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Dogs I Have Known

By David13676 @dogspired

Dogs I Have Known

My Grandpa Charlie’s favorite story was about the Billy Goats Gruff, in which trolls hid under a bridge and attacked anyone who walked over it. We were sure there were trolls living underneath the bridge between our house and in the woods. They would come down the road from town and come after us boys. But we had protection, our dog Spot. Spot kept us safe from all threats. When we ran across the area with Spot, we never ever saw a single troll.

The men who attended the Christian missionary’s weekly revival meetings got really excited by the hellfire and damnation sermons. They drank Moonshine whiskey to help forget the promised hell they were going to go to. Sometimes, they wandered down the road toward our house, but Spot scared them off. He protected our whole family. When we moved to another town, we left Spot to protect Grandpa Charlie.

My dad’s new boss gave us a cranky female cocker spaniel that he thought would be better living with a family. It didn’t work. She still tried to bite people. When she came into heat, the neighbor’s dog did what dogs naturally do, and she became pregnant. When she had the puppies, Dad gave away all of them, except the only black one. He named her Blackie, of course.

When we moved to a dairy farm in Washington, Blackie came with us. He never caught any of the birds or squirrels he chased. Our cows wouldn’t run away from him, but instead they chased him. When Blackie tried to chase cats, he got his nose ripped, so he left them alone. The barn cats that lived there kept out unwelcome critters, like rats and mice, and they were not friendly toward anyone. Yet from time to time, one or two cats would go to sleep next to Blackie.

Blackie liked to sleep a lot and not do much of anything else. Then, a small and feisty Chihuahua named Pot-Liquor showed up. He humped legs, cats, other dogs, and anything else that took his fancy. One day, he tried to hump a cow that was lying down in the barnyard. The cow watched him for awhile, and then twitched her tail. The Chihuahua went flying. He tried again a couple more times before giving up. In that small body was a lot of misplaced ambition!

Chasing cars became even more fun for Pot-Liquor. Dumb old Blackie went right along with him. Since It was about 100 yards from the house to the road, the two dogs rarely got close to the cars. But Pot-Liquor learned to lead the cars so he would arrive at the road just as the car got to the same spot. Blackie followed right behind him. They never caught a car until one day, Pot-Liquor did. The car ran over him while he tried to bite the tire.

Just because Pot-Liquor was no longer around, it didn’t stop Blackie from chasing cars. Just as Pot-Liquor had done, Blackie caught up to a car and tried to bite a tire. Poor Blackie got run over too. We missed them both, Pot-Liquor because of his antics, and Blackie just because we liked him, even though he seemed rather dumb.

I left our farm after high school, and in time I got married and became a father. My wife and I didn’t want to raise our kids in the city, so we moved to a small hobby farm. We brought along our big tomcat, Sam. This city cat learned to go after anything that moved, even into the water-filled drainage ditches around our property. Nearly every day, he would bring in a dead mouse or rat as a present. He became quite scruffy for a cat, but we forgave him because he was such a great hunter.

A friend of ours rescued Snoopy, a dog that was being abused by his owners. When Snoopy came to live on our farm, he was afraid of just about everything. At his first opportunity, he ran away. We found him after hours of searching, hiding underneath a bush, scared stiff. In time and with kindness, he got used to living on the farm. I would take him for walks through the grass and back into the woods. Snoopy wasn’t very big, so he could not see above the grass. He would run out ahead of me and disappear. Then he would jump straight up so that his head was high enough to see where he might go next.

Snoopy and Sam became great friends. Both of them liked to sleep in the sun next to the wall of our house. Snoopy followed Sam whereever he went, even into the water-filled ditches. While Sam caught many little critters, Snoopy never caught anything until he began imitating Sam by creeping along on his belly, stalking, and then pouncing on a vole or a mouse just as a cat would.

One day, Snoopy actually caught a young rat. Just like Sam, he brought the rat back to our house as a present. But the rat was still alive! Snoopy wagged his tail and dropped the rat. When it tried to run away, Sam stopped it and batted it back to Snoopy. Finally, Sam gave up trying to teach Snoopy what to do, and just ate the rat himself.

A female dog lived on another small farm just down the road. When she came into heat, Snoopy went visiting. He didn’t come home that evening, so the next morning I went looking for him. I found him dead, halfway between the neighbor’s house and ours. The twelve-year-old boy that lived there had been told by his dad to take care of the place, so when he saw what was happening, he grabbed his father’s gun and shot Snoopy. We grieved for Snoopy for a long time. He was a city dog that had adapted well to country life. It was a much better life than one that was limited to the inside of a city apartment and subject to serious physical abuse.

I have not had a dog since. I did live with a cat for many more years afterward (I loved her too). When she finally left this world, I grieved again for a friendly trusting animal. I live alone now, without an animal companion. Maybe one of these days I will find a critter that I can care for again. That would sure be nice.

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