Friday, November 22, 2013

Banjo Boy

Banjo is our seven-year old, 75 lb flat-coated retriever mix. Like many pet owners and perhaps parents, we have several nicknames and descriptors for him. Sometimes he’s Banjo Boy or Banjo Buddy or even Banjo Buddy Boy. When we adopted him from a family whose home was in foreclosure, they were calling him Nitro.  That name didn’t appeal to me at all, and Banjo just popped into my head and stuck.

 From the get-go, we called him lugger because he’s big and lazy and mostly likes to lie around, especially on the side porch.  We have an older flat-coated retriever, and in her prime, she did circuits around the backyard non-stop and chased tennis balls until she wore our arms out.  Not Banjo; other than getting excited about taking a walk, he is content to just stretch out.  He never curls up; instead he stretches out on his side with his paws extended to take up the most possible room.
We have an underground electric fence to keep him and his big sister in the yard, but it doesn’t extend to the front yard.  Tinker, the older dog, is well-behaved and pretty sedate these days at age 14, so I can let her out in the front yard with me when I’m bringing in firewood or working in the yard, without fear that she’ll take off.
Again, not Banjo.  We call it setting sail when he lopes across the yard and seemingly floats over the embankment to the street.  You just never know what will catch his eye—a walker, a deer, a leaf. In the past, I’ve had to chase him down the street, which he thinks is big fun.  He looks over his shoulder as if to say, “Come on Mom.”
About a year ago, the electric fence started beeping incessantly, a signal that it had stopped working. Since he’d been so good about staying within his boundaries out back, I just turned the fence off.  I guess he’s a creature of habit, because he’s never once left the yard since the fence broke—that is until last week. 
I had been lulled into thinking he was content to stay put, so I started letting him accompany me to the front yard with his sister.  That worked fine the first few times, until one day I looked up and he’d disappeared.  I pretty quickly spied him across the street in front of our neighbor’s gate, no harm done, and decided there would be no more front yard privileges for him.  But, that night when I went to let him in from the side porch, he was nowhere to be seen.  Pretty soon, he showed up at the front door. That’s when we started calling him the Night Ranger.
That same week, not for the first time, he rolled in deer poop, and my husband started calling him S___-Roller.  Roller, Ranger, whatever, it all seems to fit.
Needless to say, we’ve called the fence repair folks and are awaiting a new part so that I can safely let him out without watching him.  If I just send him out without bringing him right back in, there’s no telling what new name he’ll earn for himself.