Taffy was a taffy-colored cocker spaniel, already a member of the family when I was born. My father bred her for hunting dogs. And hunt she did, after all the different types of game that we could eat. I still don’t like rabbit meat because all I can remember is biting down on buckshot.
I once asked Dad why he had a mounted stuffed squirrel, when other hunters had deer heads. He explained that it was to remind himself to be sure his quarry is dead. He once hit a squirrel while hunting and found it at the base of a tree. When he reached to pick it up, the squirrel that was playing possum bit him on the thumb and had no plans to let go. Taffy intervened and killed the squirrel, saving Dad’s thumb.
One time in the fifties, Dad was showing some of his slides from hunting to a few friends. When the side of a standing black bear appeared, Taffy attacked and tore the screen.
But Taffy was still the ultimate family pet and a lady. Mom used to use a clothespin to clip Taffy’s ears on top of her head so she wouldn’t get her canned food all over her ears. She seemed to have a permanent grease spot on the top of her rear end. Being of stocky build, she couldn’t curl to scratch an itch there, and she apparently had many itches there. So Taffy would rub up against the bumpers of parked cars to get relief. Since this was during the late 1940s and early 1950s, cars always had greasy bumpers available for her use.
During the winters in Baldwin, Dad would let Taffy out the back door to “do her business”; with a couple of feet of snow on the ground he knew she wouldn’t wander off. A while later Dad would hear scratching at the front door. Taffy would tunnel around the house under the snow, as if she could only make an entrance at the front door. My brother and I loved to climb through those tunnels, but Dad wisely yelled at us that it was dangerous.
Taffy was put down due to old age when I was ten. I remember Dad crying all the way home from the vet’s office.
© 2015 Bonnie-Jean Rohner