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by Thomas Givens

I told the USADS editor I wanted to sort of get away from memoirs with my writing, but I have to go back in time and visit a very good friend of mine--a feist dog named Jack. I feel I need to justify my credentials as a dog lover after my article about shooting wild dogs.

Well, as I was coming up, I had several dogs as pets to whom I was very attached. Buddy was one of them Ive already mentioned, but several others wandered in and out of my life. But only one has really left a lasting impression on me.

That was Jack. He wasn't even my dog; he belonged to my grandaddy, who lived close by. Jack and I hit it off right away because I stayed with my grandad most of the time, and the dog was basically mine. He stayed at my side and roamed with me during the day, but always went home to Gangy's at night.

They say animals have no concept of time. Well, I beg to differ. I was too young to drive and was riding the school bus at the time, and when the bus dropped me off, there would be Jack waiting on me and off we would go.

Feist is a broad description, encompassing a large population of small dogs. I think Jack fell in the category of "Rat Terrier." He was mostly white with black markings, and small, but feisty.

Gangy, my grandad had an empty chicken house and some coops behind his house. There was also a pump house with a concrete foundation. Rats found a home under the coops and burrowed under the foundation of the pumphouse. Id get Jack out there, and we would choose, pump house or coops?

If we chose the pump house, then I would get a hose and run it down into the rat holes and turn on the water. Jack was at attention, standing by. We had done this so many times he knew what to do. It was amazing. He would go around and check each rat hole, and he could tell when a rat was coming out. When it did, Jack had him. This was something to see.

Jack would grab those rats, some of them looked as large as he did, and hed dispatch them. Basically we did the same with the coops. The rats built nests under them, and Id turn them over and let Jack do his thing as the rodents ran out.

Well, it was not to be for Jack to live out his dog's life. I was standing out in the yard of our house, and Jack was coming down the dirt road to see me. For some reason those same other dogs I mentioned before attacked him and mortally wounded him. I ran and got him and took him to Gangy's. We nursed him as best we could, but he crawled under Gangy's bed and died.

Took me a long time to get over that, and I still think about him.


Tom Givens is a retired judge, and he knows some stuff . . . and remembers even more.
Read more of his stories at USADS:

The Delta Theater

Check the USADS Articles pages for many, many more memoirs from the judge.

Write Tom at DeltaJudge2


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