Our visit to the barn gets the standard laugh from the ranch’s latest animal authority on obnoxiousness, Seven, the donkey.  He would most likely outdo Annabelle, "little black bark box" in my book if I had to bring him in the house too.  He laughs at everything!

Of course, he has the most annoying and loud laugh I have ever heard. Heeeeee Haw Haw Haw Haw....Heeeeeeeee Haw Haw Haw. I mean, come on.....really? Who laughs like that?

Seven has became a topic of laughter from all points of view, but none get as many laughs as the donkey himself. I can assure you that most of the time, I just don’t get it.

Honestly, I think Seven just has a twisted sense of humor. Most of the things he laughs about are “incidents” created by the little pot stirring donkey himself.

Excerpt from Barks N Bits, October 2011
Waiting for that Rabbit
(From the pages of The Horse Resource Magazine)

It's that time of year again.....time for the rabbit.
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