Sheilah's Question

I was over at Sheilah's World, and saw the post about her favorite childhood memories. She wanted to know what her readers loved from their childhoods. You just KNOW that I can talk (or ramble) practically forever, so I thought it might be better if I posted my reply over here. Plus, this way I get to make a post. I'm really trying to post at least five times a week. I've got to work on having posts in reserve for those days things are extra-crazy around here. Kinda like having casseroles in the freezer. Wait, I'm losing the point ...

We lived on my grandparents farm when I was a little girl. Dad worked in town, but helped out my grandfather when it was needed (which seemed to be a lot, frankly). One Spring day, Dad came back to the house shortly after he went out to the equipment shed. (If you're a city-dweller, imagine an extra-tall four-car garage with two doors missing). It was a building for sheltering tractors and wagons, and assorted big equipment on wheels. Equipment wasn't all it was sheltering that day.

When Dad had gone to the shed first thing in the morning, he started to remove the tarp from one of the wagons. He heard a lot of rustling, and a few little "yip, yips". Dad thought there were some puppies under the wagon. He leaned down and out rushed the puppies. Quick as a wink, he hustled back to the house to get us.

Dad announced that everyone needed to get their shoes on super-quick, including Mother. He told us there was a surprise in the shed. I thought maybe it was a calf. Sometimes, with a very small newborn calf, Dad would hold it and let us pet it as long as we wanted. That was wonderful. But, we couldn't figure out why something fun would be in the shed. All the good stuff was in the barn.

As soon as we stepped through the doorway, the puppies swirled around us. It was hard to count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 12, 18, 23, 27! Thats right. TWENTY SEVEN puppies. Sam-The-Dog had been cavorting a lot. As the responsible daddy-dog that he was, Sam had brought home all four mommy-dogs. They had taken up residence in the shed under different pieces of equipment. Interestingly enough, none of the mommy-dogs were even remotely alarmed by our presence. We were licked and wiggled and sniffed by wave upon wave of puppies. Oh, the joy!!!! Imagine being 6 or 9 years old and having 27 puppies!

We had them for about 4 weeks. We fed them, and petted them, and practically begged to sleep in the shed with them (which was out of the question). Then, one by one, the mommy-dogs went home taking the puppies with them. We were left with only Sam, who was enough since he was the best dog in the world.

Thats not the end of the story, at least not completely. Since it was a rural farming community in a Southern state, there were no leash laws and few people had fenced-in dogs. Periodically, we'd see dogs from other farms cutting across our fields on their way home from their adventures. It wasn't a problem, as long as they didn't harrass the cows or the children. It was a tight-knit community, we knew who most of them were.

About a year or two after the "puppy incident", we noticed that we were seeing a lot of dogs that looked like Sam. The reason that we were seeing them is that they would come to lay in the front yard under the oak trees in the evening with Sam. About once a month, we'd look out and there'd be a couple of them under the trees. Not doing anything, just laying around. Together. Grown dogs. Relaxing. With their dad. It was odd. They'd stay an hour or so, and then head off in different directions.

After Sam died (of very-old-age, in his sleep), one of the younger dogs that looked exactly like him came a few times that we noticed. But instead of laying in the grass under the trees like before, he's come right up on the porch and curl up in the spot where Sam used to sleep. He'd just lay there, quiet and sad for a few minutes. Then he'd cut across the field in front of the house toward the Howard's barns.

I've heard rumors that there is a breeder in Texas who has a line of English Shepherds that occassionally has a solid black one. They've become almost impossible to find since the American Kennel Association and the national official breed organization decided that it was "better" if the breed had markings of tan or white on the black. My husband rolled his eyes when I suggested we could drive 14 hours to pick up a puppy. But, if it were the RIGHT puppy ... Just a thought. A very persistant thought.

Waves

I was hoping I would get a response from you, Lucy! I haven't seen you in a while and always like reading your posts!

What a great story!!

Sheilah | 04/22/2004 - 06:32 PM
 
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