Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The rise and fall of Caesar, my dad's life time favorite dog.

My dad got Sherry, Big Red and Caesar from a hound breeder down in the Elk River Valley area, I don't remember exactly where but do remember, as a small child, going there to see the hounds once. Initially Big Red was his favorite, he was a fast learner and a good hunting hound, his siblings Sherry and Caesar were good dogs but dad had put more love and time into Big Red, as his name implies he was a big red hound, again, my dad suspected they had a little golden retriever in them. He thought that because he could never quite get them to not want to go off track for a bird, and that is not that usual for a hound, also Caesar was was a light yellow with spots, the spots from the walker in him but the light yellow, unknown. Sherry was a beautiful red female, they came from a litter of twelve pups. She once had  a litter of eighteen pups. I watched them all be born, she would deliver a pup and lightly bite it if it squealed she would clean it off and put it with the other pups, if it didn't make noise she would bite it again two more times if it didn't make noise she ate it. She delivered 18 puppies but weeded the litter down to 13 puppies that she feed and took care of, survival of the fittest at it's most basic.

The dog were a couple years old when we went to Brock's to sell a young dog that dad had trained, Brock wanted the dog but also wanted Big Red, my dad didn't want to sell him but the money Brock offer was too much for dad to walk away from. He sold Big Red, we all cried when he was sold, mom as well, my dad was very sad that he was gone. Soon after Big Red was gone dad took new interest in Caesar, he eventually became the best dog, bar none, that he ever trained. Caesar was on a chain when he was not working when we lived in Grangeville. The neighbor next door to us, my parents rented them the house, had a cat that would come over every day and tease Caesar. The cat would come over and walk just out of his chain length back and forth, and then sit and preen or hiss at him. One day Caesar lunged at him, as he did daily, and the chain broke. The chase was on the cat ran lickety split toward his home and Caesar was on him like smell on a skunk, he chased that cat into the house, into the kitchen and killed in at the neighbors feet. She was not happy but had known that the cat had harassed the dog and had taken joy in the teasing, she did regret it in the end.

Caesar was a hunting dog and was taught to kill, unlike most hounds that pick up a raccoon or bobcat and shake them when they catch them he pushed them to the ground and dispatch them in and instant, my dad never had another dog to that. He would literally rip out their throat, kill and be done with the kill. He never destroyed a hide. One night my dad and his friends had spent hours chasing a bobcat, they treed it up a hackberry tree my dad had gone up the tree to shake it out to the dogs. He was in the tree and the branch broke on the way to the ground, my dad always said all he could think of was that he hoped the cat hit the ground first because he didn't want Caesar to get him, thank the Lord the cat did, when my dad stood up the cat lay dead on the ground beside him.

Shortly after we moved to Plains, the majority of the dogs were in a kennel dad had built but Caesar was on his chain, he was never in the kennel at this point he was always on a chain. Sherry came in heat, and as they were siblings my dad did not breed Sherry and Caesar so he was going to take her to a man in Thompson Falls's bloodhound to be bred, but she got out of the pen and was running around the yard, mom's pekingese got out and was chasing her, somehow the peke got into the range of Caesar's chain, he killed him in an instant. My mom was so up set she went out and beat him with a belt at the end of the chain. My dad came home from work and was aghast at what she had done, he told her he never disciplined Caesar at the end of the chain, he always tied him short to the collar he was too dangerous to discipline with that much chain. She was lucky he didn't hurt or kill her.

Caesar was always gently with us kids and always had been, my dad really loved him, you could tell him anything and he would do it, he was a very smart well trained dog. My youngest biological sister, Baby Sister, had just been born and Caesar was getting fairly old around 7 ish, in the prime of his hunting life, and he changed, he could no longer tell the difference in a small child and a hunting quarry. My dad knew he could no longer keep him. He contacted Brock and sold him. He received 1500 dollar for him, plain old hound, no special pedigree but he was one of the finest hunting hounds that ever there was. He went to hunt jaguars in British Honduras, I am sure he was in hound heaven. My dad did hear from time to time how he was doing but his loss took the hunt out of my daddy. He didn't hunt hounds anymore, he has always kept a bloodhound, more for my mom than anything but the love for the hunt was gone with his Caesar.... tomorrow.

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