Late Night Visitors
Today most people have some type of alarm system in their house and a security light
outside. You can drive down just about any road at night and see the security lights on at
all the houses. Most of them are lit up just like mid day. When I was growing up no one
knew about the outside security lights. If you drove around any at night, the only lights
you would see would be the kerosene lamps flickering in the windows of the houses.
However, we did have a good security system. It was known as a watchdog. Nearly
every farmer had one or more good watchdogs. They would let you know anytime
anyone, or anything, came around the place.
We had one such dog that I remember well. Dad just called him olí Pup. He was a good
watchdog and a good squirrel dog.
One night a little while after we went to bed olí Pup got started barking and wouldnít
shut up. Dad decided that we had better go see what the dog was after. So we got up, got
dressed and dad got the lantern and lit it. Dad then got his gun and we left the house.
It was getting well on into the fall of the year and the weather was beginning to get a
little nippy. We had a full moon that night, what is referred to as a harvest moon, and
really didnít need the lantern to see where we were going, only to see if there were any
rattle snakes in the trail.
Olí Pup was down at the barn, looking out toward the pasture, barking. As we neared the
barn we could see the trail the cows had made, leading out into the pasture. Olí Pup was
standing at the start of this trail and looking the way the trail was headed.
We started down the trail and olí Pup jumped in right ahead of us. We hadnít gone very
far when we noticed the hair standing up on the back of the dogs neck and he started
really snarling more than barking. We knew that we were getting close to whatever it
was that had upset the dog in the first place.
About 50 yards down the trail we spotted it, and what a sight it was in the light of the full
moon. There was a momma skunk, (pole cat, fi fi lepew), with four young ones
following her single file, headed down the trail. The dog saw them about the same time
we did and headed toward them in a run.
Momma skunk saw him coming and turned and sprayed. The spray hit olíPup full in the
face and he turned and ran off in the opposite direction yelping. Dad decided to put a
quick end to this before we got sorayed directly. The odor was already more than I could stand.
Olí Pup had made it to the side of the trail and was wallowing and scooting in the grass
trying to get the odor off. It took several days before the odor completely left. However,
olí Pup did learn to keep his distance from a black cat with a white stripe down its back.
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