Family Farm Pets
In addition to Lassie, we had dogs named Brownie (that’s me petting him in the above 1958 photo with my siblings), Skippy, Cookie, Spot, Ginger, etc. The family dogs freely roamed the farm and sometime just disappeared for days and a couple just disappeared, period. We were heartbroken for a while until the next mutt was picked up from the pound or a litter from a neighbors dog. We smothered the new arrival with unconditional love and soon forget all about the “dog gone”. For some reason they all seemed to enjoy chasing any car coming down our long gravel lane, which usually meant their eventual demise and another replacement would be needed soon enough. One situation I’ll never forget happened as I was riding my bike along a country road with our dog Cookie running ahead. There was a curve in the road before it intersected with a state highway. While riding around the curve, I heard the roar of a speeding car, then a bone-chilling thump, followed by some screeching tires. When I got to the intersection, there was the driver, a high school hot rodder from town, throwing Cookie’s body into the culvert, then taking off in his car. I was in too much shock to say anything, but never forgave the guy.
I recall several songs during that era about dogs such as Hound Dog by Elvis or How Much is the Doggie in the Window sung by Patti Page. Speaking of hound dogs, my uncle, who lived on the farm next door, was an avid coon hunter, so he always had hound dogs around his place that we’d love to tease cause they were chained up and couldn’t chase us down. And at night, before falling asleep, I could hear his hound dogs howling at the moon or at a newly treed coon in the woods nearby. My uncle loved coon hunting and would have hundreds of coonskins in his shed that he’d sell each spring. Once he made me a coon skin cap, so I loved being Davy Crocket when we played cowboys and Indians; that is until the coonskin cap started to stink, at which time mom asked me to bury it in the corn field!