My dog would leave me for coyote bait in a heartbeat. If, while out on one of our daily hikes, I were to step in a badger hole and break my leg, she would only come back to check on me if she thought by chance a cookie had dropped out of my pocket in the fall.
Case in point: yesterday, we were sorting cows. It's calving season, and we have a bovine birthing center in our front yard. About once a week, we go out to the main herd and try to pick the cows that look most likely to calve in the next few days. This is an art at which my father and husband excel. I suck. They just look fat to me.
Once we've chosen what we believe will be the next new mothers, we trail them half a mile home. There, they spend their nights lounging in piles of hay in the indoor arena, safe from snow and wind chill and their own poor judgement. What part of dropping your newborn in an icy mudhole seems like a good idea?
So, we were sorting off what we call 'the heavies'. After months of long, cold, snack-laden evenings, I feel as if I should be counted among them. This sorting is not an exact science. Therefore, along with those yet to calve are a handful of cows with babies at their sides, having fooled the experts and popped the kid out before arriving at the maternity ward. They tend to be very protective of their young. After all, this is coyote country.
Which brings me back to my dog.
My dog sees no reason she shouldn't jump in and help us out in the corral. Cows see no difference between a Border Collie and a coyote. One particular cow took great exception to my dog's proximity to her child. She took a run at the dog. The dog ran for her life.
Right to me.
I happened to be standing in front of the only fifty foot stretch of fence that the dog couldn't duck under and I couldn't climb. I yelled advice to the dog, consisting of a few choice profanities, an observation on her intelligence, and the suggestion that she relocate. She responded by cowering behind my legs.
The cow took another run at the dog, apparently unconcerned with possible collateral damage to my person. I dove right. The dog dove left and through a hole in the fence. The cow slid head first into a post. The last I saw of the dog, she was topping the hill, running flat out to the house.
And no, she didn't look back to see if I was okay.