Saturday, June 20, 2009

Part - 14j - Pets


14j. PETS

We had many pets while I was growing up. The first dogs I remember were Ring, an English Bulldog and Tip, a black dog with a white tip on his tail. Ring was just a plain one good dog. He’d “sic” on whatever he was told to do. He hunted possums and squirrels but wouldn’t bark at them when they treed. Finally one of us shot a squirrel in the rear end and when he fell out Ring went to it and it bit him on his mouse. That made ring mad and after that, when he saw a squirrel he’d bark at it. We knew that when he barked, he was looking at the squirrel.

I don’t remember anything about Tip except his name and what he looked like. He died while I was a little boy.

Uncle Oscar Grayson came up one day when nobody was at home but me and Lucy. He brought a little white dog that he said was named Ginger. Well, as soon as everyone got home his name was immediately changed to Jimmy. He was a good squirrel dog, but unlike Ring, he’d bark at the scent of a squirrel and we didn’t always find what he was barking at.

Jimmy loved to be near the tractor and would trot along all day long just out front of the right front wheel of the tractor while plowing or just going down the road.

Other dogs were Homer a part Jack Russell that was a good squirrel dog; Spot a good squirrel dog that a guy from Kiln, MS gave to Daddy. (I’d have to say that Spot was probably the best squirrel dog of them all.); Shan, a black cocker spaniel that was just a pet; and then there was Wags! Wags was part Manchester, black and tan little dog. We had gotten him in Mobile and once I had to go to New Orleans to a hospital so we left Wags with Mother. Well, he became her HOUSE dog. Mother was so attracted to him that she let him stay in the house. Sometimes she’d give him something to eat and he’d kinda turn his nose up to it. She’s tell him, “Eat That!” He’d roll his eyes around so sadly, but he’d nibble it until had eaten it all. Since she was so attached to him, we just gave him to her. She always said that he was so much comfort to her especially during the winters that Daddy would be working out of town.

Of course, we had many different cats. There was Daisy Mae a calico that got trapped in the oven once. Probably the best all around cats we had was Frieda, a yellow cat that was the best mouser I’ve ever seen. Several times Daddy would call her out to the barn and he’d kinda roll some of the hay bales around and the rats would run up the rafters and get just under the ridge vent of the roof and run westward to the end of the barn and down towards the southwest corner. Daddy would use a fishing pole to make the rats run. As soon as he picked up the pole, Frieda would head to the SW corner and wait on the rat to come to her and she’d nail it.

Once, there had been lots of bales of oats in the Big Barn. Daddy, Joe and I started to move the oats over to the old barn. As soon as we started mice started running everywhere. We called Frieda and her three half grown kittens over. There is no telling how many mice those four cats killed and ate that day. Once, we watched Frieda and she had one under each front paw and two in her mouth. She’d bite into one until it quit wiggling, then go to another.

Once, Andy rescued a yellow cat in the middle of Cottage Hill Road. A litter mate had already been run over and killed. We didn’t have a place for it so we brought it up to Mother and Daddy. If a cat would purr when he petted it, Daddy really took a liking to them. This one was no exception. One day, Mother started to go to town and heard a funny noise under the hood and the cat was under there and got caught up in the fan belts and killed.

Other pets included Nig and Brown, two big goats that Joe and I had and trained to pull a two wheel goat cart. One day two men came by and wanted to buy them. At the time goats were selling at about $3 or $4. They offered us $10 each for them and they were gone!!!

About the end of my senior year in high school, I won the “pig chain” pig. The way this worked was that when an Agriculture boy won the pig, he had to raise it, have her bred and give one of the first pigs back to the school for the next boy. Well, my hog had nine pigs. After about a month or so the sow apparently laid down on one of the pigs and broke it down in its hind legs and could only get around by dragging them. I put it in a little pen and fed it with a bottle. A little later, it got to where it could walk around with wobbly rear legs. So, I just let it run loose in the yards. It liked the dogs and would stay near them. If someone drove up and the dogs went out barking at them, the pig would go out squealing! I guess he thought he was a dog!!! As I was about to leave home for college, I sold all the other hogs to Mr. W.J. Brittain and gave him the pig. He also let it run loose in his yard. One day he couldn’t find it and notice an old wash pot had been overturned and found the pig smothered under the pot.

Soon after we moved back to the farm a pretty, long haired yellow dog appeared. In her face, she looks like a fox, so I named her Foxy Lady. She and a yellow lab had 3 litters of puppies and all of them were black!!! I gave away all the pups to folks that would have a good home for them.

Then on Thanksgiving 2007, Andy and Robin brought us a Dachshund that Robin’s brother Paul had in Texas. His little boy played too rough for him and they wanted someone to take him. JoAnne really didn’t want a house dog, but that changed that day he got here. He was named Winston, but we soon took JoAnne’s suggestion to call him Sport. He is completely spoiled rotten. He loves to spend time sleeping in either one of our laps and in his special chair in the den. He can almost talk to you especially with those big brown eyes. If I holler “Touchdown Auburn” he’ll start yipping and whining to celebrate with me!!! He has decided that my bed should be his sleeping place, so I put one of his little beds up on the bed and he curls up in it and sleeps all night. While we’re at the table eating, he stares at me all the time awaiting the treat that he’ll get when we finish eating.

He loves to get out and dig trenches across the yards chasing moles. I have used about 7 loader buckets of sand filling up those holes. Recently, I let him out one morning and when he started to come back in the reek of skunk odor hit me. I was on my way to work so JoAnne had to bathe him with tomato juice, then his dog shampoo. She got almost all of the scent off.

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