…a funny thing happened on the way to get coffee.
I’m a night nurse for one very good reason. I don’t do mornings. If I’m awake and functioning in the dark hours of the morning, I promise I’m still up from the night before. So, imagine the nonverbal somnambulistic condition I’m in when I carpool to work with Liam. He leaves the house at 04:00. That is 04:00……in the morning! The “it’s dark, so why am I awake at this ungodly hour” morning. However, we do occasionally carpool when I have early meetings.
One such morning, shortly after we moved to the farm, I stumbled to the truck with bleary eyes at half-mast. There had been no coffee and no morning tea. (Even when mornings start at an acceptable time, I require caffeine to fully open my eyes.) As we started down our long driveway, Liam suddenly came to a stop. I groggily stared out to see what had impeded my progress toward coffee. What greeted my eyes forced me to blink repeatedly and focus.
There was literally a ton of bull standing in the drive. He stared at us interestedly, but benignly. As we edged forward, he gradually sauntered off to the side allowing us to pass. Liam and I had to get to work and had no time for an early morning rodeo. However, since the kids were home alone with two very large dogs, (who would need to be let out), I phoned the local sheriff’s office.
I explained, that we didn’t want to complain. Any livestock will eventually escape any fencing. That’s a fact of farm life. Our problem was since we were new to the area, we had no idea where the bull belonged. I explained to the sheriff’s department that our neighbor had cows. Unfortunately, we hadn’t met the neighbors. I asked if they could contact the neighbor to see if the bull was his. We also called the kids and instructed them to stay inside and keep the dogs in. (We have giant breed dogs, and they aren’t a big hit with bovines of any size.)
Several hours later, Jonah called to say the bull had wandered into the back yard. I had mental images of 2000 lbs of steak and hamburger dog-paddling in our pool, but Jonah assured me the bull’s attention was directed elsewhere. Apparently, he was fascinated by the French doors. The bull kept staring through the doors at the kids…and the dogs.
The giant animal seemed docile enough, but growing up with cattle we were always taught never to trust a bull. They’re big enough and unpredictable enough to injure or kill even when they aren’t trying. Our dogs didn’t appreciate the huge wooly face staring in. Thinking the kids were in danger they began to growl. The bull didn’t appreciate the growling and began to shake his head.
My son took quick action, which I would love to have on video! Our dogs hate the stairs. They won’t set foot on them. So, Jonah picked up the dogs one at a time and carried them up the entire flight. The mental image of my son hoisting 150 lbs of squirming dog up the stairs still makes me smile. After delivering the first one safely to the landing, he must have heaved a hearty self-pitying sigh thinking of the second, fatter, dog. I’ll admit when I picture this scene I tend to give a slightly sadistic chuckle.
When we received Jonah’s call, Liam and I were stuck 80 miles from home. So, I called the sheriff’s office again. I explained the situation and asked if they could either contact the owners of the likely pasture or send someone to help get the bull away from the house and the pool. A nice lady asked me to hold for a moment. After a pause and a rustling of papers, she came back to the phone. Then, she said something which let me know we really had moved to the country.
“Well, ma’am, I’ve checked my Loose Livestock List. I don’t show any cattle loose on your road, only a horse.”
I sat in silence for a moment, then burst out laughing. The cops keep a “Loose Livestock List”, and that morning, our country road made it not once, but twice?!? Well, that sure beats stray dogs and feral cats roaming at large! In the end, they sent a sheriff’s deputy to the house. He was, as we say in Texas, a “good ol’ boy”. He and Jonah were able to find the gap in the fence and safely herd our large hairy friend back to greener pastures.
We’ve had many laughs about the Loose Livestock List. However, the take-home points from this tale are:
- If you find a bull in your front yard, you might not be in the city anymore.
- If the bull is staring in your backdoor, please carry Toto upstairs.
- If you carry Toto upstairs, please take a picture along the way. After all, laughter is the best medicine, and that’s no bull!
Have you had unannounced animal visitors? Have you had bovine peeping Toms? We would love to hear your funny farm stories! Please, leave a comment below.