Family Pets

Sitka, Our Big Fuzzy

Good evening. How are ya'll doing? I know it's a little late for a visit on my 'Net Porch, but we had to go to Valdosta to visit Dr. Snapcracklepop. Our backs were not feeling well and we needed to let him give them an adjustment. It's rather strange that I always feel much worse when I leave than when I got there but a little later it feels a whole lot better. He is a very nice man and is gentle as can be until he starts snap, cracking and popping! Then you feel like running away until you get on that nice bed with the rollers which run up and down your back. Now that feels good!

I have a nice, boiler full of boiled peanuts if anyone wants any. The farmer's market had fresh, this year's peanuts from down in Florida and I bought a couple of pounds to boil. Now I will be eating all of them for Roy won't touch them with a ten-foot pole. He loves the parched ones but he said the boiled ones are slimy but I beg to differ for they are not! Anyway, that leaves more for me to eat.

The other day our daughter was asking me questions about our family pets we had when we were children. As I began to tell her about them, she said I needed to let the rest of the family hear it also so here goes.

First I have to tell you a funny riddle which Daddy loved to tell us when we were little and got a great kick out of our answers. This is how it went. How many dogs does this man have? There are Ring and Rule, Spike and Spool, old hunting dog, nine pups and eleven besides. Of course we got paper and pencil and added and said 25. He would laugh and say nope and we would ask him to say it again and we would add again. Nope, and he would do some more laughing. After this went on for about and hour or two, just kidding, he would tell us 7 was the correct answer. You see besides the names Ring, Rule, Spike, Spool there was Old Hunting Dog, 9 Pups, Eleven Besides. We thought that was utterly ridiculous and didn't think it was too funny but had lots of fun tricking our friends with it.

Now that may be why we had some dogs with some strange names and some regular dog names, whatever those are. The first dog I remember was a miniature doberman pincer. The name is long gone from memory but we got her when I was 5 and Arvin was a baby. It was a perfect little doberman and a sweet and lovable dog. Of course, like most of our dogs, she was killed out in the road so daddy called Mr. Gilbert Hollinger to see if he had some more. We had to wait on a litter to be born and weaned but another one was mine. Again, the name is gone.

I don't remember the order of the others and these were the last ones we bought. From then on they were mostly Heinz 57 variety dogs of most every size and color. Some of the names began to get a little weird. We had a black dog named Snowball and one name Didhebitcha. Now you have to say the last one fast to get it right. We also had a white one named Blackie.

As I said, most of these dogs were free dogs of various and sundry parentage from friends . There was one named Tippy because of the white tip on his other wise mostly black self. Tippy was one of the most lovable and affable dogs you could ever find. My younger brother Sam was her favorite and he stayed pretty close to him. They would sit on the back steps together and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Sam would take a bite and give Tippy a bite and the tail would almost wag itself right off. It was not only peanut butter sandwiches, it was anything he was eating. Part of it was always shared with his little pal.

He also inspired the development of his musical talent. Sam wanted to play the guitar and since he didn't have one, he would take Tippy, put his head under his arm, hold his tail with the other hand and strum her ribs and sing. Bless his little heart, he would just wiggle and squirm a little but stay right there until he put him down. This was the beginning of Sam's playing several musical instruments and we can thank little Tippy for this.

Once a friend gave us a titled dog, you know one of those pure bred dogs. It was a cocker spaniel named Rusty. If Rusty was any example of this dog breed, they are not too smart. He was pretty but dumb as a rock. Up at the barn, a good way from the house, we had laying hens. Each day we had to pick up the eggs and daddy went up there to milk the cow. Rusty began following us up there even though we told him not too. We would run him back to the house and he would come right back. Well, after a few days, he discovered the chickens. Now I understand this breed is supposed to like birds but these were big birds and were there to provide us with eggs. At first he just chased them but when that lost it's charm, he killed one.

This incident turned our daddy into a murderer. We had raised those chickens from bitties, fed and watered them and they were laying eggs to feed us. He took a stick and hit that dog in the head, so he said. Thank goodness we didn't witness the horrible affair and I am sure when he told us about it I cried and cried. That's no big deal though for I cried about everything! I was slightly dramatic at that age. Back to the story. Daddy thought he had killed the dog but low and behold, Rusty appeared in the yard. Praise goodness, we thought there had been a miracle of healing.

Now you would think this would have cleared up that matter and stopped that dumb dog from chasing chickens and sucking eggs wouldn't you? Remember? I told you this breed must not be too smart, well take my word for it, they are just plain stupid. That dog went back to the barn and killed another chicken and no matter how hard we tried we could not convince daddy it was a fox or some other wild critter. We did convince him not to murder the poor, dumb dog but give him away to someone living in town who didn't have chickens. That dog was a disaster for us.

Smoky was the last dog we had a children. In fact I was about grown up when we got him so he was really Arvin and Sam's dog. He was part German shepherd, I think, but he was a big dog and loved us so much. He would ramble the woods and hunt most anything including skunks, but Sam or Arvin could call him and he always came running. When Arvin left, he became Sam's companion. He and Sam were close buddies and loved each other dearly. In fact, when Sam went off to college in Mississippi and didn't come home until Thanksgiving, Smoky grieved himself sick. Nothing mother and daddy did could make him happy. He eventually died from a broken heart, mama said.

We never had inside dogs until mama and daddy's last dog. She was a little bitty dog and was adored by both of them When they first got her we carried her to our house and house-broke her. We would carry her to visit mama and daddy every day and Roy could carry her in his jacket pocket with her cute little head sticking out. Mama and daddy would let her in the house most anytime she wanted to come and every time it thundered, she had to find mama or daddy and a lap. If they were not home, she would go up the road to Miss Pete's house and beg to come in. Of course she was invited in and kept until the bad, old thunder went away and then she would trot back to the house. She was much beloved and when she died, they never got another one.

Cats were only for the barn and we ate the pet rabbits as "chicken" salad and the horse lasted a few years. but we always had a dog. Mostly just one, but always at least one. They were outside dogs or so mama and daddy thought but I know Sam used to let Smoky in his outside door and let him sleep by the bed. He would always put him out before daddy woke up, but I kinda think it would not have made a difference.

Well, I have rambled on tonight haven't I and probably only the family wants to read this, but that's OK for it's my "Net Porch" and I can ramble along all I want.

Nuff said,

The Georgia Peach


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