The Road Not Taken

Scenics 01-11-1969When I wasn’t shooting assignments, I was usually cruising around looking for interesting people, places and situations. I thought this farmstead in southern Ohio interesting enough to pull over for a quick photo.

There was a curious mix of vintage cars, VW bugs and a VW bus in front of the old farmhouse, barn and outbuildings. It wasn’t unusual to be greeted by barking dogs, but these guys seemed to be a little more unfriendly than most. The barking dog on the left didn’t worry me as much as the guy just peeking over the rise on the right. (You can click on the photos to make them larger.)

I hate little yip-yip dogs

Scenics 01-11-1969

I’ve managed to make it into Medicare age having been bit only twice in my life: once when I was a paperboy and once by a neighbor’s dog down here in Florida. In both cases, the culprit was one of those annoying little yip-yip dogs that are like rats with an attitude – and just about as useful.

This guy, though, didn’t look like he would fool around. I decided to leave this a road not taken. I wondered what was down that lane that warranted this much protection. My first thought was moonshine, but the VWs made me lean toward illegal herbs.

Or, it might just be they valued their privacy and didn’t want any visits from the Avon Lady.

8 Replies to “The Road Not Taken”

  1. I wonder what kind of people let their dogs leave the yard to chase cars/people/bicycles. Sometimes it’s just culture. These photos capture the bleak look of SE Ohio in winter. I bet there was an interesting story there; probably a sad one.
    Surprising how often: “Git! Git home dog! Go on now! Git home!” works. I tried that in Peru, but the damn dogs hadn’t paid attention in English class.

    1. I was doing a TOSRV ride through S Georgia a few springs back. We passed lots of dogs who would do as you described, run right up to the property line and follow us barking all the while.

      While on that ride, I met the laziest dog in Georgia. The owner had him in the back of his pickup truck. You could hear him barking at every rider he passed on the stretched-out line.

  2. I wonder what kind of people buy a dog and tie it up to tree or keep it in the house and never let it run free!
    Farm dogs know the property line and if you are not known or not welcome well…you probably should not be there and a good farm dog will know. A farm dog is better and cheaper than ADT or what ever you can get to protect you and your property from roving bands of photographers and city folk of all kinds.
    Staying in the car is always a great defense against dogs, if the owner wants to see you he will come out and see you, if not, drive on. The dogs will follow you to the property line.

    1. That’s generally true, but I wasn’t sure these guys were all that good at reading survey markers.

      My compressed air horn generally takes care of most dogs when I’m on my bike: I let them get up to about 10 feet, then give them a good blast.

      Brother Mark, on the other hand, ended up dazed on the side of the road for about 20 minutes with a concussion after a dog encounter near Jeff City.

  3. I don’t know, but the general look of the property seems to indicate that the dogs may be the least of a tresspasser’s worries. A combination of alcohol and gunpowder when mixed directly is of no concern but mixed indirectly can only mean trouble.

    1. I’ve survived this long by picking up on bad vibes. This place gave them to me. I subscribe to Oliver Goldsmith’s Survival Theory:

      For he who fights and runs away
      May live to fight another day;
      But he who is in battle slain
      Can never rise and fight again.

      I’m a runner, not a fighter.

  4. So true about farm dogs knowing the property lines! I keep a minimum of three good-sized dogs to protect me against coyotes and strangers. And I too distrust small dogd–they’ll creep up and bite you from behind.

  5. Not all farm dogs know the property lines, or have been trained to keep within them, and I grew up on a farm in West Virginia. One of our dogs chased a neighbor’s sheep, and was shot. We agreed the neighbor did the right thing. Within the last 10 years my father-in-law had a sheep killed by neighbor dogs; he shot and wounded one who ran home. He was fined and had to pay the vet’s bill! He got nothing for his sheep. We’ve become a society that reveres dogs more than other animals, or even people. It’s sad. I’m no longer a dog person.

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