Thursday, March 23, 2006


Ornery VI

Ornery VI

I was going to tell you about the time me and my bestest friend in the whole world were showing anyone who wanted to see (the three girls in the back of the bus) our tiny 2nd grade wieners but hey who hasn’t done that right? There was also the time I pants Nancy and was sent to the principal’s office THE NEXT DAY!! So I went to school wearing 5 pairs of underwear so that when I got my ass whipping, which was the norm in Kansas in the 70’s, just so I wouldn’t feel the ass whipping…He didn’t spank me and I was incredibly uncomfortable all day.

But those are all just kids stuff next to a boy and his dog.

I got my very first dog and my best dog when I was 7. My dad had some men out to the house to build a hay barn on the back of the regular barn. For those of you who don’t know what a hay barn is think roof no walls 20-25 feet tall. So there were these guys out there and they were putting the tin on the roof and I was just getting up and around…yes I used to sleep almost 8 hours a night, and anyway as I walked outside to watch them work, I ran into a dog.

Now my dad didn’t raise no dummy and he had told me that a strange dog was nothing to mess with and never to pet a stray. So armed with this knowledge I did what any redneck boy in my situation would do…I ran out and started playing with him. I petted him and scratched his belly, and he was attached at my hip for most of the morning. I can remember running around the front yard with the smell of summer grass in the wind and the heat starting to rise while I ran and tumbled and played with this strange dog.

I ran to the back of the house and was playing near the construction and I hear this voice from above;
“Hey Kid! You like that dog?!”
I looked up into the morning sun, barely making out the man’s face, and I yelled back a resounding “YES!!”
“Well do you wanna keep him?”

I stood there dumbstruck.

“Well DO YA?!!
I yelled back “I hafta ask my Dad!!”

I ran for what seemed like forever, (I looked last time I visited my Dad it is really about 40 feet), into the house and yelling for my dad the whole way…DAD!! DAD!!! DAAAAADDDD!!!

He stuck his head out of his bedroom and yells back “WHAT!!! JEA-SUS CHRIST IS THE HOUSE ON FIRE??

I reply “themanoutsidewantstogivemehisdog!!!” “canikeephim?”

He naturally looked at me like I had just grown 3 heads and told him that Jello would make great wall supports, and said;
I replied “themanoutsidewantstogivemehisdog!!!” “canikeephim?”

He started laughing and told me to slow down.

I replied The Man outside wants to give me his dog…can I keep him??

Naturally all I thought all I needed was a yes or no answer but now that I’m older I know that there are a lot of variables like how big is this dog, what is wrong with this dog and why would someone give away a good dog?

Dad asked one question half to himself half out loud “Why would anyone give away a dog?”

See, back in those days in the middle of nowhere Kansas there were NO pets. If you owned a dog he better have a secondary skill and that skill had better not be sitting on someone’s lap and nipping at anyone’s hand that comes near it. If you had a dog in Kansas it better herd cattle, hunt pheasant, or be able to run down a coyote on the open plains. So my Dad’s question was more poignant then I knew at such a tender age.

Dad walked outside and told me to point out the man who wanted to give me a dog. I pointed at the man and the dog ran over and sat down next to me as if on cue and Dad looked at me and the dog and asked the man if what I had told him was true and the man yelled back down “yes” and then dad looked back at me and the dog…he looked back at the man and my heart sank.

I just knew he wasn’t going to let me keep this dog. He asked one more question “What’s wrong with him?”

The man explained that he had got this dog to herd cattle and he needed a “heeler” and this was a head dog..(a heeler is a dog that herds by nipping the heelers and a head dog drives by nipping at the nose of the cattle, this dog was a head dog) So he wasn’t what the guy was looking for…..little did I know.

So Dad looked down at me and back up at the guy gave a little smile and said “Your Mother is going to beat both of us”…….”Ask the man what his name is”

I could barely get the words out fast enough.

The man yelled down …..

“His name is Bruiser”

Bruiser and I were fast friends and I found out why he didn’t work for the old boss. He was a head dog and that instinct was built in through his DNA and this asshole had tried to change 300 years of built in instinct and beat Bruiser trying to get him to change his ways. Every time some one would raise their arm too quick Bruiser would cower and roll on his back in pure fear. The only thing that would get him to stop was love.

I mean it too we would have to get on our hands and knees and hug and pet on him every time we moved too fast, or accidentally scared him while trying to pet him. For the first year we had quite a time of fast handed kids and cowering dogs. But the make up scratching and petting was the best!

Bruiser was a Catahoula Leopard dog you can learn about them here he was a smaller dog, maybe 20 inches at the shoulder and 45 lbs tops. But he was also just like my dad (5’6” 140) small and tough as case hardened nuts.

My parents owned a livestock auction when I was a kid, my mother was the first licensed female auctioneer in the state of Kansas…EVER. She is a bad ass too, but anyway Mom and Dad owned a sale barn. Sale every Wednesday Horse sale every other Saturday. One day I asked if we could take Bruiser with us to the sale barn, Dad said he didn’t see why not and off we went. Dad, I , the older brother and our dog all packed into the front of the Ford Pick up.

As we pulled into the parking lot we were laughing and having a good time doing only God knows what. Dad put the truck in park , we open the door and jump out. The wind must have been blowing out of the west that day because we all heard a dog bark from behind the sale barn. We had forgot one detail.

There were a couple of old farmers who had a couple if dogs and they WERE BIG!! One was a black lab around 100 lbs, and the other one was a German Shepard again around 100 pounds. Dad had forgot there might be a problem with these two dogs and our one little one. Well Dad being Dad said “Get back in the truck boys”

We didn’t move because we were busy watching Bruiser. He was trotting in a circle and sniffing things and was completely oblivious to the impending fight. I can remember looking up and seeing one dog coming one way and the other one coming from the other way.

I also remember thinking


Then, the most incredible thing I have ever been a witness to in my life happened. It had never happened before and it still makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up 31 years later.

Bruiser growled.

Not a regular old “Hey knock it off! I’m doing something here, growl”

He made a noise completely unlike anything I had , and never wish to hear ever again. ALL of the hair on my body stood up. Dad froze in place. And the charging dogs stopped, the two GIANT dogs we had seen fight anything with legs and smelled like a dog for years, stopped charging. I don’t mean they quit running, I mean THEY STOPPED. Both dogs had heard Bruiser and their legs locked up and they slid to a stop within 3 feet of Bruiser and the three of us.

Tails up. ears up, frozen like statues. They stood completely still and didn’t move a single, solitary muscle.

My mouth hung slack and open.

Bruiser looked like he was the most playful dog on the planet and he almost “skipped” around the other two dogs smelled their asses and looked at their faces, licked his chops and then he dismissed them.

He didn’t stop looking at them or start ignoring them he DISMISSED them with a small woof.

Like a General who inspects the troops. He was done with this riff raff and he told them to beat it.

Dad looked at us and we looked back, we all looked at Bruiser who just cocked his head and asked;


There was a new Sheriff in town and his name was Bruiser. AND he was my best friend.

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