GARDENING BY RONELLA: Remembering the family dog, Red Buck
by Ronella Stagner, Columnist
Jul 31, 2013 | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
All families who love dogs have favorite dog stories and our family had Red Buck during my childhood. Buck loved and protected his families from any and all dangers. Our mail carrier had a black and white longhaired dog that rode with him on his rounds and terrorized everyone on his route. When I, as a little girl, went down the long hill at Ma’s to get stamps, he would try to bite me every time. Once, when Daddy had to meet the carrier for something, Red Buck went along as usual. When the mail car came abreast of Daddy, there was Mr. Rogers’ dog ready to pounce on Buck. Daddy warned the man to keep his dog in the car and he just laughed and said that his dog would take care of himself. Sure enough, he jumped out of the car and jumped on Buck who had been sitting quietly beside Daddy all the time. It took Buck only a minute to have the dog down and Mr. Rogers hollering, “Dick, get that dog off my dog”. Daddy stopped the fight and told Mr. Rogers not to take his dog on the route if he couldn’t keep him in the car because Buck would have killed his dog if my daddy had not been there.

Buck had a sense of humor. One day a neighbor came to pick up a check from Daddy for some reason and Daddy went outside to meet the man, Buck tagging along right beside him. The man told Daddy that he was afraid of Buck and Daddy told him that Buck wouldn’t bite now that he was with him. Daddy swore that Buck just sat there with a big grin on his face. When Daddy went in the house for the check, Buck got that man by the leg. Buck didn’t hurt him but nearly scared him to death. When Daddy came running out, Buck was just sitting as if he didn’t know what the fuss was about.

Daddy had a Model A Ford and whenever he was just going to a little village about four miles away or to the grocery and mill also a few miles the other way, he would let Buck ride on the “running board”. Once, when he went to the village, Buck, as usual, came to ride with him. All went as usual until Daddy started to the car to go home and Buck was nowhere to be found. A bystander said, “Dick, Mr. So-and-so left with your dog.” He failed to mention that Buck had jumped on the running board thinking it was Daddy’s car, I imagine. Daddy thought the man had stolen his dog and when he brought Buck back to the store, Daddy accused him of stealing his dog. A real fight was just narrowly avoided. So Buck wasn’t perfect. He got confused about the two look-alike cars

If Mama wanted to walk to a nearby house on the farm for a little visit, she always took Buck. She felt perfectly safe with him along and so she was. She noticed a little path around a hill, which seemed to be a shortcut to neighbors, so she walked on the narrow path. She and Buck and I met head-on a big deer with a big rack of horns. It was a toss up who was more frightened, Mama or the deer, but Buck had everything under control. He grabbed the deer by the hindquarters and both deer and Buck went tumbling down into some honeysuckle vines and a real fight followed but, fortunately, neither deer nor Buck was badly injured. Mama got a lecture on following an unfamiliar path, but, knowing Mama, the lecture fell on fallow ground.

As an adult, with grown children, I was fortunate to know another very memorable dog that was called Keeper. Our son met Keeper at a dog show in Ohio and fell in love with him. He was being shown as a young dog, probably six months old. My son was so impressed when the owner gave Keeper the end of his leash and told him, “Go take that dog to the truck” and Keeper immediately did as he was told and jumped up in the truck. My son finally bought the dog that day and brought him home. His show days were over and he was just a wonderful, loving pet. I taught him, more or less accidentally, how to wipe his feet on a rug by the door when he came inside. That was such a funny sight. He would wipe each foot carefully.

Keeper was a people dog. That is, he loved everyone he met. He had a great time at Halloween. My son kept a bowl of candy on a coffee table to hand out to every trick-or-treater. Keeper noticed this happening and from then on, when someone came to the door, he always took him or her a piece of candy.

He also taught himself to wipe his mouth when he got a drink of water. He always got his muzzle wet and I would wipe his face on an old towel by his bowl. He started picking up the towel and wiping his own face.

Keeper loved everyone but his favorite person seemed to be my mother. When she came to see us, she often sat on the couch and Keeper would hop up beside her and just lean over against her and look up so adoringly at her. Though she wasn’t a great dog fancier, she had to love Keeper.

I have loved and been loved by many dogs and each one merits a story but these two dogs were unique. I am now down to one little dog, a Chihuahua named Buck. I wanted him to be brave and strong so I gave him a big name to live up to.

Please feel free to contact me at 270-522-3632 with comments or questions.
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