It was a dark and stormy night…

So many horrendous pieces of fiction have begun that way some brilliant folks began a contest.

But the truth is that Martha the Farm Dog did arrive at our farm on a dark and stormy night in Cherokee County, Oklahoma. The quick back-story is that a pack of dogs arrived to menace our dogs and Martha arrived with them and stayed. Martha is petrified of storms so it’s easy to imagine her huddling in a corner of the porch shaking with fear on that fateful night.

In the early months Martha, who for a few weeks was called Molly, was quite cute. She loved to cuddle and followed us everywhere with her funny little waddle and a head too small for her round torso.

Martha the Terrible is mock fierce. She makes a tremendous racket barking at any and everything. Visitors always comment on her chubby form and the noise she creates. She’s both irritating and lovable. When an indie film crew visited our farm a few years ago, she became a star and was in the opening scene of their film. Martha the Star.

We should’ve known there was more to her than meets the eye. Honestly we’ve always thought of Martha as not very bright. All that rural inbreeding creates some real wonkiness in the genes of wild dogs. Her teeth are more crooked than any dog I’ve ever seen, her coat is best described as mutt-like, as is her demeanor. I’ve already mentioned her misshapen body/head feature. She simply can’t fetch – she’ll race after any stick or rock you throw but bringing it back to you to throw again won’t happen. Amazingly Chris did manage to teach her to sit. The simple command works half of the time. We’re happy with that.

For the past week and a half we’ve been living at the new house on the farm (albeit without furniture). All three of the dogs have been over to the new place (which is in sight of the old farmhouse and something in the way of a two minute walk). During the building process they caused a ruckus when each contractor arrived. Martha was usually the only one to hang around though – she likes being around people. I think it has something to do with the scraps of food they toss to her and that few people can resist petting her despite her oddities – or maybe because they’re endearing.

What has surprised us though is that now that we’re not living in the old farmhouse the dogs aren’t visiting the new house. When Chris’s father isn’t at the farmhouse, we walk over and feed the dogs. They get happy and excited to see us but that’s about it.

The other day Chris looked out the window on the front door of the new house and there sat Martha facing him. She was rewarded with loads of hugs and head rubbing. This weekend Chris’s father noticed that Martha wasn’t sleeping on the farmhouse porch with the other two dogs. She’s sleeping in the barn – direct center between the two houses. Now for the not-so-bright Martha to be the only canine to pick up on this I’m quite impressed. So impressed I’d give her a treat if we hadn’t put her on a diet recently.

Just for fun here’s a recent shot of Martha the Menace in the creek begging for someone to throw a rock she can chase. It makes no sense – but she loves it beyond reason.

Tomorrow is the official moving day for all of our furniture – thankthegods!

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