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Ring, My First Dog...

Story ID:8195
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Dillon Montana USA
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Ring, My First Dog…
By Chuck Dishno

The first dog I can remember was given to me when I was about 6 months old. He was a Shepard mix with a white ring around his neck so we naturally named him Ring. He was given to me by a boarder we had who believed, rightly so, that all boys should have a dog to grow up with.

Ring was officially my dog but he was really the family dog and his favorite was my Dad. I don’t remember much about Ring until I was at least 3 years old but Mom & Pop said he looked out for me. I do remember rolling around the floor and yard with him then Mom giving us both a much needed bath.

When I was about 5 or 6 years old, Ring disappeared for a few days which wasn’t unusual, as he liked to roam the fields and hills near our house,

One day a rancher came by and he had Ring in the back of his pickup. He had found him on his ranch with his right front paw in a coyote trap. He knew who’s dog he was and released him then brought him home.

Pop loaded us in our 1929 Model A and took Ring to a vet in Klamath Falls where he treated the paw and bandaged it. We took Ring home and that night he chewed off the bandage and licked the paw all night. No matter how Pop bandaged it, Ring would chew it off and go back to licking. Obviously he knows what was best and did what dogs had been doing for thousands of years.

Pop eventually gave up and let him have his way. Ring just hopped around on three legs and the paw got worse and worse. You could see the bone as all the flesh had rotted away. It never did get infected though. One day my brother, Bud, and I were walking downtown and Ring was limping along with us.

In Bly, there were always packs of dogs roaming around. These were friendly dogs but occasionally a good old-fashioned dogfight would break out. One did just as we walked past and Ring just couldn’t resist jumping into the fight and get in a few good licks. There is nothing quite like a good dogfight and we watched for a few minutes when suddenly out of the pack came Ring, minus his right front paw. It just came off in all the ruckus. He didn’t seem to even notice and just limped away as if nothing had happened. From then on he carried that right leg up like a badge of courage, never missing another dogfight. I always thought he might be looking for the missing paw.

He eventually grew a pad on the end of his stub, which was a great aid when it came to relieving himself. He was an all male dog and wouldn’t think of squatting to do his duty. He would just lean forward until he could balance on his stub and the hike his left leg like any self-respecting male dog would do. At first he would yelp a little as that stub was still tender but soon it toughened up enough and then nothing stopped him.

One time Pop and I were out duck hunting and when we came to a ditch full of ice-cold water. There was a small log across the ditch which we had crossed many times before but this time, Pop started across with me in tow and we had just reached the middle when Ring decided he wanted across too. He bolted across the log and when he passed us he knocked Pop off balance and since I was hanging on to Pop we both went into the icy water. By this time, Ring had made it to the other side and just sat there looking at us. He seemed to be saying, “Hey, can’t you guys walk a log?” I can and I only have three legs”. Pop wasn’t too happy with him but as soon as we got back into the car and dried off all was forgiven.

Ring was a good retriever if the conditions suited him. Many times he would bolt out of the duck blind and bring back the duck or goose Pop had dropped but if it landed in the river, he would tackle it then take it to the nearest side, which more than often, would be the other side from us. No matter how much calling would bring Ring back with the bird. He would just look at Pop and then jump into the river and swim back alone. It sometimes took us an hour or more to find away across to retrieve the downed bird.
I have many fond memories about Pop, Ring & I,

I have written several stories about Ring, including The Windy Goose Hunt. It depicts the kind of man my Dad was and the good sense of my faithful old dog, Ring.

To be continued...