I took this photo today of Alayne coming back around noon from Widget's House, our main dog building there in the background. Wherever Alayne goes, she has a little cluster of dogs that follows her down to the gate, waits for her, and then leads her back, as you see here. Just before I shot this photo they had been milling around her feet, and she was threading her way through the throng (oooh, please notice the alliteration there!). Then the cluster unwound itself and starting stringing out along the trail.
Big blind Kenai is in the foreground; she had headed down to meet the ensemble and turned around to come back. Next is Holly, the tan dog with curled tail, who is typically in the lead. Holly is our director of home-ranch security and sees her main job as protecting Alayne from all dangers, real and imagined (i.e., all imagined). She is always in front of Alayne, clearing the path. When she thinks too many dogs are crowding Alayne or not showing her enough respect, she charges in, barking like mad, to restore order. (Creating chaos in the process, of course.)
Holly is not disabled -- she was a semi-feral stray who was dumped out here a few years ago. We socialized her and I was preparing to adopt her out when Alayne, in a moment of weakness, overruled me and said she was staying. (That's a long story for another blog post!) Holly -- or "Agent Holly," as she is also known -- settled into her role protecting Alayne. Why she thinks Alayne needs a personal bodyguard we don't know. Maybe since she's not disabled Holly figured she needed a job to justify staying at the ranch. Oddly, Holly sees me as a sparring partner, someone to roughhouse with ... she'll often try to start a "fight" by coming at me prancing on her two back feet, pawing at me with one of her front feet. (Human/canine relationships can be quite complex, eh?)
Next in the line behind Holly is blind Goldie, while three-legged Cody and Birdie are at Alayne's side. Hidden behind Cody is little Daisy the miniature Dachshund,who had been patiently waiting at the gate for Alayne, along with the others. Coming in from the left is blind Evelyn,who's always been a party girl and thinks it sounds like fun over there somewhere.
(Click on photo for larger image.)