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Out On The Mudline

First Dog Proved To Be Smart Companion

By W. P. Sissell

Many Dogs Ago

Many columns (weeks) ago I told you about my first dog, Mickey. Mickey was a very smart dog. Rachel Johnson told me one afternoon, as we got off the school bus, their Collie had pups and that her Dad had told her that she could give me one. I was very excited for we had talked about this previously and Mother and Dad had said that we, Ruth and I, could have a puppy. We arranged to meet Rachel halfway up through the hills to their home later in the afternoon.

I knew that this should be some smart dog for Mr. Johnson had trained the pup’s mother to know each of his work animals. When he wanted a particular animal it was a simple matter to tell his Collie to put Sam or Bob or Kit in the stable. I would learn much about animal intelligence from Mickey.

Chore Time

For many years one of my daily afternoon chores was getting the dairy cows into the holding lot at afternoon milking time. Later, as I got older and tall enough to fasten the stanchions, I would put the cows in the barn and feed them silage or hay.

To get those cows into the holding lot, I had to collect them from the big pasture. The biggest part of the big pasture, dependent on the time of year, was at from a quarter to half mile from the holding lot.

After Mickey got older he began to accompany me on that job every afternoon—in fact I think he awaited the trip with joy. One of the sometimes chores was keeping the cows of the families on the place from getting into that holding lot. Every family, if they desired, could keep a cow for supplying themselves with milk.

One afternoon I noticed Mickey cutting Pearlie McCain’s two cows out of the main herd and encouraging them to go to the long lane that led by the Indian Mound to the McCain’s house, just across the road from the black folks church/school. Then, if the lot gate at Uncle Naces’s barn was open (after noticing this you can bet that that gate was open), his cows were put into the lot. After the majority of the cows were penned against the holding lot gate cows belonging to the people living in the house across the field and beside the Mud Line, could be picked up by their owners and moved to their barn.

It was on this last step that you sometimes ran into trouble. That trouble is the reason this happened to be my chore and I never mention sister, Ruth, or any of her friends when telling about this chore. Our herd bull was a registered Guernsey whose call name was Powell. Powell came from Gayosa Farms (It’s now covered with a couple of shopping centers as you go into Memphis). Powell didn’t care to be pushed. On this particular afternoon I had not paid close attention for I thought Powell was in his pen along the south side of the entrance to the holding pen and the saw mill.

As I went glibly, happily, probably singing, bareback, astride our beautiful, small sized, deep red bay, mare something hit her on the right side right behind my right leg.   Powell was out of his pen and among the cows! I had not noticed but he had noticed Bess and me and charged. As Bess reared and went sidewise I swung under her neck and came up on her left side. As I got astride again, Bess spun and kicked so that her hind feet caught Powell pretty squarely in the face. When I talked to her, Bess took me to the holding pen gate latch where I alighted and let her go.

If Mickey had been along I doubt that the above would have happened. He would have found that bull before I got in danger. More about that next week for  it’s time to say good bye and wish you, each and every one of you a great week. I might again say that we think a great deal of your Dr. Williams out there in Pine Valley. Nannette says that she has had very little to no pain with her foot surgery. Thank you Doctor.

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