No Rest for the Herding Dog

1. Put chair in river.

2. Sit down.

3. Don’t move a muscle.

This was my M.O. over the weekend.  I alternated between a hammock and a chair in the river.  About as labor-free of a Labor Day as they come. At least it was for me. Not for Trooper. I’ll get to that in a second.


Sitting in a hammock on a summer day: it’s as American as apple pie. And it would be a great addition to this Real Simple’s  71 Solutions to Make Every Morning Easier.


We were on the Guadalupe at my family’s house on the Guadalupe, which my mom built a couple decades ago on a very steep cliff.  It’s where I have spent many a summer day.

Because of her decision to build a house on a cliff that no one else has dared build on, the river house is a total escape from the rest of the world. No neighbors are next to us–their houses are at the top of the cliff.  And we don’t even have internet.  The most advanced piece of technology in the house is a VCR.  And that hasn’t been considered advanced for at least 20 years.

Weekends at the river are always relaxing for us,  but unfortunately not for our poor dog.

First, there are always birds circling the treetops, and Trooper feels strongly about protecting us from them.


He keeps watch 24/7 at this door or on the balcony, and goes bonkers if the birds get too close for his comfort. The hawks and vultures have selected the end of our roof as their daily perch, and they like to swoop in for a landing right in front of Trooper on the balcony. It gives poor Trooper heart palpitations and sometimes I wonder if they do it just for fun.

RH Labor Day 2014 (1)

While we have a relaxing dinner, he doesn’t even have time to beg from the table–he’s busy keeping lookout.

Not only does he have to worry about the birds while we’re in the house, he has to monitor all of the squirrels (SQUIRRELS I tell you!) on either side of the river while we’re outside.


His patrol of the area involves a lot of swimming back and forth from one bank to the other.


When your legs are six inches long, it takes a lot of energy to doggie paddle up and down the river all day. I make him wear a life jacket so he doesn’t get too tuckered out.

Trooper loves adventures but sometimes I think he would truly be much happier if he just stayed at home in Austin. The outdoors really stress him out sometimes.

It’s a tough life as a corgi on River Patrol, so sometimes, if he is feeling confident that everything is under control, he comes and sits on my chair.  Which is a total pleasure for me, as now I have to share the chair with a wet dog who shakes water all over me.  But I allow this because he is so darn cute.

Ah, thinks Trooper, I can finally relax. No squirrels. But wait..


Wait! What was that! Something is afoot upstream!


“Dad! What are you doing? Ugh. Dad. He thinks he is going to fish in peace but he doesn’t know the dangers of this river. I get to him and scare the fish away before he gets attacked!”


Don’t move dad I’m coming to save you.


Gees, can a corgi catch a break around here?

And thus it happens that there is no rest for the herding dog on Labor Day.

Some people just can’t relax no matter how hard they try.

We came back to Austin Monday night and he’s been napping ever since.  I did check a couple times to make sure he was still breathing. Someone probably did that to me when I was snoozing in the hammock over the weekend.

P.S. I want to give a shout out to the girl marching down the river carrying a bag and picking up trash. YOU GO GIRL. Thank you for doing that.  I waved enthusiastically at her and shouted “HEY!!” in an attempt to show support but she just looked at me like I was weird.  Kids these days.


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