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Hill Country Living

To Mr. Shorty And All Our Pound Puppies

By Coulter Fussell

It’s a Wagner Letter week. More than once, people have said to me that these letters are like the ‘Downton Abby’ of Mississippi. I agree. But it’s not just human drama. There is always some animal drama going on, too. John Henry was super into mastiffs, those horse-sized, slobbery dogs. He was also into fancy chickens. So every time I start to feel sorry for John Henry because of the way his domineering father, D.R. Wagner, is so clearly disappointed in him, I remember that John Henry spends a whole lots of his letter writing time complaining to breeders about the monster dogs and fancy chickens they send him.

I’ve always been a mutt person myself, so it’s hard for me to see the appeal. But I did go to the coondog show at Batesville Civic Center a couple months back and thought that was pretty cool, especially the display of air brushed t-shirts that all said “Tree Slammin!”

I dedicate this week’s column to my dog, Mr. Shorty, and to all the dogs down at the city pound who are kindly being cared for by the small group of lady volunteers that form the Water Valley Second Chance Animal Alliance; the true Goddesses of Liberty.

American Express Company
Watervliet, Mich April 28, 1888

John H. Wagner, Esq
Water Valley, Miss

My Dear Sir:

Yours of the 26th to hand. I was not aware that I had changed in the selection of the pup I was to send you, however I might have made an error in stating the time she was to whelp.

The mother of the pup I am to send you is my imported “Goddess of Liberty.” I imported her from Wm. Shearer Clark, the owner of “Prince of Wales” the grandad Mastiff dog in Europe, as he has won several times at the “Crystal Palace” & Birmingham shows & did so only this last winter again.

My “Goddess of Liberty” is sired by him & his “Queen of Liberty”, which stamps my “Goddess of Liberty” as containing the richest, most royal English Mastiff blood of any strain in the world.

I will make you the first selection, one that I will stake my relationship on; one that will be very large & coupled with fancy points & trust you will reciprocate this by sending me more cashmons & I am sure when grown you will have plenty of enquiries as to where you obtained him.

I have one of her pups that for it’s age is a monster in size with tremendous bone.

Awaiting your esteemed favor, I am,
Respectfully Yours,
W.E. Walden



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