Activists vs. Agriculture: Creedence, the Unsuspected and Overly-Confident Cowdog
On Oct. 19, 2019, I acquired a small, black and tan dog named Creed after Creedence Clearwater Revival. I was living in an apartment building in a new town, 1,000 plus miles away from my family and hadn’t met too many people outside of work.
I needed some company. I knew a pup, such has a half dachshund/half yorkie – a dorkie, if you will – would fit the bill, and I was right.
About a month later, I went on my first date with my now husband Lane, and within a few weeks, Creed would make his first trip to Lane’s family’s ranch in Big Timber, Mont.
The ranch was a paradise for this little mutt. He’d only known my apartment and the sidewalk and grass around it. He’d never seen cows or horses before, nor large machinery and grassy areas that went on for miles.
He was a five-pound ball of excitement, and Lane’s dad Leo shook his head at the sight of him.
I don’t blame Leo. If my son brought some blonde, peppy girl from Texas with a wire-haired weenie dog to the ranch, I’d have been weary too. But, as a sweet little dog like Creed tends to do, he grew on Lane and his family.
Within a month, Lane volunteered to watch Creed while I went to Texas to visit my family for two whole weeks. At the end of the two weeks, when I got back to Montana, neither Leo nor Lane wanted Creed to go back to my apartment with me – and neither did the pup.
Turns out, while I was gone, Creed had gotten into a routine of feeding cows in the tractor with Lane and riding along to the parts store with Leo.
He learned from the other two dogs – Paige and Tina, both traditional cowdogs – if a heifer got in the yard in front of the house, she probably didn’t need to be there and should be chased back to her designated area.
Creed had found the perfect spot in the shop to curl up and take afternoon naps while Lane and Leo worked on different projects.
Creed had begun his training as an official “cowpup,” and boy, was he ready to get back to the ranch the minute we left for my apartment in Billings, Mont.
Which is why I can imagine his delight a few months later when the world shut down in March and April of 2020, and he got to spend five weeks during calving season at the ranch.
By this time, Lane had gotten a puppy of his own named Bonnie, a beautiful red Hangin’ Tree-Kelpy cross puppy.
Creed and Bonnie became inseparable. The two older dogs showed them the ropes, in what I can only picture to be reminiscent of stories in Hank the Cowdog books.
Creed and Bonnie ran the roost during the 2020 calving season. They’d chase heifers when they weren’t supposed to. They almost got mucked out a few too many times from being too curious when we had a crazy cow in a jug. They would disappear to the barn to eat God knows what every afternoon, and they were two wild peas in a puppy pod.
After calving season, Bonnie went on to become a true blue cowdog, while Creed had to go back to my apartment with me. Every day when I came home from work, he’d sit in front of the door, waiting for me to drive him back to the ranch like he knew he needed to be out there alongside Bonnie.
But, Creed wasn’t made to be a cowdog. He was made to be an apartment dog.
The biggest difference between Creed and the other ranch dogs, aside from the fact he’s about one-quarter of their size, is those dogs are bred to take commands – they’re made to be cowdogs.
They listen when they are told to go away or come by, they stalk and they herd. Creed, on the other hand, is bred to sit on a couch while his human watches TV, and I don’t know how much the average reader knows about dachshunds but they’re not known to be the best listeners.
Creed was born to be the exact opposite of a cowdog, but by golly if he conforms to the stereotype.
Creed believes he’s a cowdog anytime we’re moving cows, and Leo decides to “unleash the beast,” letting Creed herd a few – this of course only happens if the cattle are already halfway through the gate and the job is basically done.
When this happens, there is no other dog in the world that’s happier than Creed. His tail moves back and forth at lightning speed, and he runs as fast as his five-inch legs will let him. His ears flop back in the wind, and the bark he lets out booms as loud as thunder – in his mind. In these moments he is, without a doubt, one of the big dogs.
He was made to be a lap dog, but by all accounts, Creedence is a cowdog. Sure, he’ll curl up and get cozy when I want to take a nap, and no, he doesn’t listen most of the time. But, the little dog is fully convinced he’s a 50-pound cowdog, and he’s got the confidence to go along with it.
I share this information with you today, first and foremost, to bring a smile to your face when you picture a black and tan weenie dog nipping at the heels of a full-grown Red Angus cow.
It’s what I imagine David and Goliath looked like.
The second reason I share Creed’s story is to say this: if my little guy can have the confidence to be the cowdog he’s always dreamed of, then YOU too can have the confidence to be the agriculturist you’ve always wanted to be.
Creed has been foolishly and hilariously chasing cows for three years now, and by some miracle, he hasn’t gotten kicked or stomped on once. Statistically speaking, he should’ve at least been bopped on the nose a few times by a mama cow, but he hasn’t!
Creed hasn’t failed at what he believes is his mission one time, and if he can get by without getting knocked down, who’s to say you can’t?
Buy the land. Run the cows. Plant the crops. Defend ag to the people who hate it. Put on a bull sale. Start your own livestock marketing business. Give the politician a piece of your mind, and take the dadgum risk to do what you love without fear of failing – because if a weenie dog can do it, so can you.