February 2013
Through the Fence

A Girly Solution

It gives me some kind of twisted satisfaction to know other rancher women who end up in difficult situations sometimes devise girly solutions. The comedian Larry the Cable Guy’s famous phrase, "Get ‘er done," rings true with all us country folk who find ourselves in bizarre predicaments with no conventional solutions available. We learn to make do with the resources at hand, often without help because we have no choice. If something is broken and can’t be fixed with udder balm, duct tape, baling wire or W-D 40, it’s probably not fixable.

My friend Sandy had taken in a huge, black Standard Poodle her grandmother had rescued from the vet’s office. It had been dropped there to be euthanized and her granny had taken pity on it. He was a happy, frisky dog with an unpleasant tendency to slobber all the time. Sandy named him Hydrophobia, but called him Hydro for short.

One afternoon, after a bout of major spring cleaning, Sandy had a load of oversized trash items loaded in the truck. She was about to drive back to the furthest edge of their sizable ranch to dump it all in their trash pit. Along came Hydro begging for a ride, so she let him climb up into the cab of the truck to ride with her. They had to drive through several large pastures to reach their destination and, when they did, the truck died. Sandy unloaded all the junk into the pit and tried unsuccessfully to start the vehicle again. Seeing how close the sun was to the horizon and realizing how far she was from home, she and Hydro set out for the house on foot. The walk would take more than an hour, provided nothing happened … but it did.

Hydro, in his usual frisky manner, bounded off looking for adventure. What he found was a baby calf which he started chasing in earnest, much to the dismay of its mother. Sandy heard the dog’s distant barking and saw a terrifying scene unfolding before her. Hydro was quickly rounding the calf toward her with the angry mama in hot pursuit. Without a tree large enough to climb in sight, Sandy ducked behind a clump of mesquites and started whistling for the dog to come to her. Luckily, he did, and the little calf and his mother trotted on past them and over a distant hill.

Not wanting a repeat of that incident or a similar one, Sandy started thinking of a way to restrain the energetic poodle. She went back and rummaged through the broken down truck for a rope or piece of bailing twine, but found nothing. Still shaken from the near miss she’d just experienced, she was very motivated to think of a solution. In a flash of feminine ingenuity, she unfastened her bra, took it off and looped one of the arm straps around Hydro’s curly black head, and headed for the house.

Fortunately, the elastic held and no other calves, deer or jackrabbits popped out of the brush inciting the dog’s chasing instinct. The mental image of an exasperated woman leading a large hyperactive poodle through a remote pasture by a bra strap still brings a smile to my face. I can only hope I will be as resourceful when facing the next inevitable fiasco in my own life.

Lisa Hamblen Hood lives near Priddy, Texas, where she teaches English, Art and Spanish. Email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..