Guncrank Diaries: Dog Redux: Free Dog, Bad Dad


Dog and I had some simply splendid times together. She was an
ever-present companion in my walks.

I penned a previous column about my farm dog, Dog. Dog was just a mutt. She had a crooked tail, mismatched ears and a coat of many colors. However, she was the best pal a guy could ever have.

Dog was, in Southern parlance, an outside animal. She ate from an institutional feeder and took her water from the lake behind the house. She always smelled a bit dog-ish, even when she was clean. Every evening she jumped up in the truck with me when I got home from work just to say “hi.”

Dog died of natural causes last year at the ripe old age of 15. Two days before she passed, she and I went exploring around the farm. She was vigorous and enthusiastic to the end.

I have been writing for the gun press since 1989. I’ll never be rich or famous, but I do get a fair amount of reader mail. Hearing from you guys is pure joy to a dweeb like me. Not all of it, however, is gleaming.


After publishing my first column on Dog, I got one letter from a reader deeply incensed I would abuse my hound so. He was terribly offended Dog had to live outdoors without central heat and air conditioning. He felt my keeping her in such squalid circumstances bordered upon abuse. I fear I simply have to disagree.

Dog’s house was well insulated. Every year, my bride took an old sheet and sewed it into a big pillow. We would pack this ample cotton cloth bag with cedar chips and use that to make Dog’s bed. She got a fresh one every Fall. When it was warm, she just curled up on the front porch.

Dog didn’t wear a collar. We live so far out she never wandered far enough afield to pester the neighbors. Dog was the master of her own destiny. She came and went as she pleased. Dog wasn’t abused, neglected, or unloved. Dog was free.

Dog didn’t need to have her glands expressed, and she didn’t take doggie Xanax when it thundered out. We saw to it she was kept free from fleas, ticks and worms, but she didn’t spend much time at the vet. I have friends who feed their hounds Prozac for depression. Dog had little use for such as this. Liberty was her antidepressant.

My kids used to take an hour’s walk around the farm every day as a break from their homeschool curriculum. Dog kept them company every single time. Now the kids are grown and gone, my wife and I do the same most days. Dog never missed one. Though she was not terribly refined, Dog simply reeked of character. She was such an affectionate, civil beast.

This is Dog’s resting place today. She overlooks the lake where we had so
many good times and is commemorated with a tulip poplar tree.


As go our dogs, so, too, go we. We Americans, at times do perhaps excessively venerate our animals. I am forever vexed by those of my friends who will travel to the gates of hell to rescue a feral puppy while nonetheless writing a check to Planned Parenthood in support of abortion. The logic of that escapes me.

It does not take a social scientist to demonstrate Americans have grown soft these past few generations. My grandfather hunted blackbirds and opossums to keep his family fed during the Great Depression. Today’s generation finds themselves helpless in the absence of proper Wi-Fi.

A human child will rise to the level demanded of it. Expect a kid to behave like an animal and he will do so with verve. Demand she comports herself in the manner of a civilized adult and enforce your will in this regard, and she will ascend to that level. To a lesser degree, our animals follow suit.

I don’t want some soft, fragile beast as a companion on my rural walks. Believe me, when I tell you, Dog would have given her dying breath for me had the need arisen. Dog and I loved each other, and I do miss her so.

Dog was just a mutt, but she was such a great pal.


Dog guarded my rural home with singular purpose. She barked at the Brown Truck of Happiness like it was a demon from Hades right up until the local UPS driver started giving her dog biscuits. After this, she looked forward to its arrival in a manner that bordered upon unseemly.

God did not design dogs to live like human children. In His infinite wisdom, He built the canine to be the archetypal guardian. You will seldom find a more effective example of tenacity, loyalty and dedication. Dogs are sentinels, comrades and warriors. If yours is not these things, then I humbly assert you might just be doing it wrong.

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