Riding herd over a slightly different cattle drive

Heading home Tuesday after a long day at the ink mines, I am fast approaching my Rogue River exit when I spy with my two little eyes two big brown and white beasties in the back of a late model Chevy Blazer.

Awwww. I loves me some big ol' dogs. Don't tell the green-eyed moggy currently in residence at my little riverside cottage, but someday there will be a mastiff or two patrolling the perimeters of our particular God's little half-acre. Or perhaps he'll be a Saint Bernard. Maybe a harlequin Great Dane? At the very least a Newfoundland or a Great Pyrenees.

Peering into the SUV's tinted window, I can see one of the pooches nuzzling the other big-headed bubba. But I can't quite place the breed of canoodling canines.

"What kinda doggies are they?" I mutter, speeding up a bit on the Interstate hoping to get a clearer view.

That's when I realize I am actually looking at dogies.

Dogies? Yes, dogies. You know, long "o," one "g." As in baby bovines.

Immediately the theme from Rawhide begins earworming its way into my brain.

"Rollin', rollin', rollin'/ Though the streams are swollen/ Keep those dogies rolling/ Rawhiiiiiide!" (insert sound of cracking whip).

Well, I'll be hornswoggled!

Praying the vehicle will exit I-5 when I have to, I am thrilled to see it hit the turn indicator and head off the freeway. After all, this isn't something you see on the Pasadena freeway. Or even the New Jersey turnpike.

The two adorably goofy calves are peering out the big back window. They seem totally content in their travels. Like they're off on a Sunday drive with mom and pop.

"Who wants ice cream?"

Somebody is certainly hungry. One of the little moo-faces is sucking on his sibling's ear.

Are they Herefords? Guernseys? I sure hope they're not about to become veal piccata. Because I'm already bonding.

The SUV cruises on through the signal at the base of the off-ramp, then takes a hard left across the bridge. Elated to be able to continue following, I utter aloud a big "Whoops!" when one of the calves takes a tumble.

Across the Rogue River, at the stop sign at the far side of the Depot Street bridge, I can finally see the driver and passenger. The two men are peering through the doggy gate into the back of the SUV. The tumbled calf is still down. The still-standing calf is busy licking the inside of the window. Trying to get the nose prints off in order to better view the passing scenery, I suppose.

"Don't make me come back there, you two!" I can just hear it.

The Chevy pulls over about a quarter-mile up the highway. The passenger pops out and yanks open the back door and reaches in toward the calves.

I'm dying to stop because lord knows I have questions. But someone is riding my tail. And I continue on my way, left with a few pressing questions. Who takes their baby cattle for a joyride in the backseat of the family car? And why? But, most importantly, who's gonna clean up afterward?

Lest you think I'm being all Judgey McJudgerson, I'm not. It's not like I haven't carted home my fair share of farm critters by nontraditional methods.

There was the time out in O'Brien when I helped a pal wrangle a passel of peacocks up onto his truck bed and into a bailing-twice and chicken-wire cage. Or the time I rode shotgun from Eugene in that very same vehicle whilst a pair of four-legged kids bounced around in the back playing their own special version of The Great Crate Escape.

All I'm sayin' is, folks, we could simply hose that sucker down at the end of the trail.

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.

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