Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author Marty Essen

Rolling in cow shit

Marty’s photo of the day #4086: Remember the children’s stories about leprechauns and how they’d disappear if you blinked? Nellie has the same power when it comes to cow poop. Of all the dogs I’ve had over the years, Nellie rolls in shit less than any of them, so when she does it, she makes damn sure it’s a good roll.

Last year, at the American Prairie Reserve, Nellie’s grand roll caught Deb and me unprepared, and we had nothing other than river water to clean her up with. This year, we came prepared with soap, a wash cloth, and plenty of towels. Even so, we were being very careful to keep her from rolling.

Three days into our vacation it happened: We went on a long hike that took us through an area occupied by range cattle. Everything was fine for a few hours; then I pointed up to a hillside and said to my wife, “Are those elk up there?” And just like a leprechaun responding to a blink, Nellie made her move. She disappeared over a rise and plopped down into the most disgusting pile of cow poop within a five-mile radius!

We walked back to our yurt—trying to keep our affectionate dog at a safe distance.

This photo shows Nellie getting her post-roll mid-river bath. And, of course, even though Nellie loved playing in the Judith River, when that river became a bath, she thought it was the worst ten minutes of our vacation!

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