It's been awhile. I'd forgotten what it's like to deal with a toddler's mentality. But yesterday I was reminded of how fickle toddlers can be. This toddler happened to be the four-legged kind, namely Patches, our Blue Heeler pooch. She is so funny and has such a personality. And she has added years to Tippy, our Border Collie. But yesterday was one of those touchy-feely moments where Patches received a life lesson. We're starting to calve and the dogs are not allowed to ride in the cow checking pickup. They can ride in the flatbed all they want, but the cow checking pickup is off limits. It's sometimes spooky enough for me to tag new baby calves what with Momma's temperament, but I definitely don't need two inquisitive dogs teetering on the edge of the pickup seat, hoping for a chance to bite a hunk out of Momma's leg or nose. So yesterday morning when I left to go check cows, Patches naturally assumed she could ride along. Tippy had already retreated to her dog house. She is old enough and wise enough to understand what time of year it is. But the spry, uninhibited little Patches dog just hasn't yet grasped that concept. I threw a glaring look her way and offered a firm "Stay", then I drove off, rather unassuming. So there I was, plodding along through the bulk of the cows as they munched on some delicious sorghum hay, tapping my fingers in rhythm with the Dixie Chicks (yes, there is a local radio station that still plays them and I do enjoy their music, despite their lack of common sense) and occasionally howling out a few lyrics. Suddenly, the cows are headed toward the pickup in an odd manner. I wonder what could be wrong when I look in the rear view mirror and spy Patches racing behind the pickup, trying to catch up. My only option was to let her in the pickup while we finished the checking rounds. As she effortlessly bounded into the front seat, I smacked her little fanny (no, I do not believe in time outs!) and seriously scolded her. She immediately cowered down and turned her head toward the passenger door, ears pinned as far down on her head as she could get them. She rode that way throughout the remainder of the trip. Not once did she even offer to look at me. I even stopped to check on a stock tank. She never bobbed that head one little bit...just stared at the passenger door. Well, now, this is something I haven't seen in nearly, oh gosh, a year? (Just kidding, sons!). They were pretty small when that last happened and even then there was always some type of comeback from one of them--the reasoning powers always kicked in. Patches didn't offer any type of reason or logic. She just likes to ride everywhere. We got back to the house and she skied over my lap without even shooting a glimpse my way, and bounded to the dog house. Tippy offered no sympathy. In fact, I could almost see her saying, "I told you so." This morning Patches obediently sat on her haunches and seemed to wave a sad goodbye as I left the yard in the cow checking pickup.