Does everyone in the universe own a dog nowadays? It would seem so by the number of folks I see out walking dogs in the morning and at night. People actually hire professional dog walkers. Have we gone too far?

We had lots of dogs on our farm, but rarely were they ever hooked to a leash or even a collar.

One only needs to travel up and down the thoroughfares of our cities and towns or to a festival or a fair to see people straining at the leash. I bumped into two such groups on our small community street last Saturday. The dogs they were trying to walk were straining to gain their freedom and their handlers were straining to keep them in check. Neither the dogs or their owners looked very happy.

I'm sure that this increase in dog life in the hinterlands has something to do with humans scrambling to get out of the large cities of our state and head for the woods where the "virus" seems safer. It isn't, but still people equate the outdoors with safety. And, they bring their dogs with them.

Dogs don't like social distancing very much. They want to lap you on the face and put their muddy paws on your clean shirt.

Our farm dogs lived the life of real dogs. They were attuned to the rhythm of the farmyard. When they heard a whistle, they came running for they knew that some critter had just escaped the pen and needed to be shown the way back in.

We had a potpourri of dogs of every breed on our homestead. There were shepherds, rat terriers, collies and some dogs of unknown origin. Some would bite and some would not. It was up to the person visiting the farm to determine which was which. Not always an easy task.

In his early days on the farm, my dad had a favorite dog named Sheppy. Sheppy was great at herding cattle and hogs and over time also eliminated the farm's cat population. But, dad thought Sheppy was worth keeping. That was until one moonlit night.

It was a fact that a pack of dogs had been harassing the neighborhood's cattle at night. A number of cattle had been chased through fences, doing damage to some of them. One full moon night, Dad decided to sit out near the barn with his shotgun to take care of a possible dog raid.

Around midnight he heard barking and howling and his herd of milk cows came streaming by the corner of the barn with dogs at their heels. Dad pulled up the 12 gauge shotgun and pulled the trigger on the first dog that came around. To his dismay, he found that he had sent Sheppy to dog heaven. The story was told many times at the neighborhood gas station, but no more dog trouble.

We've had a bluegrass festival in our community over the past years and dogs are allowed on leash. A few years ago I noticed an RV camper pulled into a camp space. There was an empty camper space next to it. I wondered why the space was empty until I discovered it was rented for the camper's dog.

Inside the space was a mini-trampoline, a merry-go-round, a wheel that the dog could run inside of and numerous items to keep the dog from getting bored. I don't know if the dog even liked bluegrass music.

I think we'll see a lot of dogs in the country this summer. They will be seen towing their masters up and down the streets and roads of our communities. We don't presently have a dog, and to tell the truth, we are not really missing one.

If I did have one, I would not take it to a bluegrass festival.

See you next time. Okay? Stay safe!