Many people have misconceptions about growing up on a farm. I have had to convince some that “No, we didn’t have an outhouse”, “Yes, we had running water”; “Yes, I know the four H’s in 4H”; and “Yes, jean shorts were cool where I grew up” (Well, at least I thought they were). Much of my life was no different from someone growing up in the suburbs of Kansas City. Except for one major thing – we had “farm” dogs.
Farm dog – [fahrm dawg] – noun
1. An animal of the canine species that resides on acres of land used for agriculture
2. A dog that never enters the house nor wants to
3. A dog that would rather catch a rabbit than be fed from the table
4. A dog that wouldn’t be caught dead in any clothing other than his collar
5. A dog that could actually frighten away a stranger
6. A dog not of the yapper dog species
This farm dog I speak of may not make much sense to you city folk. The definitions above sum up the dogs that I had growing up. My dogs were outside 24/7, hunted game, chased cars, and just about peed on every tree in the yard – and he did that whenever he wanted. To me, keeping a dog trapped in the house all day, dressing it up in pink sweaters, giving it a birthday cake once a year, and only letting it outside to pee is completely bizarre. But to city dwellers, I’m the bizarre one because my dog wasn’t allowed inside.
People have often asked me, “Do you bring your dog in when it storms. . .when it snows. . .when its cold outside?”
We tried once, but he didn’t want to come in. So we left him outside and guess what? He survived. Why? Because outdoor farm dogs have what indoor dogs don’t – instincts. The little house dogs are cooped up in the house for so long they have lost their ability to survive.
So now we come to present day. I’ve left the farm, graduated college, stopped wearing jean shorts, and married a city girl. I’ve been told that the next step is to get a dog. Which begs the question, “What kind of dog should we get?” Obviously, from Vanessa’s previous post, most know she wants a French bulldog. As a farm kid, however, it doesn’t make much sense to me to get a dog of that nature. Telling me we are getting a French bulldog is like telling me I’m going to be driving a Mazda Miata from now on. You wouldn’t want to show up to a 4-H meeting in one of those.
Of course, this is not an argument that I will ever win. Just like my jean shorts, my idea of a “real” dog will have to go by the wayside. Being a Midwestern farm kid, I’ll have to get over the embarrassment of answering questions like “Where did you get that cute sweater for your dog?”; “What kind of gourmet food does he eat?”; and “When can your dog schedule his next play date?” And God forbid if I ever have to tell anyone he is French.