Trailer and hay going with the dogs |

Trailer and hay going with the dogs

by F.T. Norton

Ty and Joe are good cow dogs, but a car thief who made off with their master’s truck late Friday night in Quincy, Calif., proved the border collie duo could never cut it in a junkyard.

“(Jay) doesn’t believe in having a mean dog. He might change his thinking on that one,” Mike Cook said of his boss Jay Grubbs, truck and dog owner.

It was Friday night when Grubbs, a cattleman, stopped at the Bucks Lake Lodge for a bite to eat. He summers his cattle at Bucks Lake in Quincy, Cook said, and winters at his home in Oroville, Calif.

In the lot, Grubbs parked his Ford F250 with a 20-foot trailer loaded with hay.

Ty was in the cab, while Joe kept sentry in the back of the truck.

Grubbs left the keys in the ignition.

“It’s just one of those bad habits we all do up here,” Cook explained.

At some point, perhaps between the prime rib special and dessert, the bandit made his move, driving off in Grubbs’ truck with trailer and pups in tow.

Cook said his boss didn’t notice right away there was a gaping hole where his vehicle once was. And when Grubbs, 62, did finally notice around 10 p.m., he thought his crew was razzing him.

“But it was gone,” Cook said.

They filed a police report and turned in for the night.

Grubbs was worried, though.

“You could tell he was little upset. He was concerned about his dogs,” Cook said of his even-tempered boss. “He said you can always replace the pickup, but good cow dogs are kinda hard to come by.”

About 12:30 a.m. Saturday and 130 miles away, Carson City deputies Brian Morton and Brian Humphrey were patrolling North Carson Street when they spotted a truck and trailer topped with a teetering load of hay in the parking lot of a Shell gas station.

Its headlights were on, the driver’s door was open and silver keys dangled from the ignition. Perched in the front seat was Ty, and standing timidly on the truck-bed tool box was Joe.

“We were a little intimidated by them at first. They appeared scared,” said Morton. “But we put our hands up to the one in the back. He was real hesitant to come near us. Then he let us pet him and started to wag his tail. He felt better. They were sweet dogs.”

The deputies watched the vehicle for awhile after learning it was stolen, but no one wandered back. After an hour, they called California authorities, who contacted Grubbs.

“We got in my pickup and headed over,” Cook recalled. “It took us three hours to get there.”

On the way they spotted bales of hay along the curves of the road.

“They lost about half the load on the turns,” he said.

When they arrived in Carson City the news was good. The truck was not damaged, all Grubbs’ belongings were still inside and the dogs were OK.

“They were just sitting right in the pickup and they were happy to see us,” Cook said.

The cattlemen rested for a short while, then began their trek back to Quincy. Cook drove alone in his truck and Grubbs was reunited with Joe and Ty in his.

But there was no rest for the weary crew.

“We spent the rest of the day collecting hay off the side of the road,” Cook said.

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.