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Rig Dogs

God did some of His biggest work when He created dogs. They are, truly, man's best friend in every since of the word and I often prefer the company of a good dog over most loud, overbearing human beings. Actually, even a bad dog is better than a lot of humans.

The dog on the right was my favorite in a long life of dogs, she didn't care where she went as long as she was with Ms. Catherine and I. She loved the oilfield; always did her share of human meet and greets and protective cow duty; she was a good hand.

Dogs just want to to be included. So, very early in the history of the oil business, dogs and drilling rigs simply became, rig dogs.

Dogs will hang out in the dog house, sleep on a pallet, eat beenie-weenies and soda crackers with the other hands and are always up and wagging tails after a connection is made. They'll get stinking dirty on a rig and the best way to handle that is wipe 'em down the best you can before they jump in the front seat of your truck, then get them in the shower with you for a good scubbin.' You then get to have a cold beer, they eat... and all is right in the world.

Dogs often go along with any stupid thing you ask them to do for a good photo. This "driller" on the right has a lot more cranial capacity than a homo sapient driller I worked for in Louisiana one time. That son of a bitch was always barking like a dog.

The combined intelligence of the crew below is less than the sum of any single dog I ever met. Think I'm wrong, watch them on TV.

I drilled 75 wells over a two year period behind one rig and one tool pusher. I loved that rig and every hand on it, including the tool pushers Blue Healer.

The rig floor was separated from the dog house float and once in the wee-hours of the morning we had some electrical issues we could not sort out and somehow the entire dog house float got electrified for an hour or so. The tool pushers dog was upset about the entire matter and while following her boss from float to rig, grounded herself and lit up like a stop light at a street crossing. She was howling in pain and the hair on her back was burning. The tool pusher eventually tackled her and broke the connection. Poor girl; she had sore feet and would not come to the dog house to eat leftovers for two weeks after that.

When I was a kid on a big 2000 HP rig with a 40 foot floor the tool pusher use to shove his dog down the slide. The dog would pop up on the ground grinning from ear to ear and want to do it again.

Now days you can't take a dog on one of those big HZ rigs because companies are all so safety conscious they actually have safety police spying on you all the time. A few years back an H&P hand slipped on a peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich lying on the dog house floor in Dimmit County and broke his arm. The entire H&P fleet then had to get all new, non-skid surfaces everywhere and take a safety course about leaving PB&J sandwiches laying around. You have to wear an H2S monitor when you go to the porta-pottie and the damn thing is always going off, naturally. I think its the blue water. No dogs are allowed on any location anymore, a clear indication the oilfield is going to hell in a hand basket.

These yahoos on the left don't have themselves a rig dog, they've got a mangy, rig coyote.

The Border Patrol uses German Shepherds as drug dogs and they're smarter than hell, both entities. Workover rigs are always a good place to look for contraband down in the Texas Valley. This dog, above, can tell the difference in the smell of pipe dope and meth, 100%. Now THAT'S a talent.

Dogs need to be watched around pumping units as sometimes rats or field mice will jump out from under one and a dog will give chase and get his head under a set of counter balance weights. I've seen that happen with a couple of dumb cows over the years I had to pay for, and once saw a picture of a dumb teenager with his arm jerked off in a pumping unit. You can tell dogs... no! and they'll listen; teenagers apparently ignore danger, stay back signs like they can't read unless its on a g'damn cell phone.

There was a dumb candidate for Texas Railroad Commission that rode a pumping unit naked earlier this year, which should give you some idea of the quality of candidates for that important political position. The dumbest of the two candidates eventually won...we'd all been way better off with a Cocker Spaniel in office. They'll sometimes bury bones in the backyard in the name of "conservation," no such word at the Texas Railroad Commission.

Now days they allow rig dogs offshore, but they are not very affectionate, won't lick you in the face when it's time to go home, and don't eat roughneck ribeye (baloney) with the rest of the hands. At least these dogs won't crap in the yard.

This fella's name above is, Boonrod. He was plucked out of the open sea in the Gulf of Thailand, 135 miles offshore by hands on a Chevron operated drilling platform. He swam to the rig substructure and somehow was able to get onboard at the water line, exhausted. Nobody knew how he got 135 miles out to sea. He was well cared for, bathed, ate what he could and slept for three days before being taken back to shore by a rig tender and sent to the vet. Some floor hand then adopted him.

By the time he left the platform for his boat ride back to the beach he was a happy dog. Boonrod in Thai means, blessed survivor, by the way.

Atta boy, Boonrod !

I've not seen too many cats around a drilling rig, thankfully, because then a doghouse would have to be called a cathouse.

There are Cat engines, catwalks and lots of different kinds of cat heads, but no real cats I am aware of. Not too many oilfield hands eat a lot of tuna fish for lunch, that may be one reason.

Then, in some parts of the world there are rig camels, but I would have no idea what to feed them. They stink, I recall, and they'd have to ride in the back of the pickup bed, not in the front seat slobbering all over everything. It might not be a big deal in Kuwait City to see a camel riding in the front seat of a pickup truck with its head stuck out of the window; in Flatonia, however, it would cause quite a commotion.

I'll stick with good dogs who like their bellies rubbed. It's good therapy.

For both of us.


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