Daddy took pride in being strict. “Spare the rod and spoil the child.” He was certainly never accused of spoiling the child. Many times I heard him say there wasn’t a kid or an animal he couldn’t conquer. During his hog-hunting days he acquired a hog-dog he was incredibly proud of. Sutter was a black lab/Catahoula Cur mix. When sicced on a herd of hogs, Sutter plunged in and fearlessly latched onto the hog’s ear not to be dislodged until the hunter dispatched the hog. The poor hog couldn’t slash Sutter as long as he hung on to the ear. The dog was in the greatest danger of being bitten as he rushed the hog. Hog-hunting was dangerous for men and dogs. I’ve seen Daddy stitch his cut dogs a few times. He required stitches a time or two, but splurged on a doctor for himself.
Sutter worked cows with Daddy. One day, he chased a calf and pinned it to the ground where he held it by a mangled ear. Expecting a kill, he wouldn’t release it. Daddy pulled him off the calf, tied him off to a small sapling, and pulled off his belt to strap to him. He got a couple of licks in before Sutter changed his belief system. The enlarged dog ran Daddy up the sapling where he clung just out of the dog’s reach. At six-foot three and two hundred forty pounds, Daddy was imposing on the tree. It dipped from one side to the other as Daddy bounced side-to-side just beyond the snarling dog’s jaws. I wondered if somebody would have to shoot Daddy if Sutter latched onto his ear. After a few minutes, Sutter’s temper cooled and he wagged his tail when Daddy spoke to him. Daddy climbed down when Sutter seemed to have forgiven him.
Sitter was a very valuable dog. Instead of shooting him as I expected, Daddy took the reasonable attitude that he’d handled things badly. He and Sutter worked it out and the dog concentrated on hogs from that time forward.
Maybe I should have run Daddy up a tree.