By Ed Kabanuk – Surrey, B.C.
I had been given the task of bringing the cows home for milking. This meant going about a 3⁄4 mile to the pasture at the end of our land. It wasn’t an onerous task except for one thing: we had a cow called ‘Bossy’ and bossy she was. I learned as a farm kid that animals do have a hierarchy.
My folks warned me that the cows were to be brought home at a slow pace. Running was forbidden since less milk would be available if they ran. I had often seen Bossy boss other cows by lowering her head and pushing them.
Now I was faced with the task of bringing them home. Perhaps she sensed the fear in me or looking me over, thought I was just a puny 6-year-old. Whatever the reason, Bossy was not about to leave the pasture. I tried to round up the other cows but they paid little attention to me and kept grazing and casting an eye on Bossy who just stared at me.
Suddenly, she lowered her head and began to move toward me. Frightened, I did what I wasn’t supposed to do. My faithful dog, Rover, was with me and so in self-preservation I yelled “sick ‘em Rover,” which he did.
Bossy immediately turned her attention to this pesky dog with whom she was not yet acquainted. For a few seconds they circled one another warily, but Rover was too quick for her and when she didn’t respond to his warning bark he nipped her.
Being the boss and stubborn she still lowered her head and tried to chase him, however, on the third or fourth nip, Bossy suddenly took off for home running at full steam. The other cows responded by joining in.
I was relieved but remembering the admonishment about running and was sure punishment would be coming. Fortunately, Bossy slowed right down and so did her followers and the milking turned out well.
Interestingly, after this I had absolutely no problem in getting the cows to come home. I had Rover become the head of the hierarchy!