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The Rancher

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It was the Rancher who brought you in. He's the one who put the collar on you. And he must have a reason, because the Rancher doesn't keep anything he doesn't have a use for.
Calamity to Dog on the Rancher in Alpha's Tale, page 34
Rancher
Pawprint
Affiliations
Current:
Past:
Longpaw Fangs[1]
Unknown
Description
Species
Breed
Gender
Human
Longpaw[2]
Male[2]
Names
Names Alpha: Rancher/Alpha[2]
Family
Family Unknown
Rank Positions
Rank Alpha[1]
Status
Status
Unknown
Book Appearances
Living Alpha's Tale
Dead N/A

The Rancher is a pale-haired[2] older longpaw with pale fur on his face,[1] and crinkled, sun beaten skin[2] in Alpha's Tale.

He is a tough longpaw who is quicker than he appears, training Alpha with a long pole. He is known for leading his Longpaw Fangs and maintaining a ranch that includes hens, horses and sheep and as the Alpha of the Longpaw Fangs Pack. His training is strict, using a metal choking leash or collar to make an unwilling dog obey, giving a treat if done properly.

History

In the Novellas Arc

Alpha's Tale

When Dog gets attacked by the Longpaw Fangs, one of them says that he should be killed, but another disagrees, and orders to wait for the Rancher. Dog realizes that the Rancher is a longpaw, and he is terrorized by this thought, but he passes out then.
Dog wakes up collared, meets Calamity, and asks why they didn't kill her. She responds that the Rancher brought him in, and put the collar on him, and that he must have had a reason to do so. Dog doesn't want to be of use to the Rancher, and wonders if the longpaw plans to eat him. After Dog eats, he sees a tall, upright shape on two legs appear at the door, and the wolf-dog freezes, realizing it is the longpaw, the Rancher. The Rancher walks to the pen and puts a paw on Calamity's head, and the longpaw looks at Dog. Dog looks back and notices the crinkled, sun-beaten skin with the sharp intelligent light in him. Something about the Rancher makes Dog realize that escaping won't be easy. There is pale fur on the Rancher’s face that causes Dog to wonder if this is an Alpha longpaw, as he seems to be the Alpha of the Fierce Dogs. Although he isn't quick, sleek, or muscled, Calamity still gazes up at the longpaw submissively. The Rancher utters a longpaw word, and she tucks her haunches swiftly under her and sits. The longpaw leans over the pen fence and Dog shrinks back, and the Rancher studies the half-wolf's body, causing Dog to feel nervous. The Rancher pats Calamity's head again and says more longpaw words, and Calamity whines in agreement. Dog wonders what he will do if the Rancher comes into the pen, but the longpaw only coughs again, pats Calamity's head, and turns and walks. Dog is confused on why the longpaw is leaving him there as a prisoner.
When Dog meets Sundance and the other Longpaw Fangs, he says that he is not one of them, but Zorro says that he will be, if the Rancher wills him it. Sundance adds that otherwise he will be put down so that he won't get up again with the loudstick. After the Fierce Dogs attack some wolves and come back to where he is, Belle says that the Wolf Pack have been driven into the mountains, and won't be back to raid the Rancher's sheep. After Dog learns that his Pack abandoned him, he thinks that Quick will come, but Calamity says that Quick has fled and left Dog here with the Rancher and them.
The day after, Dog wakes to see the Rancher in his pen, putting out fresh food and water. Dog begins to growl, because the Rancher took him from his Pack and sent his Fangs to kill Graceful. Dog springs at the Rancher, but the longpaw quickly turns and smacks a loudstick against Dog’s muzzle. Dog whimpers and the Rancher eyes him closely and fearlessly. His hide-covered fingers hold the stick, alert and ready. The Rancher is between dog and the food bowl, and Dog lunges, fangs bared, but Rancher roughly smacks his head with the stick again. The half-wolf yelps and the longpaw watches, lightly tapping the stick against one of this paws. Dog shuffles toward the food bowl, and the Rancher doesn’t hit him this time. Dog still eats as the Rancher quickly looses him from the wooden post, then puts new collar on. It is leashed, attaching Dog to the Rancher's paws, and it tightens when Dog turns. Calamity tells him that the Rancher is now his Alpha, and he must accept that and follow orders to stop the collar from squeezing him. The Rancher nudges Dog toward the pen’s open gate, and Dog wearily follows.
By the end of Dog’s first day, he hates the collar, and the Rancher doesn't let him move at all without being commanded to, otherwise the collar would tighten. Every time that the Rancher gave an order to Dog, Sundance would translate it for Dog and let him know what the Alpha longpaw wanted. After a few days, Dog begins to recognize some of the longpaw’s words, and by the full moon, he knows how to respond to them, feeling slightly triumphant that he no longer needs Sundance to translate the longpaw’s barks. He knows that heel means to walk beside the Rancher, sit means to sit, and no means to stop what he is doing. Dog can tell that the Fierce Dogs view the Rancher as their Alpha, as they always obey whatever he says, and he gives them something fine-smelling when they obey. Dog doesn’t beg, however, thinking that he won’t take the Longpaw Fangs Alpha’s rewards, and he hates the Rancher. However, somewhere in his bones he begins to feel a tug at the longpaw’s voice, and despite his struggle to respond, he knows that if he doesn’t disobey the Rancher, the collar won’t squeeze him.
After fifteen to twenty days, Dog begins to be glad of the Rancher’s effortful training, as it leaves him no time to think about his Pack’s abandoning of him. By the second full moon, when Dog follows the Rancher out into the meadow for training, it is as if they had been together for many moons, and Dog’s body always obeys the Rancher’s commands. As he walks beside the longpaw, he almost stops at the realization of the word obeying, but his legs move anyways, and he doesn’t even pause to listen to the Rancher’s order to sit. Dog sits down, tail tucked close, and looks up at the Longpaw Fangs’ Alpha. The longpaw’s face wrinkle in the way that Dog knows accompanies the patting and scratching gestures that the Fierce Dogs enjoy so much. The Rancher rummages through his sweet-smelling pouch, and offers Dog a piece of dry pig meat, which Dog gulps down. The Rancher leans so close to Dog that he could have snapped at his throat, but the wolf-dog no longer feels the urge to attack the longpaw. The Rancher takes off Dog’s squeeze collar, fitting on another, and he straightens and gestures to the far side of the field, telling him to fetch a rope. Dog bounds across the field without even questioning the Rancher’s command. When he reaches the far field, Calamity tells him that he will soon be a true Longpaw Fang, and Dog realizes that it won’t be so bad to work for the Rancher and be appreciated by a strong Alpha. He realizes that he would like to please the longpaw, and though his tail taps in enthusiasm at the idea, he is horrified somewhere in his gut.
Several moons later, after Wolf becomes a member of the Pack, one day he returns to the shed, and pricks his ears at the sight of the Rancher, who waits for him to clip his leash to the wall. However, the longpaw settles Sundance, Zorro, and Belle, then turns to Calamity and Wolf and orders them to heel, and Wolf is instinctively on is paws, walking at the Rancher's side as he leads them out of the shed. The half-wolf asks Calamity what's happening, and she answers that they will stand guard, meaning that the Rancher completely trusts him. Wolf is pleased that his Alpha is confident in him. The Rancher stops and pats their head, offering them a treat from his pouch before heading to his home.
After Wolf fails to attack the coyote who kills the chicken, Sundance raises the alarm, and Wolf knows that he is summoning the Rancher. The longpaw hurries from the house with a beam of light in one paw, and Wolf realizes that he hesitated too long, and the Rancher will chain him up again. Sundance snarls at them that they let down their Alpha.
After Wolf and Calamity get their punishment scars, the barn door opens and the Rancher praises Sundance, then closes the door again. After the other Fierce Dogs leave Calamity and Wolf alone, Wolf notices that the door barn door isn't latched, as the Rancher knows that his dogs would never run away. When he tells Calamity that he will leave, and asks her to come with him, she says that she can't, as the Rancher, Sundance, Zorro, and Belle are her family and her Pack.
Later, when Wolf is on his own, he thinks that it is better to be alone than to be back with the Rancher.

Quotes

"[The Rancher's eyes] were crinkled in the longpaw's sun-beaten skin, and there was a sharp intelligent light in them. Dog's hide tightened and his leg muscles shivered. Something about the Rancher told him that escape from this place was not going to be easy."
—Dog seeing the Rancher for the first time Alpha's Tale, page 51


Dog: "I'm not one of you."
Zorro: "You will be. The Rancher wants it, so that's what will happen."
—Zorro about the Rancher Alpha's Tale, page 50


"The Rancher is your Alpha now, Wolf. Just accept that, and do as he tells you. The sooner you learn it, the sooner the collar will stop squeezing you."
—Calamity to Dog about the Rancher Alpha's Tale, page 65


"It was obvious to Dog that [the Fierce Dogs] really did see the Rancher as their Alpha. At the first sound of his voice, each dog would leap to obey, and when they'd done what he asked, he gave them a something fine-smelling from a pouch at his side."
—Dog's thoughts on the Longpaw Fangs and the Rancher Alpha's Tale, page 67


"I won't take his stinking rewards. I hate him, and I hate his Fangs."
—Dog's thoughts on the Rancher Alpha's Tale, page 67


"And it was strange, but somewhere deep in his bones he began to feel a tug at the sound of the Rancher's voice. He struggled against the urge to respond, desperately trying to resist, to remind himself that he was a wild wolf... but without disobeying so that the Rancher would use the squeeze collar or give him another sharp tap across the muzzle with his stick."
—Dog's thoughts on the Rancher Alpha's Tale, page 69


"When [Dog] followed the longpaw out into the meadow for his training, it was as if they'd been working together for many moons instead of just one. The Rancher gave a command, and Dog's body obeyed it."
—Narrator on the Rancher Alpha's Tale, page 70


"Would it be so bad to work for the Rancher, to do his bidding and hear his voice praise Dog for a job well done? To be appreciated by a strong Alpha? I'd like to please the Rancher.'"
—Dog's thoughts on the Rancher Alpha's Tale, page 72


"[The barn door] wasn't latched or locked; the Rancher knew his dogs would never run away. He was their Alpha, wasn't he?"
—Dog's thinking about the Rancher Alpha's Tale, page 88


"This is my family. The Rancher. Sundance and Zorro and Belle. Whatever else they are, they're my Pack."
—Calamity to Wolf about the Rancher and her Pack Alpha's Tale, page 89

References and Citations

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Revealed in Alpha's Tale, page 34
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Revealed in Alpha's Tale, page 36

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