Mad Dog, A Mother’s Courage

When we at lived down on the Pearson Place, back in 1925, you kids had a swing on the big oak out front. Annie, I guess you were about seven and John was nearly four.  I noticed our old dog, Ralph, was laying in the dirt under the swing snapping at John’s feet every time he swung over.  Y’all were laughing, thinking this was a game.  Now that wasn’t like Ol’ Ralph at all, since we’d had him since he was a puppy, long before Annie was born.  He was old and hadn’t played in years.  He’d never bitten or even growled at one of you kids.  If you got rough with him, he just got up and walked off.  I got to looking and noticed he was foaming at the mouth!  Oh my Lord!  He had gone mad!  I didn’t want to scare you kids, so I told y’all to keep on swinging and for John to keep his feet up high so the dog couldn’t reach them.  I slipped in the front room, as quiet as I could and got Daddy’s gun from over the door.

When I got back out, I told y’all to quit swinging and keep your feet up, explaining why I was going to have to shoot the dog.  We were all scared to death, but y’all did exactly what I said.  As soon as you got still, Ol’ Ralph laid down.   I got as close as I could to Ralph and shot him right between the eyes.  I grabbed y’all and we all took off.  Of course, blood splattered everywhere.  I bathed you and burned your clothes with blood on them.

While I was doing all this, Daddy dragged Ralph off and buried him.  The old rooster must have gotten in the blood, ‘cause in a few days, he started acting crazy.  I heard you kids out in the yard, running and laughing at him, bobbling around acting drunk and trying to chase you.  Daddy had to wring his neck and bury him, too.

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