Ham-Ham Goes for a Walk

The Background

For a couple weeks I watched a pair of Labrador retrievers for a friend of mine.  They were about 2 years old and super-rambunctious.  They were pretty excited about living in the country for a while.  Zoe in particular, was really excited.  She wanted to escape and do dog-things all the time.  She once managed to get out of her crate, off the screened porch, and out of the yard in less than two minutes.  Her ability to throw herself over the fence was continually impressive to me.  She and I went round and round to try to get her to stay in the yard. I respected her damned determination to escape and explore- can't fence her in.  Eventually, I thought we had reached a detente.

Zoe, the escape artist

Zoe was a great guard dog.  She liked to alert me when strangers were approaching, or when strange things were happening.  She had different levels of alert too, one bark that said "Oh hey, the kids are outside" and another that I'm pretty sure was saying "SHIT, INTRUDERS!  DANGER!  HUMAN, DO SOMETHING!"  

One day she started doing her "HUMAN, DO SOMETHING!" bark and wouldn't stop.  I looked outside to see my neighbor walking her little yappy dogs.  Pretty sure the yappy dogs are some sort of aggressive Jack Russel mixes.  She had a new dog though, one I didn't recognize. It for sure wasn't a Jack Russel of any variety; it was black and hairy to the point of being fuzzy and fat.  I started at it, thinking "man, that's an ugly dog," while Zoe continued to warn me of the danger.  As I stared, I realized it wasn't a dog at all, it was a small dog-sized pot-bellied pig.  I convinced Zoe that we weren't in any danger from the pig and we went about our business.

Ham-Ham Goes for a Walk

A week or so after Zoe first saw Ham-Ham, she got to meet him, in the flesh.

I was in the pecan field walking to the bottom to water the horses.  Zoe had never attempted to escape into the pecan grove before- she wasn't interested in nuts, I guess.  As I was walking, I could hear her and her sister barking, but it wasn't her serious bark.  It was more of a "HOW DARE YOU LEAVE ME HERE?!?" sort of bark.  I kept walking and they stopped barking.  I should have known that was a bad sign.  Less than thirty second after the barking stopped, Zoe ran to greet me.  I grabbed her by the collar and was walking her back to the yard, but she was freaking out.  Now, Zoe may escape all the time, but she doesn't freak out.  She's pulling and barking and trying to get me to go in the opposite direction of the house.  This is all happening fast and she's really big and strong and she's pulling me and then I hear this funny grunting noise, a noise I've never heard her make before.  And finally she gets me turned around and I see Ham-Ham.

Ham-Ham has decided to go for a walk and is super-excited to meet me and Zoe.  So excited in fact, that he doesn't seem to realize that he's in immediate danger and that Zoe thinks she's gonna get bacon for dinner.  At this point, I'm hollering, I'm waving my arms around, and I'm futilely dragging Zoe back to the house.  My dad is on the mower in the field.  I try to get his attention, he doesn't notice me.

I get Zoe under control and we head back to the house.

Ham-Ham follows us, grunting happy pig noises all the way.

I try to get Dad's attention again.  I've realized I can't just put Zoe in the yard and return the pig.  Zoe will just escape again, she's going to escape even faster this time, because now she's got Ham-Ham as an incentive.

Finally, Dad notices me waving my arms around and pointing at the pig.  He gives me two big thumbs up and keeps right on mowing.

I guess he thought the dog and pig were having a play date?

Zoe meets Ham-Ham
Finally, Dad realizes that I haven't moved and am still waving my arms around, that maybe I need help...  He chases Ham-Ham home with the mower.

I had to bribe Zoe to stay in the yard from then on out.


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