Tess the Mess and the Armored Bandit
Hi! Remember me, Tessy, the ADHD, claustrophobic,
kleptomaniac dog? I just had to drop by and tell you about my wonderful new adventure! You see, Mom had to go to Oklahoma City for the weekend and she and Dad decided I was well enough to spend a few days at the farm. (I had gotten sick from a nasty tick bite and had been grounded to the backyard in town until I got well.)
Mom told Dad that I was bored, and she thought that some time at the farm would be good for me. I don't know how she knew that I was bored. She must be a dog whisperer or something like that. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I had slipped my collar twice in one day and had myself a small jaunt around town. It is a very small town, so you really couldn't call it a run, and it was kinda hot and since there was no pond in town, I had to come back home to get a drink of water. Mom was not happy about my jaunt. I got a new much smaller collar for my efforts and a very stern scolding, but that was okay because now I got to spend two fabulous days with my buddies at the farm.
I love the farm. It is where my furry family lives. There are all kinds of critters to chase, a cool pond to swim in, and freedom to run as much as I want! I was so excited that I jumped out of the pickup bed as soon as Dad stopped the truck. Big Black Mama, Shadow and Chubby Coco Puff, were sooooo happy to see me! They bounced and wagged their tails, and then we went for a nice long run! Coco stopped at the pond for a swim while Shadow and I dashed across the pasture and bounded through the trees. It was so much fun! We finished our run by joining Coco for a dip in the pond. Sopping wet and exhausted, we slowly walked back to the farmhouse.
When we got back Dad was still there. I thought that he would have gone back to town by now, but he was busy doing something in one of the pens. We all went to check it out and, of course, to get a little attention from Daddy. He patted each of us on the head and then went out the pen gate. Shadow and Coco followed him, but just as I got to the gate, he shut it! He locked me in! What was this all about? I always got to run free on the farm. I whined, and whined, and whined.
“You have to stay in the pen unless I’m here,” said Dad. “We don’t want you to overdo and get sick again. I’ll be back tomorrow to let you out for a run while I mow.”
I hung my head and pouted. Not that it was a bad pen. It was very large with a huge elm tree for shade, a nice doghouse to sleep in, and a swimming pool all my own, but it was still a pen! It even had electricity! Yes, a nice new shiny hot wire all the way around to keep dangerous critters out. I am sure it was not meant to keep me in. That would just be ridiculous. I was kinda tired from my run, so I ate my food and then settled down for a nice long nap.
As the cool air ruffled my fur, I awoke to the wonderful sounds and smells of night. When I sniffed the breeze, I caught a whiff of something that should not have been there. I snuck
closer to the fence and honed my fine sense of smell; yes, it was definitely something that shouldn’t have been there. It was one of those pesky, stupid, sneaky armadillos. I absolutely HATE armadillos. They do not play fair, wearing all that armor, and they always try to steal our food! I had to get out of my pen and drive this armored fiend away. I smelled the wire. It was definitely hot. I stretched my long legs over the silver thread and grabbed the fence with my front paws. One good leap and I was out! Now I needed to get reinforcements and get rid of that pesky thief. I saw Shadow slowly moving around the barn.
“Shhh.” She said. “I think it is in here. If it knows we are here, it will run away and then just come back when we go to sleep.”
“Do you want me to get Coco?” I asked. “The three of us could surround it, and it wouldn’t stand a chance.”
“I’m already here.” Coco’s voice came as a whisper against my ear. I jumped, just a little. It always amazed me how quiet this chubby dog could be.
We slowly began our search by smelling for our prey. All of us were ready to pounce on the obnoxious armadillo the minute it tried to escape. Wait, what was that? We all stopped and listened. There it was again, a slight shuffling sound coming from the back of the barn. That was where Dad kept all the old tires. I snarled. The culprit was hiding in there. We all surrounded the tires and began barking loudly, pouncing and growling at the tires to let him know that there was no place to run. Our strategy worked.
He dug himself a nice hole behind the tires and burrowed in for the night. There was nothing else we could do now but wait until Dad came back the next day, so we all bedded down in a circle around our victim.
The warm sunlight on my face woke me to the new day. It was very early. Shadow was still awake. She had watched that pesky varmint all night long.
“Shadow,” I said, "why don’t you go get some rest, and Coco and I will take it from here. The two of us should be able to keep him cornered.”
Shadow shook her head. “No, honey child, I’ll not leave you two babes to tackle this armored monster. It’ll take all three of us to hold him here when he wakes up which should be any minute now. I heard a noise from those tires just before you woke up. He is starting to stir and could make a break for it at any time.”
I went over to Coco and nudged her with my nose. Nothing. I nudged her again. Nothing. I took my paw and bopped her on the head.
“Hey, that hurt.” she said opening one eye. “What do you want? It’s too early to get up.”
“We need your help. The armadillo is waking up, and he might try to make run for it. So wake up!”
Coco slowly got to her feet. “I really need to soak my hip in the pond,” she said. “I’ll be back in just a little while. You two can handle that little thing.”
“Coco! Shadow has been up all night, and I am still not at my best! We need your help.”
“Well, okay,” said Coco, pouting, “but without a soak I won’t be able to move very fast.”
“We don’t need fast, sugar babe,” said Shadow. “We just need you to be very, very loud. You can do that can’t you?”
“Yes," said Coco, “I can be loud. I can bark and I can howl and I can growl.”
“That will be just dandy, doll. You sit right there and whenever that critter moves you do just that. Tess and I will do all of the pouncing and digging. Okay?”
“Okay,” said Coca, finally showing a little enthusiasm for our quest.
Shadow and I crept in closer to the tires, ears up, listening for any little shuffle or sound. Nothing. We sniffed. We both agreed that the scent was still there, but it was too dusty in the barn to tell if it was fresh.
“Do you want me to go in and see if he is still there?” I asked.
Shadow cocked her head. “Maybe you should. There’s no sense wasting our time out here if he slipped away.”
Stealth mode, nose down, ears up, yes both of them, eyes forward, I started into the pile of tires. I sniffed. The smell was there, but was it fresh? As my eyes adjusted, I slowly stepped over one tire, then through another. Wait! I saw a movement in the shadows. I cautiously edged my way over to that side of the barn. But wait! I spotted something else. What the heck? I poked my head through the center of a tire. That was way over on the other side of the pile. How could he have gotten over there so fast?
This ornery armored pest was messing with my head. I’ll show him, I thought. I’ll leap through this tire and grab his tail before he even knows I’m here. (You have to grab an armadillo by the tail, or you can’t catch him.) I bent my legs ready to spring. This was so exciting! My legs were shaking. My heart was pounding, and shivers were going up and down my spine. He was mine!
I flexed my legs and opened my mouth, ready to clamp down on that tail the minute I caught sight of it. Puhhh, cough, spit, drat! All I got was a mouth full of dirt as my long legs got caught in the middle of the tire. Yuck! I looked up just in time to see my prey skedaddle out the back door. I was about to bark for help when I heard Shadow growling at the other end of the barn and Coco barking and howling like a mad dog. No way, I thought as I pried myself out of the tire. There was no way on God’s green earth that waddling pest made it that far that fast. Finally free, I ran over to help Shadow and Coco. By the time I got there, they were both sitting quietly, looking at something in the distance.
“Well, I’ll be washed in the creek and hung out to dry,” said Shadow as she gazed across the field.
“Who’d have thunk?” asked Coco staring in the same direction.
“What?” I asked. Then I spotted them. Yep, them. As I honed my fine eyesight into the field there they were. Two armadillos scurrying away as fast as their little legs would carry them across the field and far, far away. Just as they disappeared from sight, I heard Dad’s pickup truck turn into the drive. We all hurried over to him, yes, even Coco. We barked and bounced and tried to tell him that he needed to get those pesky armored bandits before they got away, or they would come back for our food. He just patted our heads and scolded me for getting out of my pen. Then he put on his straw hat and jumped on the mower.
“I’ve got work to do,” he said. “I’ll feed you and put you, Tess, back in your pen after I’m done.”
He was clueless about what had happened that night, and now we would have to take turns all night long watching and waiting for those armored bandits to return. They always returned.
“Well,” said Shadow, “it’s gonna be a long night, babes. I’m gonna get some rest.”
“And I’m gonna go take that soak in the pond,” said Coco. “My hips hurtin' somethin’ fierce.”
I looked at both of them shocked. “You mean we aren’t gonna go after them?”
They both just looked at me like I was some kind of idiot.
“No.” They both said in unison.
“Fine!” I said. “I will just go after them myself. After I take a little nap under my tree”
“Yeah, right," said Coco as she winked at Shadow. “We’ll go with you then.”
When I woke up, it was dark and my food was waiting for me in my bowl. I gobbled it down then headed for the gate. What was this? It was locked! Oh boy, I thought, this was definitely going to be a long night.
Fortunately that night the armored bandits did not return. Mom came home the next day, and I had to go back to town. My adventure in the country was over, but it sure was fun! Maybe I can go out again soon. Now, if I could just get this latch undone, I would take a little stroll around town and get caught up on all of the gossip I missed while I was out at the farm.