A to Z Family Stories: F for Fred and Friend

They just showed up one day and started hanging around our back porch for the shelter, I guess.  Fred and Skippy, two dogs probably out having fun, but of course we thought they were homeless, starving, needing love. So we named the big, fuzzy brown one Fred and the short legged black and tan one Skippy, and adopted them as our new farm dogs.  My brothers were always happy to have a dog or two around to play with and this curious looking pair was friendly and seemed to have adopted the boys too.  Then Fred had puppies.

Obviously, the naming came before anyone cared what gender they were, and looking at them it was much easier to imagine the big one being the boy and the little one being the girl. But, no. We don’t talk about Fred very much past this point and I think it’s because he she ran out on us – too much family responsibility I’m guessing.  My brothers decided to raise two of the puppies, again picking noble doggie names for them – Steve and Andy.

Everyone’s memory is kind of fuzzy about what became of Steve and Andy as well.  One of the problems with farm dogs was that they often craved the excitement of chasing cars. That was a problem with this rambunctious pair and likely the cause of their demise. Which brings me back to Skippy, the one we remember most fondly.

It became apparent that Skippy had at one point been someone’s house dog.  He was very comfortable coming in and generally well behaved.  Even mom liked him.  He was always willing to eat leftovers that no one else wanted and that was his main diet.  No one ever thought of buying food specifically for the dog, not on the farm.  There were always other “things” for them to eat.  And here comes the part of the story that we always laugh at when talking about Skippy.

When we milked cows, the milk was poured into a funnel like strainer with a heavy paper filter at the bottom, and into large metal cans.  Washing up the equipment, we always took the filter out and tossed it – into Skippy’s mouth.  He loved the wet, milky circles and pretty much swallowed them whole.  Evidence of this would come in the spring as the snow melted and exposed the little white piles all over the lawn.  They were composed of milk filter material and tin foil, swallowed with his leftovers.

Skippy was an adventurer though.  He considered us his home but the world was his playground and he would be seen at neighboring farms and sometimes out in the woods. He often came back with wounds and bite marks, looking as if he had been fighting with other dogs.  For a small dog, he had an amazing amount of hormonal motivation leading him to wanderlust.  He may have just disappeared, like he came.  No one remembers exactly.  We’ll just say that maybe he and Fred found each other again and lived happily ever after…

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