I have had a lot of dogs in my life and like many people, I am a dog lover. We have had pet dogs, working dogs, and dogs that were a pain in the ass. Good dogs, bad dogs weird dogs and one that was particularly crazy.
My First Contact with Dogs
When I was a little tot, back in the 50s, we lived on the outskirts of Fairbanks Alaska. My first contact with dogs were the neighbors sled dogs. To be honest I was not so interested in dogs at the time. My obsession was horses.
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I watched Fury and My Friend Flicka on the TV. Both these series ran from 1955 to 1960 and I doubt I missed a single episode.
I don’t remember ever seeing a live horse while we lived in Alaska, so I had to use my imagination. My thoughts about the big dogs next door was they might make a good riding horse for a little girl. Mom had told us we were to stay away from the neighbors dogs but I could not resist.
I sneeked over one day while they neigbors were gone. Each dog was tied to it’s own dog house and I picked the biggest one and threw a blanket over his back. Needless to say, he was not happy with me trying to climb on him. About that time Mom seen me across the fence and yelled. I never tried that again. NOTE: Back then the sled dogs were much larger than todays versions.
My next encounter with dogs was on my way home from school one evening. I suspect I was in the first grade. While I can’t really recall how far it was to school I do recall that I walked both to and from. In the winter months it was dark most of the time.
Apparently some dogs had been running loose around the area and were starving. Some small children around the school had been stalked by some of these dogs. (ie: told to me by my Mom)
This is what my Mother told me happened. She looked out the window to see me walking down the long driveway on my way home from school. She said some dogs were trailing me and then surrounded me. I was not scared and was trying to pet them. Mom came out of the house with her rifle and blasted off a shot, scaring off the dogs.
Back in Montana
A few years later we moved back to Montana and I got my very first dog. I was told he was a cross between a Pickanese and a Pomeranian but he did not have long hair or smushed face. He did have the buldging eyes thou. I named him Tuffy and he later lived up to that name when he got in a fight and lost an eye.
A couple hundred yards from where we lived was Fauvers 2nd hand store. I went over there a lot because out behind the store they had a mess of corrals and various critters. I think they charged people to go out there and look at them. I wish I could remember what all was back there. I really only cared about the horse he had.
The old couple that owned the place liked me and did not charge me anything to wander around there. The had several dogs that were similar to my Tuffy and they liked to talk to me about dogs.
I would visit them in the store and remember it being as big a mess as out back. It was always so dark in there you couldn’t see much and it smelled weird too.
Tuffy bred one of their little females and I suspect old man Fauver planned that. After the puppies were weaned he offered to trade me one for my old Tuffy. The folks agreed and Shorty came to live with us. Strangest thing. Shorty got into a fight and lost an eye also.
To be honest I was not really a fan of “small” dogs. I would have rather had a bigger bred but the folks said no. Mom had a poodle who was so aggravating. Seemed she never quit barking and most the time at nothing.
A few years later we moved from there out to the country. Mom had bred her poodle and kept one puppy plus she got a toy poodle. I tell ya, all three of those poodles were a real pain. Yapping all the time and never minded a thing anyone said to them.
A couple blocks down the road some folks had a German shepherd. Her and I became best friends and she was at our house more than she was at her own. She loved to go along with me when I went riding. Oh yes, by now I had my own horse. Eventually the neighbors moved and I never seen her again.
Soon enough I was graduating high school, getting a job, moving out of my parents and getting married. Yep, pretty much all at the same time.
I moved into an apartment in town and got another dog from an old horse trader friend where I boarded my horse. I would help him with his horses from time to time and one day he gave me one of his dogs. Another German shepherd. She was more black than most.
I should have known better. My husband was gone in the Marines. I worked all day and had to tie her up in the yard. The landlord didn’t mind me having her until she got mean. I ended up taking her back to my old horse trader friend. Lesson learned.
There were a few other dogs over the next few years. None with a particular story to tell. I look back on all of these dogs from my youth as “the other dogs.” I loved them all but never really grew that bond that I would come to understand later on.
Coming up in part 2 I will tell you about the weirdest dog I ever had. And, about a couple of cow dogs that deserve the greatest admiration.
Have you read any of the Montana Mystery — “Who is Jesse Lee” ?? Part 4 is out and —–Oh it’s getting good
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