Just as I was drifting off again they commenced once more. This was unusual at this hour. After all, I put the two who patrol the farm perimeter, Kaz and Molly, out at around 11 for their final nightly prowl and they usually sleep straight through upon their return, not to awaken until I get up at 5:30. I decided to let the "Mutt and Jeff" pair out to see what was going on. They ran around barking for a while and then came back to the door, whining to get back in. Now it was nearly 4:30 so I just lay in bed waiting for my alarm to go off.
When the alarm went off it was difficult getting out of bed as I was groggy from lack of sleep. I put the two roamers out while I fixed coffee which I desperately needed. The other little dogs stayed inside, snoring and oblivious to anything. As Kaz and Molly ran around outside they were beside themselves with bark-itis, something again unusual with such intensity at this hour. I called them inside and then decided to check things out myself.
It was the first really cold morning this season so I bundled up before heading out. I decided that since the sky was starting to lighten in the east I would go ahead and feed the horses and barn cats a little ahead of schedule. As I turned to walk to the garage where some of the cats stay in the early morning I ran into a big surprise. There, standing by the door and acting rather sheepish was Angus, our little Shetland pony. Angus, who stays in the fenced in side yard on the other end of the house had figured out a way to open the gate and check out all of the fascinating things around the garage.
As I approached him he just walked away and I realized this was going to be a contest of wills that I had to win to get him back where he belonged. He was enjoying his freedom but, even more, he was relishing holding the upper hand with me, albeit temporarily.
I decided to go to the barn, get a handful of grain to bribe him, and then try to coax him to follow me back to his assigned "living quarters". As I approached the barn I noticed things looked like a tornado had passed through. One large feed storage bin was turned over, my wife's tack stand had tumbled with all of its contents scattered on the barn floor, several hay bales had been knocked off of the stack and various pieces of equipment and supply items were scattered.
Initially ticked off by his antics, I decided to try another tack. I began to laugh. This little "dickens" wanted me to be upset so I decided not to play his game. I carried the small amount of grain in a pail and walked over to him, shook it so he could hear, and quickly turned and walked slowly into the side yard. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him following me. He realized I was on to him but he also wanted the grain.
After putting it in his feed tub and closing the gate I added the final touch of showing him who was the boss. I reinforced the security of the gate by adding his lead line, tying the gate securely to the gate post with it. Twice later during the day I noticed him trying to undo the lock until he finally surrendered. And once he even hid himself behind a wax myrtle tree near the wooded fence line as if he wanted me to think that he had escaped again. Nice try, you little stinker.
I also had to watch him for colic from all the hay and grain he had gotten into. Ponies are notorious for getting themselves in trouble that way but we were lucky and avoided any unintended consequences from his mischievousness.
Do we love little Angus? Yes. Can we trust little Angus? Not on your life. But when you have a pony, particularly one as strong and stocky as Angus, you just have to be ready for anything. As soon as you forget one little thing he will take advantage of it. But when I look at this cute little rascal and his zeal for excitement and adventure, I have to admire his spunk. And we can't wait for the arrival of his new cart; it will provide us some fun and give him the attention he seeks while while also burning off some of his excess energy. So here's to Angus and his zest for life. We're keeping our eyes on you, Angus.
Oh, the life of a little pony. The good Lord knew what He was doing when he created them and He is using Angus to teach me calm under fire. The virtue of patience is a necessity when dealing with many things and especially when dealing with a busy little pony. Maybe that is the reason why Angus found his way into our life and I will use him to help me be a better man in the patience department. Thank you, Lord, for giving us Angus and for using him as your messenger. And thank you also for using him to add a little spice and humor to life.
Animals: What a wonderful gift from God.
You might also enjoy my recent book, Honey, We Shoulda' Bought the Ark available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and an E-Book edition via my author page: outskirtspress.com/honeyweshouldaboughttheark. Stories about horses, dogs, cats, birds and many more animals which are part of our extended family at our home in rural Florida. Great for bedtime stories with children or for anyone who loves animals and is young at heart. Presented from a Christian perspective.