It is my opinion that just about everyone, male or female, should grow up with a dog. Especially if you spend more time outside than in as I did and still try to do. A cat? I guess they are alright and interesting to watch but I never had one that would go with me and join in what I was doing like a dog does. True we always had a dog and in the day and age of which I speak that did not bode well for a cat around the house. Oh if they were smart and could avoid the dog, stayed out of sight and out of harms way, we did not mind them being there and keeping the rat population down but dogs could and would do that as well so if the cat wasn’t there it was no big thing.
Now our dogs were of a very specific breed and there was no doubt a lot of thought put into which one we had at any given time during my growing up periods. You know like whatever one someone else had decided they no longer wanted and went to the trouble of driving 15 miles out of town and dropping off near enough to our house that they would find their way to us. If they did not fit in or were not needed I am pretty sure they got another ride and the opportunity to visit with someone else. Dad no doubt saw to that. ( Is that satyre or tounge-in-cheek)
We did not buy dog food! They had to provide for themselves or make do with whatever was left over from our meals and there was not a lot of that. Self sufficiency was an important part of their lives as well as ours. They did not live in the house either! Not dogs or cats if they were around. The house was for people, you didn’t live with animals that just wasn’t done . At least by people in our socio-economic circles. Nice word isn’t it? What those in town people did was up to them. They were a little strange anyway.
That rule changed too after I went in the service. When I came back from my little 13 month camping trip that Uncle Sam provided so many of us with during that time there in the front seat between mom and dad were two small Chihuahuas. Nasty little buggers as far as I was concerned. Bark and growl at anyone that came close to mom and dad and yes bite too if given the opportunity.
I was accustomed to real dogs and these did not quite qualify! The purpose for having dogs was many fold. You knew well ahead of time is something or someone unknown was around. Things such as mice and rats didn’t last long with them there. Coons and possums didn’t bother our chickens and rabbits and stray cats probably came in that category as well. But to me their most import role was just to be there for me. Someone to run and play with. Maybe go chase a rabbit or go exploring with you and provide a little early warning if you were about to walk up on a snake. Oh I had siblings still at home. A brother 4 years older. All he was interested in was GIRLS. A sister 8 years older, way to old to be chasing rabbits and climbing trees and she wasn’t allowed to anyway. And another brother six years younger. He was just a baby when boots and I or even Tippy were out and around.
Anyway we always had at least one dog around the house. I know at times there was more than one and I know we had more than the few that I remember but these, for many different reasons were special enough for me to remember. There was the Great Dane that showed up one day. A huge dog to me as a 6 or eight year old. Friendly and playful and just awkward enough to be funny and graceful enough to be impressive all at the same time. He didn’t last long though. He eats too damn much I remember dad saying and off he went in the back seat of the car. Rex was the next one I remember. My memory makes me think there was a lot of Chow in him. Long reddish hair with a yellowish ruff or band around the neck. His mom was a stray that had lived in the orange grove for a while. Probably dropped off when the previous owners found out she was pregnant and they did not want pups to deal with. We had a lot of rain and some flooding and while dad was out walking the grove heard a whimpering and found this puppy that he brought home and we raised.
He actually saved my younger brothers life. FOR REAL! On one of those rare occasions that I was in the house for a few minutes in walks my younger brother, not much more than a toddler. Dripping wet and just busting to tell us how he had fallen into the canal that was beside our house and swimmed out as he put it. He could not swim and both mom and I knew it and at the front door stood Rex dripping water as well and as mom was checking Richard over we noticed the imprint of a dogs muzzle complete with holes for the teeth in the back collar of the t-shirt my brother was wearing. Rex had pulled him from that canal.
Then there was Ring Eye. Actually he or she, whichever, is my earliest remembered family dog. A Dalmation or firehouse dogs as they were often called then because they were seen riding in the firetrucks in towns large enough to have one and by people wealthy enough to have a TV, with reception, to see them on. Ring Eye was an unusual but not very imaginative name by us. He did have a black ring around one eye made up of one of the black spots that adorns their coats with one eye pretty much in the middle of it. I actually have a picture of that dog with my older brother that if I can find I will try to put in for you to see. (Nope can’t find it)
that would be her, he in this photo I found on line, but add the white star to the chest and white tip on the tail
But a little later came Tippy. I mentioned Tippy in http://hobbyfarmlife.com/hobby-farm-boy-sees-a-panther/ . For the time that she was around we did everything together. A Manchester Terrier is what she was, or at least that is what dad said, and that was good enough for me. Solid black except for a white star in the middle of her chest and white on the tip of her tail. That of course is where the name Tippy came from. I told you we weren’t very imaginative. Not a large dog, maybe fifteen lbs. Probable a little smaller than the breed is today. We seem to want everything either larger or smaller than what nature makes it anymore. She really did not have much of a vocabulary and absolutely did not know the meaning of the word fear. She would hunt and catch anything. In retrospect I am kind of glad there were no bears left in our area. I wasn’t a lot smarter than she was then, maybe not now either, and we could have wound up in DEEP doo doo. If she went after it I went with her.
Looks pretty much like a regular ole house cat doesn’t it. Remember what is said about looks being deceiving? Here it is. About the same size as Tippy but legs not as long and tough and MEAN.
Possums, not even a challenge. Coons could usually hold their own till they found a tree to climb that she couldn’t but if the branches were low enough to the ground and close together she would follow them up the tree. Even a Wild Cat the one time she found one. Mind you now I am not talking about a house cat that has been dropped off or living wild of necessity but a Wild Cat. Different species but every bit as viscous and more so than the common house cat. What a day. Almost got a whipping for that one. But If you want more of that story you will have to come back when I have time to write it. BUT
Today I have to get up and run some hot wire to keep cows in or out of the yard and out of the barn. See it is late winter or early spring according to the temperature and I am about out of hay here on our little Hobby Farm and around the barn yard there is grass that has been there all winter getting ready for spring so I am going to let them in to graze on that for a while to get it down and stretch the remaining hay.
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For Now, Thanks for stopping in and hope you enjoyed it. And BY THE WAY’; I am aware there is an O in front of possum but there wasn’t for me then and to be honest there still isn’t. Bob
This is Bobby and Boots. Bobby is the one in the white shirt. I did not even remember boots in the story telling until I found this old picture. Bobby is who I was back then and still am to some people.