Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

A magic white dog appears

I was minding my own business....

You know how this story might end...if you read here often enough.

I had gone out for a long walk with the dogs, taking advantage of an entire day of sun breaks, with beautiful, broody clouds of all shades of gray followed us, sans rain. The backdrop against the fall color made it better than any four mile panoramic instagram photo.

Upon returning to our gated drive, I noticed a white animal in the lavender field and assumed it was Stella, one of the Boer goats who has accomplished negotiating any fence, anywhere, anytime. It is just part of our life here. But the white animal came running towards us, and I realized it was Marcella.

Or was it?

She was on the other side of the lavender fence, and I had the dogs on leashes. They never play together, it isn't allowed, but they have met-but she was acting rather strange. I looked at her again and realized,

"You're not Marcella!"

It was a male Maremma just like Marcella, except the head on this dog was blockier so it might have had St. Bernard in it.

My first thought was,

"Gads, get the chastity belt on Marcella!"

I immediately went there in my mind-the sight of Marcella guarding her litter of pups. When I took her to the vet a couple of months ago to get spayed, I was told to wait until after her first season. This was new to me, but I agreed. She has had her first season, and now let's just say it is open season. Luckily she is not in heat...at this moment.

I got the dogs in the house and went back to the white dog. I took the phot you see here in case I needed to investigate where he lived. I gave him the pat down...he was intact.


But my second thought was...how magical. A strange white twin of my shape shifter Marcella appears out of nowhere. We've never had a dog breach our fences. What makes it odder is I'm struggling with trying to get some concepts down for a novel and a white dog is a prominent character. Perhaps he's here to help me, I could sure use it.

But I knew he'd never leave as long as he found his way down here. Anyone with guard dogs knows if they want to be somewhere, they will. He had a collar on, no tags, had good teeth and was in descent shape – a bit thin but that isn't that unusual. He was very friendly. I let him walk up the drive since he was there already and he visited Marcella at the gate. If she'd been in heat she probably might have jumped her gate, but didn't. She barked a lot and acted just as I had hoped–"Stay out of my barnyard mate!"

But he knows she is there.

And now she knows he is there.

I walked back to the lower field with him and asked him to go home. Yes, that's right, I asked him. Why not? I asked him to not come back. Sure, sure.

I turned and walked a few steps, turned around, and he was gone.

I have to tell you, I know I have an active imagination, and open heart, but it did feel really almost spiritual that another white creature showed up...and the same breed as Marcella made it even more so. I've never seen a Maremma anywhere near us and we tend to know most of the dogs in the area, and their barks. If he is lost, he doesn't seem to care. One has to be careful handling these dogs, they are not interested in being strong armed. I noticed that he tried to place himself in front of me and the gate where Marcella was-this is is perfectly normal in a guarding situation...except he's guarding me from my own barnyard.

I decided to leave Marcella in with some of the Misfits tonight, just in case she went into heat. And as I left the barn, I could see the white dog far down in the corner of one of our fields.