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Catching the ‘Hunting Dog Disease’


(ROCKWALL, TX — May 1, 2018) Shadow darted under the walking bridge, through the running water, exiting from under the other side, only to circle back up to the path until the leash tightened. It was tangled and mud splattered me as I attempted to fix the mess. The dog had first chased a squirrel, then saw another dog, so she fought against the restraint for the hopes to say, “Hello.” After some tugging and twisting, she escaped from of her collar like an illusionist from a straightjacket. She sprinted across the park toward the other dog and owner while I screamed her name, simultaneously crawling in water under the bridge to untangle the leash. I offered my apologies to the newly sniffed and licked bystander.

What was my son thinking when he got a hunting dog?

He wasn’t. From what I’ve learned, it is more of a compulsion, a quick-onset of a disease. Philip was bit and he would forever be a sucker for hound or birddog.

I hadn’t heard much about Mountain Curs before Shadow came under our roof. Little did I know the little brindle colored pup was pure Americana, the tried and true companion of pioneers on the American frontier.  So prized for their ability to hunt game and their fearless protection of their people, they had a prime reservation in the wagon. The Cur could tree plentiful small animals like squirrel or raccoon or track and bay black bears. Being fearless and protective, the dogs will quite literally give their very lives for their people.

Reading all that, I beamed with pride in my son’s fortune. Since he had moved back home for a bit, she would be a great addition to our family, despite the fact the she can sometimes be annoying. For instance, the Mountain Cur is like ADD on coffee. If she gets bored or is inside too long, get ready, there will be one antic after another, and if that doesn’t work she will plant herself in front of whoever is in charge and bark until play commences. So, since I like long hikes, that’s my contribution—to exercise her. Experts say that Mountain Curs can run up to 15 miles a day and still have energy; so a little walk around the block needs to resemble more of a U.S. Marine training regimen.

I really don’t walk her; she walks me, sometimes forcing me on a full-blown run. As soon as the leash connects, Shadow drags me toward the door then barrels down the street to the rear entrance of Harry Myers Park. I also would like to add that calling her a great squirrel dog is a bit of false advertising; Mountain Curs are squirrel aficionados and when a “bushytail” crosses her path, it is pure, unadulterated mayhem until I sprint with her and she trees it, baying at the base. Then after a near act of congress, I drag her away only to repeat the process. Finally, we make it to the dog park where she sprints around with other pups and if nobody is there, she’ll play fetch with me. Once she stopped chasing the ball I threw and instead ran and found another one. I threw it and she repeated the process until all balls in the park landed in the same general location. Then she commenced to barking at me and I figured out that she wanted me to take a turn at retrieving. I nearly went, then realizing that hunting dog disease is highly contagious and I was showing symptoms.

I guess I’ve been bit as well.

By Scott Gill of Rockwall. Scott is a teacher, coach, and author of “Goliath Catfish.” Follow Scott’s blog at puptentpapa.blogspot.com and read his “Front Porch Ramblings” at BlueRibbonNews.com.

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