I step out the door and the farm dogs snap to attention, keen to follow me to any destination. Their eager faces droop if I head for the car, but when I pass it, their ears perk up. Gizmo hops on his hind legs and spins in tight circlets of glee. Balio nuzzles his head under my mittened hand and nibbles on my thumb; an irresistible affection, uncorrected during infancy. They run a routine check on the pigs as we pass; muzzle to snout they snuffle secrets. Then Gizmo ambushes B with his expert herding skills, repeatedly bringing down a beast twice his size in braggadocio fashion. I wonder if he knows we know B lets him win.

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