Weekly NewsCast

Water temperature: creek arms and main channel, 67 degrees.

Water clarity: gin clear

Catch ratings by species:

Black bass, 7; White bass, 5;

Crappie, 7; Catfish, 4.

 

 

Working with your best friend

When you reach a certain age, like I have, you realize that, over your lifetime, you can count your very close friends on one hand. Working around the farm, I really enjoy having a good friend around. The best part about my current friend is that he doesn’t talk much, but we do understand each other quite well. Like most of my close friends in the past, he has four legs and a tail and is always ready to start a new day, no matter the weather. 

Boscoe is a hound-cross, all black, and looks like a labrador. But other than the color, there is nothing lab about him. He doesn’t like the water, and after having several labs over the years, I’ve found that training Boscoe is more like coming to an understanding. Not that I’m saying he’s not the brightest bulb in the room, but most labs are easy to train because they want to do what you want them to do – such as duck hunting, pheasant and quail hunting, or playing with a stick for as long as you can throw it on land or in the water. 

With a hound-cross, I’m still not sure what I’ve wanted him to do. It’s been a five-year process, and there’s not been anything much accomplished other than treeing squirrels, chasing armadillos and sleeping, none of which has required any training from me; he’s known these things from birth. But that’s the real story ... his birth.

One morning in 2007 I stopped to feed cattle, as I do every morning, and I heard puppies crying under one of my concrete feeders, but I couldn’t see them. Nadine is a little shorter and a lot more flexible than me, so she took a look and reported that there were four pups. They were too young to be without a mother, so we got word to all the neighbors and thought someone would claim them.

Several days later, Nadine said there was only one pup, and it was starving. So each day Nadine would bring something from the store and put it under the feeder. The food did its job, and the pup grew to the point that it had to move to a better hiding spot. It found a small hole under the foundation of my machine shed, and it would dig itself more room as it grew. With Nadine’s help, it grew fast. 

Even though we were feeding the dog daily, we never were able to touch it or get close to it. In a couple of months, it moved out into the open and started staying around the cattle, eating the feed they dropped. About this time, we realized she was a female. We did our best to tame her, but nothing worked. Just about the time she was around 1 year old, we saw a neighbor dog come to visit, but nothing happened. So we didn’t think we had anything to worry about, pup-wise. We named her Streak, because that was what you saw if you tried to touch her. 

When she was about 3 years old, Floyd Graham’s Stephens cur hound came to visit, and I thought things would be OK, but a few months later it was obvious she was going to have pups. 

On a late April morning five years ago, when I went to feed the cattle, Streak didn’t show up. So I checked the hay barn and heard pups crying. We got her food pan and a bucket of water and put them at the door of the barn and went off to work. Nadine got home before dark that night and saw Streak moving the pups into the field with the cattle. 

Obviously things weren’t  working well. It was raining, so Nadine got her four-wheeler and tried to gather the pups, as it was obvious they would die if nothing was done. She only found two that night, and early the next morning I found the only male and another female. 

We became the caregivers for the mostly black hound-cross pups. Shortly after we started around-the-clock feeding, the pups developed a skin disease caused by a viral infection. Two of the females died, but, with the around-the-clock care provided by Nadine, one female and the one male survived. Nadine became the only mother they would ever know. Now, five years later, Boscoe and Beebee think they are human, and they are treated as such.