They’ll Let You Back In

Maizey is our wild child. She holds a high opinion of herself and of her role in the workings of the farm. Sometimes she is right. Mostly, she is either intensely underfoot or completely out of reach and over-zealously dive bombing into an apparent near-death experience. We love her and there is no doubt in our hearts that she belongs with us, but all my gray hairs I owe to her. I would call Maizey a training failure on my part. I tried, Lord knows I tried, but Maizey is smarter than me. One horrible thing she does is herd the horses and she does it with startling ferocity, charging them and barking sharply right under their noses and at their feet. I tried a training collar on her, an expensive one that beeps and vibrates. One well-timed correction on that first day and she trotted away like horses were of absolutely zero interest to her and she remained that way for all the days that I put the collar on her, even though I never again touched the controls. And then I didn’t put it on, because you know, problem solved, and Maizey sprang into frenzied action, making her return known to the herd before I was even out the door.

I tell you this story exactly as I put it together then. It shows you Maizey. It also shows you me; how I felt that it was my job to keep Maizey from being Maizey. Only now it occurs to me that Maizey has been with us for over five years and never, not once, has she gotten hurt or hurt another animal — though it surely seemed like it should have happened. Also, we have never lost Maizey and I do not think we ever will. She is always on the job. Sure, she may be out in the pasture chasing squirrels or dog paddling through the pond, but she returns with as much exuberance as when she left. She knows we will always open the gate to let her back in. It’s true. I would never leave her out there and also, I count on her to bring herself back. She can be trusted. Completely. So, now, as a kindness to Maizey, I am methodically going through my stories of her, retelling them to show what a clever girl she is and how much she cares about all of us and, yes, how very important she is to the workings of this farm.

Day 23

Writing about what sings to me from a life made full with animals.

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