Macie, our Australian Shepherd that we adopted in 2011, is part of the inspiration behind the Dog Treat that is named after her. We adopted her as a 4 month old puppy who had been rescued, along with three of her siblings, after being abandoned at a garbage dumpster in Tennessee. Like most pets, she has become a big part of our family and we love her very much. She is not a service dog; she is not a police dog. She is just a normal family pet. But just like any other dog… she has done some really cool stuff.
Macie and Striper
About the same time we adopted Macie as a 4-month-old puppy in the winter of 2011, a beautiful striped cat appeared in the woods behind our house. Our house is a little bit isolated and we get quite a few drop offs and lost animals. It seemed as if this cat was returning to a feral state because it would run back into the woods even if it saw one of us in a window. I began leaving food and water out for the cat and eventually noticed that it was beginning to eat the food at night when I carefully looked out through our porch window. I began to call the cat “Striper” because of its markings. My daughter and wife are always amused at the simplistic names that I come up with and this was no exception. Even though I was feeding Striper on a regular basis, it was still not possible to get within 200 feet of him. After some time, we noticed that when we would let Macie out, she would catch glimpses of her playing with Striper. They would often walk together in the woods or drink from our pond, but, as soon as any one of us went outside, Striper would run away. This went on for nearly two years. Over time, Striper was eventually able to stay at the bottom of the steps while Macie walked indoors. One evening, Macie looked back at Striper while coming inside, stopped, as if she was asking Striper to come indoors, then turned and walked inside disappointedly. The very next night, Macie did the exact same thing, as if to say, “It is really kind of nice in here, come on in.” I decided to give Striper some room, and Striper ran past me, into our house and hid underneath the dining room table. He stayed there all night and in the morning, I left the doors open and he ran out twice as fast as he ran in. The next night, events were repeated. The next morning Striper had no interest in returning to the outdoors. In fact, there was a sudden transformation that day into an unbelievably affectionate cat. The only downside to this story is that within one week of moving indoors, Striper picked up about 5 pounds. Outside living was not for him, and Macie knew it. Striper has Macie to thank for his current situation and to this day, they are great companions.
Macie and Tough Guy
While I was on my way to work one day, I noticed a rooster nervously pacing on a stretch of road that runs through a heavily wooded area that leads to our facility. The nearest farm is about a mile away so I figured that this rooster is lost in a pretty serious way. Two days later, the rooster was still hanging in the same area. It was pretty impressive for this guy to last so long in woods that is home to coyote, fox, raccoons, and bear. I have always been quite partial to roosters since my last name means “roosters” in Italian. For that reason we named our parent company, Smiling Rooster Farm.
Since this poor guy was definitely out of sorts, I decided to rescue him. I went back home and retrieved my largest fishing net and asked my daughter to help me catch him. When we arrived to catch the rooster he knew something was up and began to run. After running no more than 6 feet, a vine lassoed his leg and we were able to net him and place him in a dog carrier. When we brought him to our home, we released him in our carport area. I was a bit cautious because this rooster had spurs the size of my thumb, but he seemed un-phased and seemed to settle in immediately. In fact, when we went in our house to find a bowl to give him some water, he began to follow us and attempted to come inside. He was a real proud looking rooster… so I named him Tough Guy. Tough Guy settled in right away and established his nightly roost in our garage. Right off he was more of a dog to us than a rooster. He would come running when we called him. He was completely free range and during the day, he would visit our hens that we kept protected from foxes and coyotes.
Now Macie has found her special spot on a couch that is the perfect height so that she can look out a row of casement windows with a view of the back yard. One day she began barking frantically and was almost trying to jump through the window. My daughter, Jackie, screamed that there was a fox dragging Tough Guy into the woods. I ran to the door and let Macie out and she streaked to where Tough Guy was being mauled by the fox and feathers were flying. She immediately went for the fox and chased it away and stood by Tough Guy until I came on the scene. Tough Guy was pretty torn up, but I was able to patch him up with a few bandages and some gentian violet. Macie saved his life and Tough Guy went on to live 2 years after that run in with the fox.
In the summer of 2016, Tough Guy was responding to a ruckus by the hen cage and his rooster instinct took hold of him and he was off to protect them. A bear was stirring things up and unfortunately Tough Guy didn’t appreciate the size difference. The bear got a hold of Tough Guy and carried him away. When we discovered what happened, we got Macie to find Tough Guy’s body in the woods. My daughter and I were really torn up over the whole thing. We buried Tough Guy by the hen fence where he always used to hang out during the day.
I can’t imagine ever having another rooster like Tough Guy. Thanks to Macie, we had a few good years with him.