Just After Daylight
John R. Sikes
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Back by popular demand, Captain John pens up another batch of tales fresh from the great outdoors. A Masters Degree, from the School of Hard Knocks, is earned in the stories found in his latest edition, Just After Daylight.
My father taught me how to talk to dogs.
Justice, with them, had to be swift and hard. Correcting bad behavior after the fact, he said, was a waste of time. It goes both ways. If you don't believe me, just try and get between an unknown bitch and her newborn pups. She will correct your bad behavior with a vicious snap. You'll learn real quickly what is okay and not okay.
I can still hear my father giving a "Yippee yo hey pup," to the far away hounds to let them know the hunt was still on. They never failed to answer him. Said he preferred to deal with dogs than people.
He did say he'd met several different dogs that were out and out liars, though. To this day, when I hear hounds go from the cold trail bark to the frenzied howl of a hot track, it sends shivers up my spine.
The hound-men I have the honor to have hunted with are a special breed of men. More often than not, the hunt didn't involve killing. They hunted just to hear the bay of the hounds. Their hounds always came first. They were fed and watered before the hunters themselves. Horsemen are the same way. It is a shame bank and corporate leaders aren't cut from the same mold. Most of them I have met remind me of some of the lying dogs my dad talked about.
I have been lucky to get to spend most of my life in the company of dogs. While taking clients down the river or out to the ocean, I always brought my dog along. The dog is part of the show.
For the last twenty years, a German Short-Hair has been by my side. They are truly remarkable dogs. My first one was not only a good hunting dog, he would run over and rob fire-wood from the neighbors. I would wake up in the morning and there would be fifteen or twenty pieces of firewood laying in my yard. One day while standing in the yard talking with my neighbor, my Short Hair ran into his garage and retuned with a big piece of firewood. After surveying my yard covered with his firewood, the fellow only had only one thing to say….
"You wouldn't want to sell the dog would you?"