Managing the Menagerie Part III: Madame Hildegard

Today’s post comes from Cynthia in Mahtowa


  • I adopted a 7 year old female English Mastiff named Madame Hildegard Hanson aka “Hilde.”
  • Madame Hildegard 1; red rooster 0. Bad dog!!!!]
  • Exciting week for Madame Hildegard…sighted a deer, chased a rabbit and treed a bear. Oh, and nosed a human baby. The bear trumps all…
  • (Naughty) Hildegard 1: (a second) Rooster 0. .
  • Madame Hildegard continues to believe she is in charge of making sure we have chicken meat for meals. A hen this time. Currently in the crockpot.
  • Madam Hildegard thought it would be great fun to chase the horses; Ising the Icelandic thought it was even more fun to chase Madame Hildegard. Game over, no one hurt…
  • (Not so smart) Hildegard 0: Ising the Icelandic horse: 2 This time she showed Hilde her heels.


  • Madame Hildegard was in the horse barn tonight and did NOT bark at the chickens roosting 12 feet above her. Good dog, Hilde.
  • Madame Hildegard has traded her taste for chicken in favor of their eggs.


Hildegard at the lake
  • Day 1: Followed me to the edge of the water and stopped in shock as her feet hit the water.
  • Day 2: Followed me as deep as her belly, but when she lost her footing she tried swimming with just her front feet.
  • Day 7: A week at the lake with friends, Hilde learned to swim, to jump off the dock into the water and fetch a stick.


  • Hildegard fully integrated into farm family life.

What is your favorite pet tale?

39 thoughts on “Managing the Menagerie Part III: Madame Hildegard”

  1. bless you cynthia
    hilde needs the setup you offer and you obviously are game for the process. lucky pairing. she looks great and i wish you well

    dogs are great, cats are interesting (great to but so different.)

    integration as never been much of an issue for us. we adapt well and the animals are patient.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Right now the pet tale is helping our middle-aged basset figure out how to navigate the world as he loses his sight. He came to us when he was five already blind in one eye – he is now developing a cataract in the other eye (first one was retinal degeneration). Poor guy occasionally gets a bit lost in the back yard if he doesn’t follow the fence line and other landmarks the right way, steps can be dicey if the light is wrong (down is a lot worse than up – up he does as soon as his nose finds the first one). He is quite a dear and doesn’t seemed fussed about it. Yet.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. You didn’t describe his having problems running into walls but I was reminded of this clever device. There’s even a DIY video to go with it that shows how to make one. It works for a tiny chihuahua; I’m not sure how it would be for a lumbering basset.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Interesting device – wonder how it would work with the raised bowls we have for dear, blind Barney. One thing he does that it wouldn’t help with: walking behind an open door. He’s good at coming to a door and rather than walking through the open doorway, somehow missing slightly and walking behind the door towards the hinges…convincing him to back up and try again is sometimes a bit of a Keystone Kops affair.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Our Welsh Terrier is 13 and deaf with a bad heart murmur, but so full of terrier joy. She shows her happiness by jumping on the sofa, sticking her nose down the corner of the seat cushions and hoisting her rear end into the air, as though she is trying to stand on her head. Then she knocks all the throw pillows onto the floor.

    Liked by 5 people

  4. So glad that the Hilde saga has a happy ending. Bless you, Cynthia, for giving this big old gal a good home. You look good together.

    My love affair with wirehaired dachshunds began with Franny. She came to us from New York City via a breeder in Iowa. Her NY owners had failed to recognize that the reason they couldn’t housebreak her was a bad UTI, so they rehomed her. Once we cleared up the UTI, the problem was solved.

    Like most wirehaired doxies, Franny had no clue that she was a small dog. A docile old English sheepdog that lived at the end of our street was the object of Franny’s scorn whenever we walked by, and she once made the mistake of attacking another neighbor’s German shepherd.

    But on most occasions Franny was a lover and a singer. At our annual Christmas celebration, we’d all join hands and walk around the Christmas tree singing our traditional Danish and Swedish and Christmas songs. For good measure, in recognition of the fact that half the people we were celebrating Christmas with were Jewish, we’d also slip in several traditional Chanukah songs. It was all the same to Franny. She’d fling her head back and let go, full throttle. No Christmas/Chanukah celebration is complete without a dachshund chiming in on the Chanukah song.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Ta few. Lots of cats. Told most of the good stories. There was the Samoyed that worshipped Sandy as a goddess. Followed her reflection in pictures to see her in the parts of the house in which the dog was not allowed

        Liked by 1 person

  5. with the good press pets get from a threaputic point of view i am surprised that the retirement coop my mom lives in forbids them. i have a sister who is going to put her name on the list so she can get in 5 or 10 years form now but she wants the pet policy changed.
    i had thought how easy life would be to live in a coop type of enviornment and then something like this comes up and i realize what a bad fit i am for community mandates. associations make me cringe

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rise and Shie Baboons–sitting in Midway Airport enjoying your stories–Hilde looks like a happy girl and as if her life on the farm was an adventure. our plane is repaired and boarding. til later.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I was laughing as soon as I opened this, at the top photo, Cynthia. Glad you found each other.

    One year the squirrels were sampling lots of pears before they were ripe, and it looked like we weren’t going to get any, as had happened the year before. Joel was living back home, and enlisted Charlie the Cat, who would sit at the bottom of the big tree nearby, and wait to see if Joel would get the squirrel above with his bb gun. Sometimes one would fall right down within Charlie’s reach… Kind of gruesome, but we did get pears that year.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. An earlier Samoyed was named Baron. Beautiful boy but not the brightest bulb on the tree.

    When taking the dogs anyplace by car, my habit was to open the gate for myself, shut the gate behind me, open the hatch to the car, go back to the gate, open the gate, get the dogs by the leashes and let them jump into the back of the car.

    One day I thought “it’s not like they want to go anywhere else but the car; I should just open the gate and let us all go through together.” So I did. The dogs rushed past me; my Irish Setter put on the brakes almost immediately but Baron didn’t. I knew what was going to happen before it happened. He leapt right onto the closed window of the hatch and it was like a Saturday morning cartoon. He hit the window and kind of slid right off onto the concrete of the driveway. I fell down on the ground I was laughing so hard.

    Liked by 5 people

  9. Our current Welshie is the one who stole a taco off the kitchen table, a taco filled with jalepenos. I found her in another room, barking angrily at the taco,probably because she took a bite and it was very spicy and she was angry at it. She wouldn’t let me near the taco but she wouldn’t eat it, either. It seemed she was trying to protect me from it. She did the same thing when husband brought home a rubber chicken for her to play with. The chicken scared her and she barked at it and fretted and danced around it. We put it on a blanket on her dog bed and she carefully dragged the blanket and chicken off the dog bed, making sure she didn’t touch the chicken. She wouldn’t let us near the chicken, either, and growled at us when we tried to pick it up. I put it in a closet and she sat in front of the closet and barked and fretted so much that we took the chicken to the neighbors for their corgi to play with.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Our airdale, Bess, had a squeaky toy frog. She’d carry it around in her mouth, careful to not make it squeak. Don’t know is she thought she was hurting it if it squeaked or what, but she never played with it, just carried it carefully around the house.

      We also had a clown doll that had this sinister laugh when you pulled a string. Bess would go berserk whenever we’d take that doll out of the closet where it lived, and would try to attack it. It was as if she thought the clown doll was trying to hurt us.

      Bess was the dog that jumped off the flat roof of the building where husband had his wood shop; the one that ate all those Collin Street Bakery fruitcakes, the sheet of brownies on the top of the refrigerator, and a six month supply of heart worm pills in one sitting. By rights, Bess should not have lived a good, long life, she was hell bent on self-destruction – but she did. We found her dead in front of the fireplace the morning of Christmas Eve, she was twelve years old, and had died in her sleep.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. We renamed her when we picked her up at the Humane Society. Little did we know she was perfectly named already. Her name tag said “Bandit.”

          Liked by 2 people

    2. My prior basset hound did not like mylar balloons. Would skitter past them as only a basset can manage, growling and barking the whole time. The upside was that my housemates and I learned the best way to keep that hound away from things was to get a mylar balloon and place it nearby. One housemate wound up keeping a balloon tied to his bedroom door handle to keep her out (he was prone to leaving empty ice cream cartons in his garbage can…a true treat for any hound…couldn’t seem to retrain housemate to take his empty ice cream pints downstairs, so mylar balloons to retrain the dog…).

      Liked by 2 people

  10. My first cat, Franny, had a mysterious attraction to cigarettes. This was thirty years ago, and my sister was a smoker then. If she visited she’d have to keep an eye on her purse, or Franny would dig out the pack of cigarettes, extract one, and carry it in her mouth as if it were some sort of prey.

    When my sister quit smoking she gave me the remains of her last pack of smokes. I made Franny some furry mouse toys stuffed with cotton and tobacco. It was like catnip to her.

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I also kept the filters from the cigarettes and let her play with them. She would run around the house with a stubby filter in her mouth, like a little delinquent. I wish I had gotten a picture of that.

        Liked by 3 people

  11. Our first golden retriever, Teddy, was a 100- pound boy and as benign as his name suggests. For the first two years of his life, he never barked; I don’t think he knew he could. One day it just slipped out. He was as startled as anyone. He decided he liked it. Thereafter he barked joyously, as if it was a special trick he had discovered.
    One day, Teddy came in from the yard with a funny look on his face. His lips were pressed together in an odd way and he kept his head down, refusing to make eye contact. He had something in his mouth. When we pried his jaws open, out dropped a baby bunny– soggy, stunned, but otherwise perfectly OK. We put the bunny outside and, once he had recovered his equanimity, he hopped away.

    Liked by 3 people

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