Felix and Colonel

This is a story of a man called Felix, a neighbor’s cow and our foxhound, Colonel.  Felix was a trapper and handyman who lived on Woodruff Hill and dogs just didn’t like him.

One day a neighbor’s cow jumped the fence and came home with our cows.  This neighbor sent Felix to bring the animal home.  All went well until Colonel appeared, and then things began to happen.  Colonel chased after Felix with such loud barks that the cow turned and ran back up the drive dragging Felix by the rope tied around her neck.  She headed for the garden -- just planted the week before -- Father appeared from the barn shouting, "get out of my garden!  Take that cow home!"  This only made the cow more frightened and on to the soft dirt of the garden she went.  Felix set his feet together and tried to stop, but that cow dragged him up and down to the thunderous shouts of Father, and to Felix’s broken French "By gar, she I think stop?", and Colonel’s howling.

By this time Father reached the garden, swinging a whip and Mother came from the back door with a broom.  This was too much for "bossy", who stopped so suddenly she fell to her knees, but Felix kept on going -- right over her head, which pulled the rope tight about the cow’s neck.  The cow was quiet at last.  Colonel stood there very proud of himself as much as to say, "I did a good job, didn’t I?"  Then he hurried to the house looking for his breakfast.

Felix rose slowly to his feet, found his hat, helped the cow to stand and started for the road, saying "De nex time I tie rope to horn."  The cow meekly followed, coughing and mooing.

We were watching from the windows and saw Mother and Father were shaking with laughter by now.  We joined in the fun, and then looked at the garden to see what damage had been done.  To Father’s relief and surprise, he found that the cow had unbelievably gone between the rows for many of her trips up and down, so the damage was slight and repairs not too hard to make.  Oh yes, Colonel, who caused the trouble, was fed his breakfast, and then put on his chain for several days to keep him out of mischief.

Our Dogs

We always had a dog on the farm -- for a pet -- to help Father with the cows, or for Father to use when hunting.  We grew up with them for pets, as Father enjoyed going fox hunting and tracking rabbits.  Hounds have such beautiful eyes and soft, floppy ears, but such appetites, and such howling!  We loved then just the same.  Old Colonel was our favorite, he always kept things lively and never had to try.  He, and a three-colored mother cat were such friends.  They shared the warm place under the kitchen range in winter, or did until one day, old Colonel stuck his head under, making ready to take his place beside the cat.  Giving a howl, he hastily backed out, blood dripping from his nose, and ran for the door, the cat on his neck with her tail twice its natural size.  Mother opened the door and out they went.  Colonel soon shook the cat off and crept to the barn to sleep on the hay.  It seemed the cat had had four baby kittens that day and this changed her from the dog’s friend to attacking him, for she thought he was after her babies.  Poor Colonel kept away from her until the babies were old enough to be weaned; then they were friends again, until she had more kittens.

I must tell you about the rabbit dag who came to us, and we gave him a home.  Father always called him "that hound dog", but we called him "Spot", because of the large brown, black and white spots on his back.  He was a small dog with short legs and long, floppy brown ears and a large appetite.  All hounds have a tremendous capacity for food, but Spot took top honors by eating 17 chicken heads -- bills and all.  Father had been preparing young roosters for market, and was working fast.  He did not notice that Spot had somehow escaped from the barn.  Father brought several of the picked chickens to the cooler to hang them up.  On his return, he found all the heads gone and the small dog swollen to a very large size.  He could walk, but looked so unhappy.  Father had Mother call the "vet", who said he thought nature would take care of things.  "That hound dog" weathered it o.k., but I can still see Father and Mother looking so astonished even that night, when they told us about Spot’s large meal.  "Just think", said Mother, "seventeen of them!"

Then came the day Father said, "well, that ends it; I’m going to stop keeping hound dogs."  The reason he said this was the loss of a whole pound of butter.  Yes, the hound swallowed it whole!  Father had just brought it from the cooler and placed it on the kitchen table.  Major, the hound, had just returned from chasing a deer, (he would never chase a fox), and Mother was feeding him Johnny cake and milk.  He had eaten and eaten and Mother was escorting him to the door, when he saw Father place the butter on the table.  With a leap he seized the butter and down it went -- paper cover and all!

Later we had "Dooley", a part shepherd, part collie dog.  He had many accomplishments.  What a cow dog he was! Just a natural, for he never had been trained.  He cleared the land of woodchucks, too.  Father never had to worry about his garden while Dooley lived.  He was a fighter, and licked every male dog in Colebrook River who came to the farm or went past.  We were never afraid to stay alone at the farm when our parents were away while Dooley was on guard.

Then Mutt came to live with us.  You would have loved him, as we all did.  He looked after us all, but had a special liking for Mother and Charles.  Our first sight of him so astonished us that we could hardly believe our eyes.  We had just returned from church service and were going into the house by way of the kitchen door, when Mother stopped and asked, "Is that a goat peeking around the corner of the house?"  We all laughed as we could see nothing then, but we went to the south corner and sure enough, there stood the strangest dog, looking at us with such pleading eyes and shaking with fear.  It is hard to describe this dog of many breeds; he had chin whiskers like an Airedale, a police dog’s tail, small feet like a collie, and a head like a boxer.  Long hair on his jaws, short hair; black, white and tan, covered the rest of his body, which was so thin you could count the ribs.  Dirty, smelly and limping because of sore feet.

Father found his voice first, "What a good-looking mutt" and Mutt he was called.  Mother said, "Bring him in, and I’ll feed him."  Mutt was so grateful for the food and milk.  We put him in the big chair Father used on the back porch.  Charles washed his sore feet with carbolic water,  then we left him to rest.

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