A Simpler Place in Time | Dog Tales

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….” – Author unknown

Our little farm became much more than a piece of land; the animals were what made it a rich experience and that were a big part of some of the most joyous and peaceful moments we spent during those golden days.

The dogs still cast their spirit upon our place.  I can still see Dixie leading the little friendly pack of mutts on a chase that must have ranged far and wide, but somehow never seemed to result in them actually catching anything.  Some dogs came and left; our place at the end of the pavement seemed to be a favorite place to dump unwanted dogs.  But the Four Amigos of Dixie, Roxie, Peanut and Lucky, were the ones I will always remember.

Roxie was the first to wander onto our property and at a time when my mom and dad were visiting for the first time from Missouri.  She was very shy and tried to hide under one of the cars, but my dad urged her out and we soon won her over with lots of love and a can or two of Alpo.  It was my niece Ashley who gave her the name; Roxie was Rocky at first until we found out she was a girl and we needed something more feminine.

Roxie looked like a Corgi, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite dogs, and she may have been someones prized pet; how she wound up at our place is a mystery.  She was a beautiful little dog who liked to run with her bigger packmates in chase of deer or squirrels.  She kept up somehow but was always bringing up the rear due to her little 6 inch legs … they seemed to go a mile a minute.



Dixie came to us as a pup.  She loved to run through the woods and was the leader of the ragtag band of dogs who terrorized the whitetails for a mile in all directions.  Dixie was the only dog who managed to bring in revenue for the farm, in the most unlikely way.

In order to tell the story, I have to also tell you about Flint, who was probably someone’s prized and very expensive Black and Tan coon dog.  He probably lost his way on a nighttime coon hunt; my coon hunting friend tells me this is a common occurrence.  He came to our place one day, and I have to say he was one of the most unfriendly dogs, I’ve ever seen.  We fed him and in spite of our hospitality, he never warmed up to any of us.  Never a wag of the tail or any sound, except one day when he had done something I didn’t like … I (gently) pinned him up against a tree with my leg with the intention of scolding him;  his deep throated, guttural and decidedly no nonsense growl made me immediately think better and he was allowed to go his own way, never to be chastised by me again.

One evening Dave and Bubba shot a deer bowhunting and after a short blood trail, they wound up jumping the deer which ran off into the night.  Bowhunters know that the chances of recovering a wounded deer after pressing it to run are slim.  The boys decided to go get Flint and put him on the trail.

As soon as Flint hit the scent of the deer, he took off like a bolt of lightning.  Soon he had flushed the deer and was in full chase with the boys trying to keep up the best they could.  When they finally caught up, the primitive scene they saw was probably much like thousands of others that have played out over the distant past; bowshot game being tracked and held by the muzzle by the tracking dog.  Flint had done his job in a championship way and he earned a lot of respect that night.  The boys quickly dispatched the game, with the help of a magnum maglite and knife.

Later at the deer cooler, they told the story to the owner Mr. Hicks about what a great tracking dog they had and what had happened.  It wasn’t long after that Flint disappeared;  he had come mysteriously, did his job and left again.

One Sunday evening a year or so later, my phone rang.  It was Mr. Hicks who asked me if I still had that tracking dog.  He said there was a guy who had wounded a deer bowhunting and needed help tracking it.  To be honest, I didn’t know at the time what or how he had heard about our dogs and I didn’t think of the Flint incident.  I thought he was talking about Dixie!

Dixie did like to chase deer, but we had never tried her tracking skills until that night.  We drove to the woods with my (and Dixie’s) new client.  After a half an hour of fruitless sniffing and searching, we called off the effort.  The guy was nice, but when he asked me if Dixie had ever tracked anything before, I knew what he was getting at.  He offered me (and I accepted) $20 for my trouble; Dixie and I headed back to the doublewide with an unexplainable feeling of accomplishment; Dixie had earned her keep for a week or two and I was proud of her effort.  It wasn’t until much later that I finally pieced together what had happened and I realized the most of the credit should go to Flint, wherever he is.



Sweet Peanut had one distinguishing characteristic; she had the biggest, tooth-iest grin I have ever seen in a dog!


One day a friend called and told me she had just been to the vets office in Crawford, and there was a very cute shepard-mix puppy who was scheduled to be put down the next day; if they couldn’t find someone to adopt him.  I couldn’t let that happen; perhaps a dog has never earned its name anymore honestly than Lucky did that day!

I’m hoping that the Four Amigos are enjoying their chase around the Rainbow Bridge; and that those of us who loved them way back then will be “Lucky” enough to see them again someday!

to be continued….


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