roxy chasing the horses out to pasture

With the recent passing of Bailey, I have been reminded of how important our dogs are to us at Black Mountain Ranch. They are almost always there with us, be it all day out on rides, or walking irrigation ditches, shovel in hand.

a day in the life of a dude ranch dog

Let’s see… Bailey, Molly, George, Betty, Poppy, Daisy, Howdy, Cinch, Pistol, Sammy, Vala, Murray, Deacon, Daphne, Shoeshine, Coda, Riley, Mickey, Oakley, Roxy… Ummmm. Come on old staff, who am I missing? I know for sure that I am.

It really is the best place a dog could ever live. In the mornings, I usually let Betty, my little Border Collie/Great Pyrenees mix, out right after we run the horses in. Let’s say 7:45 or so. After a day of work, I can usually only coax her back into the house with the offer of dinner sometime around 9:00 that night. She pretends that she cares about me and wants to help me work when she is feeling like a Border Collie, but I frequently see her acting like an independent Great Pyrenees when I can see her wandering through the sage a whole ridge line away.

The recently departed Bailey was quite the character, too. Who knows where she learned it, but whenever she was chasing the horses, she would swing around behind one and, at a run, bite down on the end of its tail and hang on tight, riding it like a swing. Usually, by this point, the horses had already starting moving along, and so I can only assume that Bailey’s tail-swinging served no real purpose other it was fun and she liked it.

Our dude ranch dogs on the tails of the horses

That is how I segue into telling you the two main things that Bailey didn’t like, namely, kids and my late dog Molly.

The dogs on the ranch do lead very full social lives. Sometimes this means that there is some growling, snarling and snapping while they discuss their differences. Generally these discussions are all smoke and no fire, but Molly and Bailey truly hated each other. Bailey was about half  Molly’s size, but defined the old saying that it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog that mattered. Her size never stopped her from heading Molly’s way when she was feeling scrappy. Funny thing was she was also one of the sweetest, most affectionate dogs I have ever known. That is, if she liked you…

My old black lab, George certainly was one of the oddest members of the Dogs of Black Mountain Ranch club. He earned his nickname of “The Dude” (think the Big Lebowski) by being completely unperturbed by anything and on his own program at all times. After cattle drives, I would frequently find him just hanging out with the cows in the arena. Not barking at them, not trying to herd them, just hanging out. On hot, sunny days, George’s favorite place to nap would be in the shade UNDER which ever horse happened to be tied closest to the gate in the corral. They never seemed to mind, though, it was just George.

They sure do have it good at the ranch, our dogs. They deserve it , too. But we also have a lot we could learn from them. Howdy the Border Collie never lets the price of tea in China worry him as long as he has good, fresh cow poo to roll in. So next time you find your self worried by something, remember Howdy, and go roll in some…Wait. That doesn’t work at all.

Cinch our Black Mountain Ranch dog pushing cattle

Whatever. Just be happy and stay out of the trash.




  1. Wrangler Kit

    The dogs at Black Mountain not only affect our lives, but make great entertainment and friends with the guests as well! These might be some of the most loved dogs across the world! 😉

  2. Br549la

    sorry for your lose in bailey, no matter how many dog’s you have or will own, they are each loved differently and affect us differently, hope you find a dog just as good as she was…….

  3. Andrew Hyde

    I think you out ‘name the dog’ed me this time.

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