OL’ Shag, part 1

By J.A. Bolton

You know sometimes in our lives most of us have traded something to someone else. It might have been stocks and bonds, a car or truck, or just a couple of old marbles.

J.A. Bolton

J.A. Bolton

It seems that when we get the best end of the deal, we just want to keep on trading. It gets to be like gambling; it starts to get in your blood. Why it got into mine one time. For a while I traded for just about anything. Why, I would trade for horses, cows, guns, but mostly dogs. I’ve traded for rabbit dogs, coon dogs, deer dogs. I’ve had walkers, blue ticks, black and tans. I even traded for a dog that didn’t have but one ear. Didn’t make no difference, he couldn’t hear out of his other ear either.

One time I was up in northern Moore County, around Robbins, N.C. I asked a friend of mine where I might find a couple of coonhounds. He said there was a new fellow that had moved into the community that had a couple of dogs he might sell. Said he was fixing up an old tobacco barn for a clubhouse and I would probably find him there.

So I rode over to where the fellow was and he was a sitting there under his new screen porch he had added on to the tobacco barn. I introduced myself and told him I was looking for a couple of coonhounds to buy or trade for. The fellow got up and told me to come on around back and he would show them to me.

I walked right by the steps and there, under the steps, was a good-sized shaggy dog. Well I didn’t pay him no mine and kept on following the gentleman. We got to a tree and there was tied a beautiful treeing walker coonhound he called Joe. The gentleman said, “this hear dog will tree his own coon. No doubt about it.” I said, ”well, where is the other dog?”

“Why you just walked by him,” the fellow  said. “ I said, “The only dog I seen was some shaggy mutt under the steps.” “That’s him,” he said. “

“I can’t use a dog like that,” I said. The man told me that OL’ Shag was by far the best coon dog and that he wouldn’t sell one dog without the other. I finally him-hawed around with the man and ended up trading the man a nice shotgun for the both of them dogs.

Well I brought them two dogs home, turned OL’ Shag loose in the yard and tied the walker dog in the shade of a tree. OL’ Shag took to the place like bees on honey. He checked out  the outbuilding, all the other dogs and that night started sleeping under my carport. Shag was a very friendly dog but every time my wife and daughter would go outside, he’d rub up against their clothes and get dog hairs all over them. You know women don’t like dog hairs on their clothes, so they didn’t think too much of OL’ Shag.

But that was about to change, yes sir ree! You see, one day while I was at work, my wife had her car parked under the carport. My daughter was about 5 or 6 years old at the time and wanted to go outside and play. My wife told her to go through the carport and play in the yard. My daughter pushed on the storm door but OL’ Shag was lying right up against the door and wouldn’t let her out.

“Momma’, Momma, Shag won’t let me out the door,” she cried. My wife came to the door and told Shag to “Get up.” But he wouldn’t move. So my wife pushed hard on the door and OL’ Shag jumped up and started to growl and bay at something. My wife held my daughter back with one hand and opened the door with the other.

She leaned way over to see what Shag was barking at when she saw one of the biggest rattlesnakes she’d ever seen, all curled up under her car. That snake was curled up right beside one of the front tires just ready to strike. His tail was a’ rattlin’ and his head was moving around like a cobra. Shag was trying to get the snake’s attention the best he could, but if that young’un would have gone on out there under the carport that old snake would have nailed her right on her little leg.

Well Momma got hold of my new semi-automatic .22 rifle that had hung over the door and boy did she commenced to shootin’ don’t you know. When she finally finished shooting, she had put a bullet clean through the car’s oil pan, blown out two tires and somehow managed to kill the snake.

After that incident, OL’ Shag had himself a home. He’d eat scraps right off the table and was known as “The  Best Snake Dog” there was in the community.

Need week I’ll tell you about OL’ Shag’s hunting abilities and his tragic demise.

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