Growing Up in the Midwest


Then Came Happy

Our first dog was a collie named Laddie. He had to be put down after one of our farm hands cut off one of his back legs with a farm implement. The loss of a dog always hit our family hard because they often lived in the house, especially in the winter.

Then came Happy. And our family increased by another member.

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Carolyn, Happy, and I on a rack of round bales

We didn’t know it at the time but this dog would set the standard of a pet so high, no other pet would ever live up to his standard. He was a gallant German shepherd, the only registered dog we ever owned. His full name was Hap of Hapsburg. Happy had a hunting companion that lived on our farm for many years. They were quite a pair. Mike, a Beagle, loved to hunt rabbits but could only bray as his short legs churned as quickly as he could energize them. His nose nearly touched the ground when he found a scent and he never looked up while in chase. Everyone seeing and hearing him always chuckled at this blind and speed challenged hunter. The rabbit could have doubled back and run by Mike and he would not have seen him. For him everything revolved around smell. It might have taken him forever to catch his prey, but Happy would sometimes see the rabbit running way ahead and bring the rabbit back to Mike before he knew what was happening. But most times the chase ended in frustration because the rabbit found a place to hide out of the reach of these two unlikely partners.

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