PETS THEN

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In the previous article I recounted how Dad solved the problem of overpopulation of dogs. It can certainly be considered as being inhumane, but Dad considered it to be even worse to keep dogs and let them starve. As we did not have the resources to feed a number of dogs and no one wanted to adapt a mutt. Now I will get off my stump and return to the THEN part of my story. After I told you about Dad and his cruel deeds, one would think that he was a hard person with little compassion, but this would not be true. If a female dog showed up at our house, he would not allow her to stay as he did not want to have to deal with puppies and she was not our dog. He had no way to know whether or not she was a lost family pet or one that had been forsaken. Living at the end of the road as we did, there was no reason for her being there, so he would load her into the car and return her to an area from which she may have come so that she might be reunited with her family. If it was a male and appeared to be a discard, he would feed it and allow it to stay. One such dog remains vivid in my memory. It happened to show up at a time when Raleigh was visiting us while on shore leave. The hound appeared one day at our house in a deplorable condition.  It was obvious that he had been forsaken for a while as he was skin and bones and had very little hair on his body as he was covered in mange. Dad fed him some table scraps, and he gobbled them up as though he had not eaten in days. Raleigh took sulfur and burnt motor oil (the remedy then for mange) and saturated him in the mixture. Dad would feed him and Raleigh would treat him every day until he blossomed into a fine looking dog. When he first arrived, Raleigh suggested that we call him Dread because we dreaded to have to bring him back in shape and he was almost (remove the r from the name) dead. Dread became a beloved dog, but we continued to call him dread until he died. I like this story better than the one that I previously related to you.

We always kept two or three dogs of mixed breed as Dad wanted a “watch dog” to announce the arrival of man or animal on the property. They were always fed table scraps. Every morning Mother would make a big pan of biscuits and a big bowl of gravy. As we always had a lot of chickens running free on the property we also had a lot of eggs.Mother would always cook extras which would be fed to the dogs after the meal. They ate what we ate and never went hungry. 

We never kept hunting dogs as Dad never hunted. The same could not be said about several neighbors who were avid hunters; consequently, there was not a shortage of dogs in our community. They hunted different animals and had dogs that were trained to hunt for each one. The deer had disappeared from our area, so there was no demand for deer dogs. Usually, they had a rat terrier or terrier or cur type that treed squirrels, a beagle to run rabbits, coon or fox hounds that were used for night hunting. The old redbone, blue tick, and black and tan hounds were the favorite of coon hunters, while the fox hound was the breed used by fox hunters. Coon and fox hunters were very serious about training and hunting their dogs. I was persuaded by a young coon hunter to go with him on a hunt one night. To make a long story short, that was the extent of my coon hunting experience. I still remain convinced that those good people were hard up in finding something to occupy their time.        

The only pet other than dogs that we were allowed to have around the house was a cat: only one at a time and always male. Dad would refer to them as mousers, as he wanted one around to keep the rat and mouse population in check. No animal was ever allowed indoors; however, my brother and I devised a way to allow a cat to sleep between us at night. We had a window located under a huge huckleberry tree that opened to the outside. The cat would nestle in a low fork of the tree and after everything got quiet at night we would open it wide enough to allow the cat to hop inside. We then closed the window and the cat would snuggle on the bed between us which added a little warmth in the wintertime. There was a room between our bedroom and Mom and Dad’s, and when we put the cat back out of the window early in the morning we were able to keep our little secret.In the previous article I recounted how Dad solved the problem of overpopulation of dogs.  It can certainly be considered as being inhumane, but Dad considered it to be even worse to keep dogs and let them starve. As we did not have the resources to feed a number of dogs and no one wanted to adapt a mutt.  Now I will get off my stump and return to the THEN part of my story. After I told you about Dad and his cruel deeds, one would think that he was a hard person with little compassion, but this would not be true.  If a female dog showed up at our house, he would not allow her to stay as he did not want to have to deal with puppies and she was not our dog.  He had no way to know whether or not she was a lost family pet or one that had been forsaken.  Living at the end of the road as we did, there was no reason for her being there, so he would load her into the car and return her to an area from which she may have come so that she might be reunited with her family.  If it was a male and appeared to be a discard, he would feed it and allow it to stay.  One such dog remains vivid in my memory. It happened to show up at a time when Raleigh was visiting us while on shore leave.  The hound appeared one day at our house in a deplorable condition.  It was obvious that he had been forsaken for a while as he was skin and bones and had very little hair on his body as he was covered in mange. Dad fed him some table scraps, and he gobbled them up as though he had not eaten in days.  Raleigh took sulfur and burnt motor oil (the remedy then for mange) and saturated him in the mixture.  Dad would feed him and Raleigh would treat him every day until he blossomed into a fine looking dog.  When he first arrived, Raleigh suggested that we call him Dread because we dreaded to have to bring him back in shape and he was almost (remove the r from the name) dead.  Dread became a beloved dog, but we continued to call him dread until he died.  I like this story better than the one that I previously related to you.

We always kept two or three dogs of mixed breed as Dad wanted a “watch dog” to announce the arrival of man or animal on the property.  They were always fed table scraps.  Every morning Mother would make a big pan of biscuits and a big bowl of gravy.  As we always had a lot of chickens running free on the property we also had a lot of eggs. Mother would always cook extras which would be fed to the dogs after the meal.  They ate what we ate and never went hungry. 

We never kept hunting dogs as Dad never hunted.  The same could not be said about several neighbors who were avid hunters; consequently, there was not a shortage of dogs in our community. They hunted different animals and had dogs that were trained to hunt for each one. The deer had disappeared from our area, so there was no demand for deer dogs. Usually, they had a rat terrier or terrier or cur type that treed squirrels, a beagle to run rabbits, coon or fox hounds that were used for night hunting. The old redbone, blue tick, and black and tan hounds were the favorite of coon hunters, while the fox hound was the breed used by fox hunters.  Coon and fox hunters were very serious about training and hunting their dogs.  I was persuaded by a young coon hunter to go with him on a hunt one night.  To make a long story short, that was the extent of my coon hunting experience.  I still remain convinced that those good people were hard up in finding something to occupy their time.        

The only pet other than dogs that we were allowed to have around the house was a cat: only one at a time and always male.  Dad would refer to them as mousers, as he wanted one around to keep the rat and mouse population in check.  No animal was ever allowed indoors; however, my brother and I devised a way to allow a cat to sleep between us at night.  We had a window located under a huge huckleberry tree that opened to the outside. The cat would nestle in a low fork of the tree and after everything got quiet at night we would open it wide enough to allow the cat to hop inside.  We then closed the window and the cat would snuggle on the bed between us which added a little warmth in the wintertime.  There was a room between our bedroom and Mom and Dad’s, and when we put the cat back out of the window early in the morning we were able to keep our little secret.