Note: Readers are reminded to search their memories about their own pets otherwise this
exercise is a little too self centred

EPISODE 480    PETS CONTINUED— TARA THE COONHOUND  and GEORGE the female cat whose name did not fool Tom Cats, etc.

alan skeoch
nov. 2021


JUST couple more pictures of Presque Neige when she lived in midst of wolves and bears and geophysicists

MARJORIE loved the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark which she tried to replicate
in our daily life.  But that was the 1960’s.  First let me tell a story of George
in the 1950’s.  Before marriage…the teen age years. The story will likely make you angry.


GEORGE was our family cat after SMOKEY died.  We did not have a family dog
until Marjorie got TARA THE COONHOUND from the SPCA.

GEORGE was chosen as a name in an  attempt to fool Tom cats.  To discourage them
from hanging around as they are prone to do when a cat comes into heat.  The ploy  did
not work.   George had a bushel or so of kittens which we distributed to homes in west
Toronto in the 1950’s.   In those years cats were abundant largely because pet owners
refused or could not afford to neuter their pets.

GEORGE (Dad set us all a fine example using George as bait)

Dad gave Eric and I a BB gun about 1953.  At least he put a dollar downpayment on the
gun and mom paid the rest.  Guns are dangerous things we discovered.
Dad believed in leading by example.  Rarely a good example .Our house at  455 Annette Street
was not an architectural marvel.  It has been built without much thought.  No kitchen There was no kitchen
in our part of the house.  Second floor of three rooms.  Cramped.  A previous owner had tacked
an 8 x 10 frame oddity on the back of the house which became our kitchen.  There was a small
window.   And it was here that Dad sat in the dark on Christmas Eve with the BB gun.  Like a sniper
in World War II, he waited patiently puffing on the dead stub of a White Owl Invincible cigar. Waiting
for George to spread the word the she was receptive for clandestine visits by the opposite sex.
In no time at all two or three Tom cats began to howl  on the back fence…”howl”…like the Mills Brothers in concert.
Then dad poked the BB gun slowly out the back window.  Took aim and fired.  I don’t know if
he hit anything because mom caught him and chastised him with the usual “Oh Red, you
fathead, a fine example you are for the boys.  Put that gun away.”  George continued to spread
the word and the Tom cats continued to howl.  Our cat was personal property.  Others were
fair game.   George always had her kittens at the bottom of the narrow stairway under our tiny
kitchen.   One bad result of that was fleas..  We could not get rid of the fleas and I remember crushing them
between my finger nails as they spurted my blood.  Ah, yes,  lots of nice memories of George.


TARA (The hound who never got a chance to hunt)

TARA was the first dog we had after Marjorie and I tied the knot.  Marjorie got her from the
 the SPCA.   She was a registered Coonhound but not quite big enough for purists.  So she was given to the SPCA to sell or do whatever had to be done.
Maybe TARA WAS not aggressive enough for She would follow a scent only a short distance always keeping us
in sight.  She was motherly… liked to mother our two boys as if they were her own kin.  Her gentle nature
and mothering instinct gave Marjorie an idea.  

“Why don’t we find a male coonhound?”
“  Do you want any male, let’s say a Jack Russell
or a Great Dane?”
“No, we must find another coonhound…black and tan.

Aside:  Now I must be circumspect … ie. careful…in what I write says Marjorie.

“Alan, I found a stud owned by a man in Clarkson…he’s willing.”
“Is his dog willing?”
“Of course…I’m taking Tara over today.”
“Have you supervised a sexual act before?”
“I told you to hold your tongue, Alan.”
“Mum’s the word…my mouth will be sealed with duct tape.”

And so the breeding got underway.  Rather unusual

“Alan, … something has gone wrong.  The male has turned around…he could hurt himself…Tara is facing
north while the male is facing south…terrible situation…I  must do something…”

So Marjorie rushed to the garden faucet…got a pail of water and threw it on the dogs much to their surprise….Marjorie
was relieved when they separated.

Have you ever heard of the term “locked”?  I thought not. When dogs have sex they “lock” …one faces one way, the other
the opposite.  Their sex does not usually entail a pail of cold water.   But it worked.  Tara got pregnant and had 11 puppies
one of which was the stud fee.   The others all went to non hunters as mentioned in an earlier episode.  Maybe worth 

“Do you hunt?”
“Of course, Coonhounds are great hunting dogs,”
“Not my coonhounds.  Sorry…no puppy for you.”
“Why not?”
“Many  reasons the foremost of which is the sad life lived by a neglected hound in a barn near us…  chained up inside for
most of the year.  Never gets free until hunting season.  One week.  Most of the time He paces the circle of his life in the darkness of the old stable. .  Not going to happen
to Tara’s pups.  Sorry.”

We kept one pup that we named SHADOW.   HE was as lovable and obedient as Tara until a
car got him as he bounded home to see us one spring day.  All of us were devastated including his mother.
That’s him looking at you in the picture above.

SPARTACUS (the gelding and both coonhounds out for a ride on a November afternoon._)

Just to get these stories straight, Marjorie is the prime mover with regard to animals..  I am just a witness.  In the 1960’s Everything seemed to
happen all at once.  Marjorie got pregnant … not in a locked manner.  Then she adopted Tara at the dog pound.  Then she
got Spartacus, her gelding. Rescued by a friend from the horrors of an estrogen farm.  We still  had the cat, presque beige, and
i think we had a couple of chameleons that got loose in our apartment never to be seen again.   In due process Marjorie got pregnant 
again and had to sell Spartacus as bouncing around on a horse is not good for babies.

We were not an unusual family.  Most of our friends also had babies, dogs and cats.  The horse may have been an exception.  Seems that the term
extended families meant animal adoptions.

TARA watches Marjorie and Kevin.  Her thought?  “What is this baby bottle routine…unnatural.?

“Alan, can’r you find something to do other than babysit while the dogs and I take Sparky for a run?”

So I began collecting horse manure…piled sacks of the sweet smelling crap on top of our Renault 16.

“What in hell’s half acre are you collecting that for?”
“Horse manure is best for growing mushrooms….piling it in a huge box at home…need a couple of tons.”

The mushroom venture was a failure…produced one mushroom and that was tiny and warted looking.
But I enjoyed the venture.   Sweet smell.  But had a bad effect on sale of our car which went to a scrap
dealer I seem to remember.


Names of PETS yet to be renembered

  -and others
FAYLA  (The hero dog)

Here is Andrew and a dog  I do not recognize speeding on a skateboard in Ohio


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