madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

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Once Upon a Time

I just read something in my friend canuckdesz's LJ here that made me think about this again.

Once upon a time, we lived with a Rottweiler named Kuma. He was just a year when we purchased the ranch (after all, doesn't everyone buy land in the country so their dog has room to run?), and named it after him: KP Ranch. This is short for Kuma's Playpen.

For quite a while until the sun and weather destroyed it, I hung a sign on the gate that said, "Notice: Entry constitutes becoming Kuma's Playtoy." When he was around a year and a quarter old, he discovered gopher tortoise's. I was working on a deck outside the back door of our then house, and Mr. K went into major alarm mode. Boss! Boss! It's a rock, and it's moving!

I explained to him what a gopher tortoise is, that they belong here, that they do a lot to help the place be a better piece of land, and we walked past a couple other tortoise holes to check those out. OK, Mr. K says, I can handle this.

Several years later, Ruthie is called to the screen door by Mr. K, pawing on it. As she gets closer, she realizes he's also barking, muffled. He has something in his mouth, which he very carefully places in her hand. It is a brand-new baby gopher tortoise. She thanks him, and looks for a box to put the baby in; Mr. K disappears in the meantime. Ten minutes later, he's back, muffled barking. Another baby tortoise. Again he disappears.

Fifteen times.

None of them were hurt. All of them healthy. And, all of them on the Endangered Species list. Ruthie contacts Fish & Wildlife and explains she needs to meet an agent. She drives into Archer to meet him (not necessarily wanting to be on the ranch for the face to face), and brings Mr. K with her. She turns the baby tortoises over to him; he does, of course, ask where she found them because they are on the endangered list. She tells him the story above.

The very kind agent looks at Kuma's smiling face and wagging tail, and allows how he just can't find it in him to arrest a dog that cares that much about gopher tortoises.


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