Friday, July 7, 2017

Non-human animals are not human

Nona the Wonder Dog woke me up at 3 a.m. by jumping into bed with me.

This was decidedly odd for two reasons.

Firstly, she's an outside dog and doesn't usually like to be in the house. Usually.

Secondly, the front door was closed and locked, and the back door, which was open to admit the cool evening breeze, should have been inaccessible to her. The yard is fenced with six-foot chain link and the back door is outside of the fence.

But there she was, so odd or not, reality wasn't matching up to expectation.

Each of the reasons listed above came from the reason factory complete with caveats.

Firstly, Nona does seem to like to come in the house when she's frightened of something. In my experience, she's frightened of two things only, thunderstorms and fireworks. When lightning and thunder flash and crack -- and of late when the clouds are merely dark and the thunder is a distant grumble -- she wants to come in. Once inside, however, her anxiety doesn't seem to abate. I get the sense that she expects "inside" to be without bright flashes and loud bangs, but of course it's not. When "inside" turns out to be just as flashy and bangy, she turns to me as if expecting me to make it stop. If I'm standing or moving around she cowers against my legs, if I sit she tries to scramble into my lap. If I attempt to console her her anxiety just continues to grow with each flash and bang. If I gruffly make her "lay down" and "stay," and then sit down and read or otherwise relax, she slowly settles down and sometimes even goes to sleep. Her reaction to fireworks is essentially the same.

Secondly, Nona is a fit, vigorous, and highly athletic dog. A six-foot fence only keeps her in the yard when she lets it keep her in the yard.

She must have gone right over the fence and nosed her way in through the back screen door.

There was another puzzle last night. Well, early this morning.

The night was crystal clear with nary a hint of cloud. In fact, NOAA radar showed no reflectivity within 150 miles. So no lightning or thunder. And no fireworks, either. They've been banished from town until June 24, 2018.

So what the heck was she afraid of? For afraid she surely was, panting and shivering and shaking -- if you'll pardon the expression -- like a dog shittin' peach pits. Whining and cowering and seemingly beside herself with terror.

As long as I was checking the weather radar on my phone (man, is that cool or what?) I decided to check something else. Yesterday when the topic of the overnight Montana earthquake came up in comments to my blog post, Brig noted that animals will tell you when a quake is coming. So I checked my phone for news of an earthquake.

And there was one!

Located 6,969 miles to the southwest at Guadalcanal, in the Solomon Islands.

So that probably wasn't it.


Maybe Nona had a nightmare? Hell, I don't know.

Once she settled down she was happy to return to her doghouse outside. I closed the back door, just in case. I needn't have bothered. It wasn't like I was going to be able to go back to sleep, and by that time it was only 45 minutes to rise-'n-shine.


Anyway, something caused Nona to experience a very high level of anxiety last night. I don't know what it was, and it's useless to guess. She can't tell me what it was, and even if she could, I wouldn't understand, since I am not a dog...

And Nona, like all other non-human animals, is not human.

In other news...

Hot. Fence. Cattle. Pre-bread.


  1. That looks like a 50 year fence you are putting in.

    1. It's my legacy fence. I want the people who follow me to curse my name when they have to rebuild it. :)

  2. Being a non-farmer kinda guy, what was going on in that last video? Cutting it then blowing it all out the back, making hay? (While the sun shines of course.)

    Nona is a fine looking dog.

    1. The big green machine is a combine harvesting winter wheat. It cuts the stalks, then threshes and separates the grain internally. The grain goes into a big tank behind the driver and the non-grain parts of the plant are blown out the back where they will decompose back into the soil, returning some of the nutrients to where they came from for the next crop.

      Nona says, "Ranks, Rarge!"

    2. Big tank, didn't think of that. I'm used to seeing combines blowing stuff into trucks. I need to pay attention more...

  3. I swear that blogger ( or who/whatever ) hates me. I posted a comment, saw it post, it was there, I saw it, and now it's not here. Oh well, it really wasn't anything of importance, just some good wishes for Nona.

    Keep up the good work, both on your land and on your blog.

    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Well, blogger is part of google/cnn...

      Thanks for persevering. :)

  4. Scary thought...
    I understood the pre-bread teference.

    1. About 200,000 loaves of bread in that one field. Kind of fun to think about.

  5. Could she have just avoided something Hungary, outside? Something large and feline? We have cougars in Wisconsin, again, so why not Nebraska.
    That Deere has a six digit price tag, guys. Farming is expensive!

    1. Certainly a possibility. The Wildcat Hills are only 30 miles north, and they're called that for a reason. Cats do occasionally go walkabout but it's pretty rare.

      Farming is more expensive than most people know, but that's largely a consequence of America's ag policy decisions post WWII. Cheap food isn't as cheap as people think.

  6. Fence is looking good. Ever thought about bump gates?

    Modern combines are a lot nicer than in the ol days, what with A/C, GPS, and tunes, but it's still hard work. Just plug one up and have to crawl up in it...

    1. We tried bump gates, but some of us couldn't get the hang of bumping at less than 50 mph. :)

      I've got plenty of memories of the insides of plugged combines. THAT should be a ride at dizzyland...