Writing about dogs seems to be the thing these days, and who in the world am I to buck such a trend?
First, it must be understood that, in The Community, no one ever heard of buying a dog. Pay money for a dog? My goodness, someone was always trying to give them away. For instance, take my first dog, old Bounce. This semi-wild female roamed about the community. She gave birth to a litter in an old cotton house at the bottom of the hillside field, next to the deep, deep gulley.
Want one? Well, we didn’t have a dog at the moment, so I picked one, kind of black and tan, mostly feist. Buy a dog? Only a few bird hunters would do such a thing. I suppose Uncle Jeff bought June, a sweet English Setter, who must have been often exasperated at mine and Ross’s misses. And cousin Hot, you know, Aunt Clara’s boy, had old Jill. I suppose they paid for him.
Anyway, you’d get a dog, hoping it would be s good squirrel dog, or a ‘possum dog, or a coon dog. To tell the truth, I don’t believe Bounce could smell any better than I could. We’d try our best to sneak off without him, but, first thing you knew, he’d be splashing around in the creek, scaring every squirrel anywhere around.
But, it was nice to have him around. He ate the scraps of what we ate. Once in a while, he’d get too close to a highland moccasin and get his head all “swole” up. We’d feed him lard. That was supposed to cure the bite, and it always did.
I was mean to him, I’m sorry now to admit.
We took a load of corn and velvet beans to Sulligent, about ten miles away, to get them crushed into an excellent feed. It was an all-day trip in the wagon. I hollered and yelled and did everything to make Bounce stay at home, but a mile or two up the road, here he came. The sweet thing to do was to let him ride in the wagon. No, I told you to stay home. Walk. And he did, every step of the way, engaging in a few skirmishes with other dogs along the way.
It was nice, in the springtime, to have him around. I’d be plowing in the field, and he’d be chasing rabbits around the edge. I don’t think he ever caught one, but he had fun chasing them, and it sounded good.
I don’t believe this for a moment, but my brother, who is a rocket scientist, so he ought to know, swears that, the night before I’d come home at the end of the quarter or something, Bounce would howl all night.
I know. I don’t believe it either. Later on, Daddy had a wonderful little dog named Spot. He and Daddy could read each other’s thoughts. Daddy could just motion with his head or hands, and Spot would run around to the other end of the barn to drive some cow on into her stall.
And Spot loved to play around the little swimming hole nearby, especially when kids were around. He would run out on the diving board, and at a signal from Daddy, he’d jump right in the middle of the kids. They all loved it; Spot, especially, the ham.
There were many others. Dogs would just appear, and for the price of some leftover cornbread, they were yours.
Buy a dog? Some of them can be quite expensive, I understand. Buy a dog?
Bob Sanders is a veteran local radio personality, columnist, author and raconteur of note. He can be reached at bobbypsanders@gmail.com.