Most people who have had pets have had one that stands out, not that the animal has been more loved, but has just been more memorable. Buford was that dog for me. He wasn’t an inside dog nor a porch dog, he was a go-along dog. He was always willing and wanting to perform chores with us around the farm.
Buford came to reside at the Farm before I was born. As with most things growing up on our farm, he went by many names, Red Dog, Sport, and Boof. The story as it was relayed to me is that on the way home from somewhere Dad stopped to literally see a man about a dog and he came back with a small red pup. Many stories are told about Boof by any of my siblings as he was a pup when the older brothers and sisters were at home and lived a very honorable 18 years and passed peacefully in the Barn when I was in my teens.
This dog loved going places and was very adept at self-loading himself into the backs of pickups or trailers. We would take him many places and the old hound would stay around until time to go back. For the most part, he was a well-mannered dog that guarded against varmits, left the livestock alone, but on occasion lent himself to shredding wood, namely on the farm buildings where he could get a hold with his teeth.
One of my favorite stories with this companion is bailing hay. Our main bailing set up at the time consisted of the Fordson Major (Bluebird), the International 55W wire tie bailer, and four pull behind bale trailers.
The trailers would be hooked behind the bailer and towed around the field with hand stacking the hay as it fed out the chute. Buford was always jumping to whatever trailer that was to be used at any given time and would ride for the duration of the cycle.
The story that follows happened nearly every time we bailed hay. Buford would jump on the trailer hooked behind the bailer. We would go about stacking the hay, roughly 5 or 6 bales high and stacked clear to the front of the trailer till there was no room to stand, boosting the final few bales on the very top. Buford would ride along, jumping up on every successive layer until he was on the very top. What he never remembered was the old adage "what goes up, must come down". After the trailer was stacked to the gills, Mother would pull the bailing rig to the side clear of any un-bailed windrows and we then would pull the hitch pin, leaving the loaded trailer to retrieve later to be un-loaded in either the barn, or a stand-alone stack.
We then would progress to the next empty trailer, back up, hook up, and start the whole process over again. Boof would be stuck on the top of the trailer full of hay, tail wagging, with a look of puzzlement on his face. As we would pull into the next windrow we could see him and hear his growls, grunts and yelps, and he could see was our grinning faces as we would progress further down the field. After a while, with all sorts of excitement, he would search for the most advantageous route down which required him lowering himself down as far as possible while hanging on with his rear haunches. Then with his front legs stretching down over the side of the hay until he felt comfortable, he would jump the rest of the way to the ground. With renewed excitement, he'd shake himself off, start running towards the current rig, jump on, and would start the whole process over again. This could happen several times a day, all with the same results.
When it was time to move trailer to the stacking location, he would follow the Merry Harris (our Massy Harris 44 gas) to the loaded trailer, and while hooking up, Boof would circle the trailer barking and looking for a place he could jump back on. Most times however, he had to settle on trotting alongside the trailer. He then would follow us to the unloading location and would end up sitting under the trailer in the shade or in the Barn panting until we were finished, then he would jump back on the trailer and then back with us to the field to finish the the rest of the baleing.