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  Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Dogs figure in
life's fondest memories

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew
I can't remember not having a dog during my early life - big, little, every color under the sun, every breed, and every crossbreed possible. I loved my dogs. I learned about injury, dying and death as the busy road in front of the house took its toll.

I also learned to recover from grief as that same road brought another stray dog to my door.

My earliest dog memory is about a black and white rat terrier. When he and I became tired of being trapped in our prison yard he would dig a hole under the fence and we would escape to the wheat fields where dad was plowing. Though the dog did the digging, I received the spankings.

Later years brought a large, bobtail collie to the farm. Together we made a great team of hunters prowling the junk piles and fence rows searching for prey. As the mouse and rat population diminished we went after cottontail rabbits. A neighbor taught me to use a length of barbed wire to twist a rabbit from a hole.

One day Stub and I chased a rabbit into a hole in a fence row. I found a wire, fashioned a crank, inserted the end into the hole, and began to twist. With a jerk I pulled the prey from the den. Stub attacked and began shaking the beast. Amazingly it turned into a skunk instead of a rabbit and we were sprayed from head to toe. Back at home, Stub was banished to the barn while I was bathed in tomato juice and my clothes burned in the trash barrel.

Being a professional musician most of my life caused many a lonely ride home after playing a dance somewhere. After a rodeo dance at Clarendon one night, I loaded my gear, collected my pay and started back to the ranch.

It was 2 a.m. I was tired and sleepy, rolling down Route 66 and nearing the turnoff to the ranch. Suddenly, a sneeze came from the darkened back seat. My heart stopped, while my hands froze to the wheel. Unable to force myself to look backward, a thousand scenarios passed through my mind. Refusing to become a statistic, I made my plans. After slowing down to turn into the ranch, I would jerk the steering wheel, open the left door, and leap into the night hoping to get away in the darkness.

At the last moment when I clutched the door handle, a small screw-tail bulldog jumped over the back of the seat and stood innocently. I nearly choked him in relief. The next day I returned him to Clarendon where he happily trotted off toward home.


Delbert Trew

"It's All Trew" - January 16, 2005 column


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