Eyes of Love

by Dave Hanks

Have you ever noticed a penny on the ground? Did you stop and pick it up? Many times I’ve stood by my school room and beheld a penny on the hallway floor. Students would invariably
pass over and not give it a second glance. They paid no attention to something they attached little value to. After a time, not wanting it to clutter the floor, I would rescue the coin and put it in a proper place. Where little value is ascribed, little observation occurs and poor understanding results.

When in the Registered Angus Cattle business, I cherished every cow in the herd. I could look at them lined up at the manger, from their back ends, and identify every individual and give a summation of each one’s traits. To others they all looked alike. But I had a deep love for Angus cattle and therefore noticed things easily. At a Utah State Fair, strolling
with my wife through the pavilion that housed art exhibits, we came upon a lady’s sculpture display. She had an excellent one of a bovine bull. She had titled it “Angus”. Though the
workmanship was very good, the title did not fit the subject. It was obvious that she had little real understanding of cattle. Wanting to know my thoughts, I was unable to convey to her that “feel” that was needed to have made the piece more authentic. An explanation that would be unnecessary to one absorbed with the subject matter.

My wife and I have developed an unbridled love for the natural world. Our eyes have been opened as a result and there has been a “snow-balling” effect. The more you notice, the greater the ability to notice becomes. When showing others slides of local birds and other life-forms, the comment always surfaces: “I’ve never seen any of those. Where have they been hiding?” It’s amazing – when the “covers” come off the eyes, things appear where they never were before. I’ve witnessed this marvelous event. New vistas of excitement, knowledge, and understanding results. Understanding breeds fondness. Understanding increases as fondness deepens.

Two people with an affection for each other, see things in the other person which the average observer cannot comprehend. Why is this? Because there is no one who
can view things with as acute accuracy as one who “looks through the eyes of love”!

Waldo

Have you ever had an animal in your life that left an indelible impression? Perhaps it was a wild one that crossed your path while on excursions in the outdoors. However, it’s more likely to have been a family pet of long standing. My family had such a one. His name was Waldo, and he has a permanent place in our memories.

I’ve always liked big dogs – especially big, friendly, shaggy ones like St. Bernard’s. This feeling was probably prompted by pictures and stories imprinted on me as a small boy. We never felt we had room for one until acquiring a cattle ranch in Montana. Magazines were studied, letters written, and plans laid to obtain one. All the way from Missouri to Idaho because Montana prohibited the shipping of pets.

The day finally arrived. Notice came that our pup had arrived and so I was off on a 80 mile jaunt to the train depot at Dubois. It was a happy station master that greeted me – glad to be rid of this thing that cried continually and begged for food. Besides, he was starting to form an attachment. Safely tucked in beside me as I drove off, his whimpering stopped. He was so glad to have an owner that he accepted me right away – licking my arm affectionately throughout the entire ride home. A great, big, wooly puppy with feet that looked four sizes too big -and was he hungry! He immediately drank over a quart of milk and his belly puffed out happily.

We were young, just fresh in the cattle business, and trying to economize. The first two years on our ranch we lived in a one room bunk house – renting the main dwelling in an effort to obtain living expenses. Well, Waldo was right at home, in fact the closeness of quarters was favored by him. He became such an intrical part of our routine that he could have been part of the family. We called him our anthropomorphic dog. The bunk house was crowded and so he slept close to our bed. Sometimes we would awaken to the feel of a wet tongue cleaning our ear, or a large face peering down into our own. My mother-in-law, upon visiting us once, was awakened in the same manner, much to her chagrin.

Waldo had a large area to roam and a mind of his own. St. Bernard’s are known for this. He was no exception. Maintaining discipline was sometimes difficult. We resorted to rolled-up newspaper spankings. He knew when he had broken the rules. A favorite ploy was to climb on top of the haystack. There he would be – sad eyes and drooling mouth looking down at us as if to say: “You won’t bother me up here”. Or he might be out mingling among the cattle -appearing as large as the calves he was interacting with.

Waldo loved people and especially kids. He was very satisfied to play with them, allowing them to climb on his back or to rough him up. Adults were not quite as receptive to him however. Two women, whose car had stalled one night, were walking across our front field to reach me to get some help. They were shocked into the present by a sudden, cold, wet nose appearing out of the darkness to press against their bare thighs. They then made rapid tracks to our house. Another neighbor, who daily regulated his water from the canal on our place, was afraid of big dogs. We never realized until years later the trauma he experienced each time he checked his water.

Once two missionaries drove into the yard in a small sports car. Noise permeated from the front of the house in the form of laughter. Rushing to the window, we were surprised to see Waldo with his front paws on the driver’s window ledge. His head was extended over the steering wheel in an attempt to lick a missionary’s face. I gave a mighty yell for him to stop but the results were most unexpected. The dog heaved his whole body through the window in a mighty leap into the back seat. A new experience, I’m sure, for the pair in that car that day. On another occasion a man in a truck with a small dog arrived in the yard. The little mutt proceeded to nip at Waldo’s feet. No problem – the cure? Totally encircling the other dog’s head in his mouth, he lifted him off the ground and shook him vigorously. When released, the poor wretch crawled up into the truck’s motor housing – not to appear until time to leave.

A degree of resiliency was exhibited by him at another time. Driving with a load of hay while he loped alongside, I made a sudden turn and caught him under the rear wheels. The total load moving over his hips. I was afraid that I had killed him but such was not the case. He disappeared for a week only to reappear, a little stiff, but recovering quite nicely.

Waldo was a dog of notoriety. People seemed to know him and to know him by name. My wife, on a shopping trip to town, left him in the truck while inside a store. Returning to the truck, she overheard two strangers who were passing by. Noticing the dog in the truck caused one to exclaim: “Hey, there’s Waldo”.

Several years later we sold our ranch and moved to Idaho. Waldo went with us. Living in a smaller more populated area just wasn’t the same and the dog suffered. In fact he didn’t last a year in his new home. Someone, who resented his presence, poisoned him.

We buried him below the garden under a big Weeping Willow tree. A sad day indeed! Since then we’ve had three other Saints: Brandy, Bengy, and Brutus. However, none were able to match the personality of our old original friend.

Eyes of Love

Have you ever noticed a penny on the ground? Did you stop and pick it up? Many times I’ve stood by my school room and beheld a penny on the hallway floor. Students would invariably pass over and not give it a second glance. They paid no attention to something they attached little value to. After a time, not wanting it to clutter the floor, I would rescue the coin and put it in a proper place. Where little value is ascribed, little observation occurs and poor understanding results.

When in the Registered Angus Cattle business, I cherished every cow in the herd. I could look at them lined up at the manger, from their back ends, and identify every individual and give a summation of each one’s traits. To others they all looked alike. But I had a deep love for Angus cattle and therefore noticed things easily. At a Utah State Fair, strolling with my wife through the pavilion that housed art exhibits, we came upon a lady’s sculpture display. She had an excellent one of a bovine bull. She had titled it “Angus”. Though the workmanship was very good, the title did not fit the subject. It was obvious that she had little real understanding of cattle. Wanting to know my thoughts, I was unable to convey to her that “feel” that was needed to have made the piece more authentic. An explanation that would be unnecessary to one absorbed with the subject matter.

My wife and I have developed an unbridled love for the natural world. Our eyes have been opened as a result and there has been a “snow-balling” effect. The more you notice, the greater the ability to notice becomes. When showing others slides of local birds and other life-forms, the comment always surfaces: “I’ve never seen any of those. Where have they been hiding?” It’s amazing – when the “covers” come off the eyes, things appear where they never were before. I’ve witnessed this marvelous event. New vistas of excitement, knowledge, and understanding results. Understanding breeds fondness. Understanding increases as fondness deepens.

Two people with affection for each other, see things in the other person which the average observer cannot comprehend. Why is this? Because there is no one who can view things with as acute accuracy as one who “looks through the eyes of love”!

(A favorite herd bull of mine)

(A favorite herd bull of mine)