Monday, January 16, 2012


click on photos to enlarge
Chestnut;  what a goofball!
Today was very overcast and sprinkles of rain occurred here and there.  The kids have been lounging around for a couple weeks doing nothing as I haven't had the opportunity to get them out.  Today was their day.  Their eyes lit up when I said "wanna go?"  They're sharp dogs.  I took them to the usual place, the wildlife management area (WMA) at Buffalo Springs.  There really isn't any other place to take them that is close to where we live.  That's a sad thing.
The Buffalo Springs Trout Hatchery is adjacent to the WMA and the forest is crisscrossed with trails that lead to and from meadows, woods and the hatchery.  It's a great place to hike around at but, week after week is boring for me.  The dogs don't seem to care just as long as they're going somewhere.  I really don't mind sacrificing my time to assure they enjoy their lives.
Little Chestnut
Chestnut, the hound, has been very docile and meek with not much self esteem ever since she was born.  She has bonded tightly to me and trusts me at all times.  This has helped with her self confidence.  She's withdrawn in the house but, when she gets to the woods and meadows;  she comes alive and is a joy to watch..  She is fast and runs across the meadows at top speed unleashing all that pent up energy from lounging around the house for a week at a time.  She, like Happy and Shade, never lose sight of me.  She's unique in that regard as hounds usually travel to the beat of their own drummer when in the wilds.  One whistle from me and Chestnut instantly comes running.
She is pure sugar sweet
I brought the long lens today in case a critter decided to let me photograph it.  No luck.  So, I just played with the camera and got some pictures of my little family.  Nothing spectacular;  just pictures that will jog my memory years from now about today's time with my kids.  I'll just paste the shots up here without much comment.
Ah; freezing water.  That's where it's at.

Sometimes Happy is quicker to get to the stick than Shade
Shade has become the most obedient dog I've had in the family yet.  She's not really photogenic but, she's my girl.
Little Happy the Terrier.  She is as fast as greased lightning.  I saw her out run a coyote that was after her eight years ago.  I've carried a gun on our outings ever since that day.  I'll let nothing threaten or harm my kids;  man nor beast.
"Come on Hap!  Hurry, hurry, hurry!"
"Don't look so intense Hap.  It's no big deal.  Just get over here."

Of course, everyone else has to come in with Happy.
"You're slowing down some old girl.  Well;  guess I am too."
I sat down in some soft leaves and leaned back against a big fallen tree and watched them have a great time.  I was surrounded with sticks and I made good use of them.
Chestnut becomes very bold when out here in the woods.  She is a super retriever and if the other dogs weren't near;  she would bring the sticks right up to me.  She is playing hard today.
It's hard to believe but, Happy is the dominant dog of the family.  She'll lock onto the stick and Shade will attempt to hold it but will release it to Happy after a short struggle.  I've seen Happy between Shade and the golden boy Douglas when those two leviathans would slam against each other playing with a large stick and Happy would latch on to it and steal it away easy as pie.
She's big and intimidating but, what a sugar muffin!  A more devoted, loving dog never graced this earth.
Remember the happiness of the dogs you are seeing here now the next time you see a dog on a chain staked to a dog house or one running back and forth between a dog house and a tree with a cable attached to his collar.   A chained dog has had his spirit broken and his mind focuses on one thing every day of his life.  Escape!  Period,.   Hell of a way to live...
None of these dogs came to me by choice really.  Happy sort of did.  I found Shade on an island on Chilhowee Lake eight years ago abandoned.  Happy is a dog I saw in a pen when she was not much more than a puppy.  Smaller puppies were driving her nuts.  I felt sorry for her and she kept looking at me.  Chestnut was born in my room at the old warehouse where I used to live back West of here.  She and one of her brothers were the last two to become adopted.  Her brother went first.  No one wanted Chestnut do to her withdrawn personality.  She was considered not adoptable.  She would hide from strangers and cringe around other dogs.  Just look at her now.  A finer little hound there is none.

Look at the shape of Chestnut.  Her chest is very, very deep and tapers back to a narrow rear half.  That's health and power.  She's a fast little girl and has great endurance.
It's been a wonderful day.  An overcast day was saved by being in the company of the best friends I ever had.  I wasn't going to put this entry on the blog but I had time this evening.  Please keep watching the blog as the final Scona Lodge entry is coming up.  It should prove to be an interesting read about a piece of East Tennessee history that isn't on the internet anyplace, or anywhere else for that matter.  I am absolutely dying to do a camp out down at Chilhowee or Calderwood, whichever comes first.  You won't want to miss that one.  I guarantee gorgeous photographs of country not seen by a lot of folks.  Thanks for looking in and help out a dog if you see it alone and lost.  Put yourself in his place and think about the constant terror of the unknown he is enduring while he slowly starves to death alone.
Douglas;  I missed you today son