Nothing Like a Good Dawg for Companionship
Hunters and their dawgs, there is a certain type of love between them. Before we go any further, we have to differentiate between dawgs and dogs. A dog is virtually any canine that science has declared is such due to certain physical attributes. A dawg is a dog that is a companion and co-worker for sportsmen, most notably hunters. Generally speaking, dawgs are strong, fearless, protective, loyal, trustworthy and helpful. They are a lot like 4-legged Boy Scouts.
Dogs, on the other hand, are not. I tolerate them, but don’t like them much. A great many of them are those little yipping ankle-biters who act like they just drank a pot of black coffee. They will bark at an intruder in the home, but you never know if the object of their annoying yaps is a burglar or a roach and a burglar can kick one of these dogs across the living room. Can’t do that to a dawg!
Dogs are pretty much as useless as cats and I hate cats. To those readers who are feline lovers, I apologize to both of you, but I will not rescind my disgust of them. I think it may be because of the innate ancestral memory most of us have, by that I mean we subconsciously recall our Stone Age forefathers clinging to the upper branches of small trees while huge sabertooths circled below. Whatever the reason, I abhor the things.
Cats are arrogant. They won’t obey you. They won’t alert you of an intruder and they certainly won’t attack one. I defy any cat owner to challenge me to the cat-sniff test. I know if a cat lives in a house as soon as the front door is opened.
When I was a kid, I swept off the country church porch early every Sunday morning. One such day, an old deacon arrived and opened the doors. “Woooo Wheeee!” he said. “I think a cat done crept in, crapped and crept out!”
He was so right. The building had to be aired out before services could begin. “Minions of the devil” comes to mind.
Cats have gotten me into trouble. As we sat in the den one evening, two of my young granddaughters asked me to “start the fireplace.” They watched intently as I built the fire and explained each step. One asked me what I would do if I didn’t have any fat pine. I told her that when I ran out, I used kittens. I laughed, but they burst into tears and my wife yelled at me. When I couldn’t quit laughing, I then obediently went to my room as I was told. (A cat wouldn’t have done that.)
Cats and dogs have some things in common. Neither of them can trail, tree, point or retrieve. Dawgs can. I will say this. There are a lot of dogs that are uglier than cats. Chinese pugs, for instance. They were purposefully bred for centuries to look like that. Human beings can be cruel. The pug is an excellent example of why man should not mess in God’s domain. There is no uglier mammal on earth.
By comparison, the spiny anteater is cute. Besides that, I can’t stand to be around them because they gasp and pant so much. I feel like they are sucking all the air out of the room and I can’t catch my breath. I have used duct tape to seal a leaky boat and hold a loose carburetor in place and thought once about wrapping it around a pug’s snout, but they don’t have a snout.
Hunters and their Dawgs: Helpers and Friends
Hunters and their dawgs, most cant live without them. They are not only our helpers but our friends. They are not always purebred labs, golden retrievers, beagles or blue ticks. Sometimes the best dawgs are of mixed ancestry.
“Most hunters can’t live without dawgs. They are not only our helpers, but our friends.”
Many years ago, I had one that was a combination chow, husky, and one of those Austrian breeds I can never pronounce. He was beautiful, solid red and weighed about 80 pounds. I named him Tennessee (after the place they make my favorite bourbon). He was special, not only because he could run deer with the best of them, but because it was with him that I realized dawgs could talk.
Most outdoorsmen know this, but few will admit it for obvious reasons. Granted, you have to know the individual, study expressions and understand body language, but it is no secret they can and do converse.
Tennessee used to climb the stairs to my deck each morning when I came out to have my coffee. One day, he looked around the corner post at me and said, “Hey, Boss, can I come up?” I know it was just in my head, but he sounded a lot like the old cartoon character, Baby Huey. If you’re not old enough to remember him, the closest I can come to describing his vocal tenor would be an articulate Scooby Do.
I would click my tongue and he would trot over and smell my coffee cup. I assume he was checking to make sure I didn’t have any whiskey in it that early in the morning. If I had, I am positive he would have scolded me. Then he would lay his head on my lap for his scratching. Tennessee loved me. I loved him back.
Show Them Affection
There is a small segment of hunters who do not believe in showing their dawgs any affection. I petted a pointer once as it stood in the bed of an acquaintance’s pick up. The owner came unglued. You would have thought I had tried to set his animal on fire.
“You cain’t love on them dawgs! They won’t hunt no more!” I asked, “If you kissed your wife, would she stop cooking?” He drove off in a huff. You can bet he didn’t know his dawgs talked.
“There is a small segment of hunters who do not believe in showing their dawgs any affection.”
After having reread the previous paragraph, it occurs to me that if some feminist accidentally reads this, she will become hysterical and start organizing protests for implying “a woman’s place is in the kitchen.” So please understand, madam, that I do not live in that magical fantasy world where almost anything can be interpreted as a slight to your womanhood. I live in a real world where a huge majority of women cook for their husbands out of practicality. Generally, women cook better than men and choose to do so willingly, probably out of self-preservation. So put up your lighter and your bra.
Just as there are guys who display no fondness for their dawgs, some go overboard the other way. My friend Ducky Jones, like me, has owned dawgs most all of his life. He feeds his current animal steak once a day. He’s done that with every dawg he has ever had.
Now, this is a guy who believes the five major food groups are boiled peanuts, chips, dip, Slim Jims, and beer. He spends more grocery money on his dawg than on himself. Silly man! Oh, he eats beef too, but only the cheaper cuts, like liver and tongue. I asked him how he could stand to choke that stuff down. He simply said, “Catsup.”
Ducky’s dawg is named Spot. It occurred to me once that every dawg he has ever had was named Spot. I asked him why and he said he didn’t want to accidentally call his new dawg by the name he had for a previous dawg because it might cause hurt feelings. Ducky is a strange and unusual guy. I don’t tell him that though because he gave me a pick of the last litter Spot had.
Ducky also pointed out to me a while back that all dawgs weren’t used for hunting. He had one that fished. Ducky’s prior Spot used to ride in the bow of his bass boat. In the spring, he would ply the shallows with his trolling motor and when Spot saw a bass bed, she would bark twice and point. I swear! I saw it with my own eyes and alcohol was not involved.
That’s not the last time I saw a fishing dawg. I was at a pond on my son’s land a couple of years ago and my grandson’s dawg, Bullet, was following me as I walked the banks and fished for bass. I love the name Bullet. All real dawgs have great names. Ol’ Blue, Lightnin,’ Big Buck. That’s another reason cats and lap dogs couldn’t be used to hunt. Could you imagine, “Fetch, Fuzzy Boots!” or “Get ‘em, Mr. Puffy!”
Anyway, Bullet slowly waded into the clear water up to his chest and just stood there, very still, watching below the surface. Suddenly, his head darted under and he came up with a bream in his mouth. He hopped up on the bank, dropped it in front of my grandson and curiously studied it as it flopped around. I don’t know who was more surprised — me, Bullet or the bluegill!
He looked up at me and said, “Hey, did you see that?” I walked over and flipped the little fish back into the water with the toe of my shoe. Bullet looked up and said, “What the hell did you do that for?” I said, “You don’t have a fishing license.” He hung his head, said “Oh” and walked off.
Types of Dawgs
Here’s something else. Have you noticed you can break canines down into two major categories? Floppy-eared and pointy-eared. Pointy-eared dogs were bred for aggressive, combative roles. German shepherds, Dobermans, and blue heelers are war dogs, police dogs, herders and junkyard guards. A lot of them have a bad attitude and are even mean.
Not so, with floppy-eared dawgs. They are friendly and caring and will sit patiently and listen to you. They don’t have a clue what you’re saying all the time, but — unlike my wife — they at least pay attention and act interested. Don’t tell her I said that. I guarantee you she will listen then.
Here’s something else you may or may not have noticed. People can be broken down into the pointy-eared and floppy-eared categories too. Floppy-eared people include grandpas, ministers and little old ladies at bake sales. Pointy-eared people include most all politicians, irate traffic cops on a hot day and slumlords.
Oh yeah, and the lunch line server at my elementary school. She was an ugly, horse-faced woman who wielded a 3-foot metal spoon. If you asked her what the food was that she slopped onto your tray, she would reply, “Stuff. Move on.” If you asked again, she would hit you with the spoon. Many third graders carried metal spoon welts about their heads and shoulders. I think she ate some of the smaller children. I don’t like pointy-eared people.
Anyway, I’ve got to go now. Spot just walked up, nudged my leg and said, “Hey Boss. It’s almost suppertime.” I’ve got to go thaw a steak. Darn Ducky Jones. But, I’ll leave you with one last thought. A true Southern outdoorsman cannot live without duct tape, catsup, and dawgs.