One of the pitfalls of living in a rural area is that your kids are likely to run into lots of people who keep livestock – large and small. And after they meet the afore-mentioned chickens, pigs, dogs, goats, you-name-it, they work like crazy to steer all subsequent conversations to the “Can we get chickens, pits, another dog, another cat, you-name-it” question, secure in the knowledge that we do have somewhere to keep them.
Taking your kids to a sheep herding demonstration starring a dog who could melt the heart of a snowman practically guarantees a sudden interest in acquiring sheep and another dog, and today was no exception.
The one difference today was that the dog who inspired the latest request has been inspiring many of author Jon Katz’s recent blog posts, and that piqued my 11-year-old’s curiosity. Unfortunately for him, Thing1 is currently grounded from any electronica, but he saw an opening. Thinking, perhaps, that interest in reading about sheep online (as opposed to polishing the kitchen chair playing video games) was a more reasonable request than an actual sheep (or the requisite additional dog), he casually mentioned he might be interested in Red’s journey to Bedlham Farm.
Trying to avoid repetitive stress disorder from the inevitable refrains of ‘No computer’, we turned to the tried-and-true distraction – ‘what’s for dinner?’ But our five-year-old, also serving out a sentence of no electronica, was ready for this and began quizzing us about Red and sheep and who had herded the sheep before last week. And as we answered, I remembered that the story of Red’s predecessor Rose was waiting at home for us. I dropped a copy of ‘Rose in a Storm‘ on Thing1’s lap as soon as he got home and plopped on the couch. He eyed it with suspicion – it is summer vacation after all – but the little red dog had him wondering about sheep and dogs and farms, and he started casually flipping the pages. I said nothing and left for the grocery store. I got back an hour later and found my normally reluctant reader, remarkably lost in the story of another remarkable little dog.