Rats and Jacks in the house.Posted: August 22, 2016
I write a great deal about dogs. They usually hanging around in both my fan fiction and in my novels. I have even been known to write poems and articles about dogs. They color my view of the world and society. So when you find one in my writing, don’t be surprised.
I determined that for you to understand where my characters come from, you should know a little about me and my dogs. You can skip this and catch up later, but if you hear barking in the background, look for a wagging tail to show up.
A few days ago, I wrote about my Pits. They were precious dogs, rare and irreplaceable, but I know wherein my heart lives.
The picture here is myself in childhood with our Rat Terriers. The two in my arms are Sissy (prick eared) and Spotty (tip-eared). The one next to us is Tiger, these are all offspring from Mitsey, the one in the back from different litters. These were dogs of my childhood, my companions in exploration and my guardians in my follys. Tiger was mortally injured by a car, Spot died of a heart attack, but Mitsey lived for about 18 years and Sissy well into her 20s.
When my husband took work as a fishing guide on Falcon Lake after his retirement from the USAF, I determined I needed a dog. We had previously decided that we wanted a long-lived breed, either a terrier or a dachshund. Well he was not there and I was so when I found a Jack Russell Terrier at a flea market I immediately brought her home. Her great and enthusiastic speed earned her the name Racer or Race. She was my darling and protector while hubby was gone. When I suffered a broken ankle she protected me from Pizza delivery men, postmen, my mother and mice.
Race also took on an orphan Pit Bull puppy to raise as her own. She loved that baby beyond all expectation. As a humorous none, one of the neighbors complained that my ‘vicious’ Pit Bull would kill my cute little white dog. Later, she apologized when she evidently saw Race ‘savagely attacking’ my other dog. Of course, no blood was ever spilt so when i explained their relationship the lady was more comfortable when she heard the play. In fact, the only blood let on the ground was that of possums, snakes, squirrels, some feral cats and unfortunately a 5 foot king snake.
When Bonny died unexpectedly, Race had a nervous breakdown and a possible stroke. We tried to get another terrier puppy but I swear I couldn’t find one. Finally, I heard of a wonderful organization called Russell Rescue. http://www.russellrescue.com/ Two very nice ladies, sisters Sandra and Robyn, are the heart and soul of this organization. I was advised to get a male and an adult who wouldn’t bother Race too much but would be company to her. So we got Abbott.
Little Abbott is an interesting dog. He was very respectful of the aging lady Race. She was only 13 but she had never recovered from the loss of Bonny. Mostly blind now, she didn’t really like him, but she accepted him and he was more or less her seeing eye dog. But they were very different. She’d been raised by us from a puppy. Abbott was 2 or 3 years old already and had suffered abuse at the hands of a man. It took he and my husband a while to declare a truce, but they did, and finally became fast friends.
The best way I can describe the two dogs relationship came about from the final squirrel hunt.I was lucky enough to witness it from the kitchen window so I assure you it is true. Since Race had gone blind, she didn’t hunt the squirrels any more. Abbott didn’t really know how. He could handle mice but not squirrels who were almost as big as him. Well, one day a huge male squirrel came to earth and was generally ignoring my two terriers who were asleep on the porch. Abbott saw him took a run at him and somehow actually managed to grab the squirrel by the tail. The squirrel, outraged, turned on him and bit Abbott on the foot, causing him to squeal. Before I could get to the door, Race leaped up from her chaise lounge and ran towards the combatants. She couldn’t see the squirrel, but I guess she could see the white form of Abbott. By the time I got outside, Race had shown Abbott how it is done. The huge squirrel was at least a foot and a half long with tail and was fighting so never saw her coming. Race grabbed it and slung it in true terrier style. Then she carried it around the yard, proud of her success and basking in her glory. I took Abbott inside to give him first aide for the bitten paw. Then I took a hot dog out to trade Race for the squirrel.
Race made it to 15 years. A decent enough age, but far short of what we had hoped for her. I know the difficulty she had with Bonny’s loss cost her several years. She suffered a grand mal seizure and we let her go while holding her in our arms. I brought her home and buried her in the back, with Abbott in attendance. When I put the stone down on her grave, he lifted his leg on it. No one would bother her sleep, by his signature and pledge.
end of part 1. to be continued.