Butch Cassidy the III
My Dad had a dog, well he was really an extraordinary dog. I think he was really a cat. He had many lives like a cat. When this young chocolate Labrador limped into my Dad's yard, my Dad took him in and started nursing him. Dad kept an eye on him and he kept getting sicker and sicker. The dog's leg was swollen up and he had several spots that had been bleeding. Finally Dad rolled him over onto a towel and loaded him into the truck and took him to the veterinarian. The vet give him a couple of shots and gave Dad a little bottle of pills for the dog. The vet told him that the dog had been attacked by either wolves or coyotes. So Dad hauled him home. In only a couple of days the dog had a made a major recovery. Like the age old fable he had adopted my Dad. Soon the two were constantly together. My Dad always had a great fondness for bird dogs and owned many over the years but this dog was different. Dad named him "Butch Cassidy the III" after a golden lab that he had owned years before who was the "second". Butch was a very lucky dog. Dad being a member of a private club in deep east Texas, which had 1400 acres of trees, swamp and lakes. Butch never let my Dad out of his sight and if he left the room the dog would be waiting at the door. I think he was scared that he would be left behind. He hated being apart from him.The days passed and the two enjoyed everything that the wild woods of east Texas could offer. Dad was an avid outdoors-man and began trapping wild hogs off the property. Butch would go with him to check the traps. One morning he and Butch headed out to run the traps using his golf cart. The trap that morning held a couple hundred pound wild black Russian boar. The boar thrashed the trap when he saw Dad and Butch pull up. Dad pulled out his .22 rifle and went to dispatch the hog when the hog broke one of the welds on the hinge of the door. The hog banged at the door and the hinge gave away and suddenly Dad was face to face with a very angry boar. The boar charged him coming full stream ahead straight at him. Before Dad could fire a shot Butch broke the leather leash he was on and waded into the hog with a fury. Dad couldn't shoot for fear of hitting Butch and the two quickly disappeared into the brush fighting tooth and nail. Dad was heart broke and scared that he would never see his dog again. He jumped back on the golf cart and slowly drove up the fire break thru the brush and trees calling and whistling for Butch. After about 45 minutes of looking for Butch Dad stopped and listened to see if he could hear anything out in the brush. He heard something rattling around and here popped Butch out of the brush. A happy re-union ensued. Dad rubbed Butch down trying to see if he was alright. Everything went fine until he got to his legs. He found some puncture wounds and one pretty good sized gash on his side. Back to the vet to get him sewed up. Fall was in the air, Dad was fishing from the bank below the dam of the lower lake. He was concentrating on detecting a light bite on his line when he realized that Butch was not sitting behind him. Butch had taken a habit of checking the area when they were outdoors. He thought, well, I guess that he has wandered off". Suddenly Butch came barreling over the top of the dam biting at himself. Biting his front leg and then at his hind leg just going crazy like he was fighting an invisible enemy. He quickly ran up to Dad and Dad could see the problem at last. Butch was covered with ground hornets. They were coursing thru his fur. Dad pushed him off the edge of the bank into the water with a splash. So Butch survived the attack of the wolves and now the hornets. Butch's face was a little lumpy after that. Butch loved to run beside Dad when he was riding his four-wheeler along the lakeside roads and trails that ran thru the forest. Over time Butch became a muscled up pooch. He could run for long stretches and when he got tired he would jump up onto the back platform that Dad had built for him. It was covered with carpet so Butch could get purchase when traveling fast. They hunted and fished together for many months and the weather got hot and the summer was in full swing. Around the lake the members had built boathouses along the shore. Each had a walk way above the water that ran out to the door. Now east Texas is home to the Alligator and they travel up and down the creeks as they please lodging in lakes that have plenty of feed for them. The clubs lakes were ideal for them and many were good sized after living in the lake for a few years protected as an endangered species. Well, Dad went in to borrow some trout-lines from a friends locker in a near-by boathouse. Butch was being a typical dog and was wading in the water nosing around in the weeds along the lake. He was trying to untangle some lines when he heard this great commotion outside. Yes, you guessed it. Dad came out to see what all the noise was about to see that a alligator had Butch by the front leg and was trying to drag him into the water. He let a big haller and frightened the alligator and Butch kicked with his strong legs and freed himself. Back to the vet! People would ask my Dad what kind of dog Butch was and he would reply that he was a "golden" Retriever after all the gold he had spent at the vet's office. Butch's fame grew so that soon people would stop by to see Butch and see what adventures he had been up to. The stories about him circulated around the club. The dog with nine lives. Butch was a funny dog he loved to go out in the boat. He would lay and sleep in the bottom of the boat but when engine would start and the boat rumble to life, Butch would sit up and watch the water roll by. One time my Dad invited an old family friend Ralph to go fishing and of course Butch went along. Ralph was quite a character in his own right. He was a retired stunt pilot and was a busy aviator parts builder. He flew his planes around Texas as he pleased and flew into the Mineola Airport regularly. Well, our trio was out on the water catfishing and they were using blood bait. They soaked a hook at a couple of good holes and had a few catfish in the cooler to prove it. Butch was laying in the bottom of the boat as he normally did. Watching their corks for awhile with no bites, they concluded it was time to move to the next spot. They brought their lines in and stowed the rods. Engine running and away they went. They glided into the next fishing hole and dropped anchor. Ralph picked up his pole to bait his hook and it was missing. Now Ralph looked down in the boat thinking that the hook probably caught on the boat and cut the line. He looked and looked no hook or bait. He brought this to Dad's attention saying how odd that was. Ralph pointed at Butch asking him if he thought the dog would eat a hook covered in blood bait. Dad wasn't sure if he would or not. Butch lay calmly in the bottom of the boat sunning himself. As the discussion went on Dad noticed that Butch was kind of ignoring them. Which was not Butch's habit, usually if he heard his name he was all over you. Suspicion grew, they both decided they had better get him into town. Dad was amazed that this dog would swallow a treble hook and not be bother by it. When they got to town and saw the vet. He x-rayed Butch's stomach and there was nothing there. He then x-rayed Butch's neck and there shining, glowing was the hook lodged in the worse spot it could be in.The vet told them that there was only two places in Texas where they had the facilities to perform such an operation thru the neck and remove the hook since going down the throat was impossible because of the location. One was in College Station and one in Wills Point. Ralph hatched a quick plan to put the dog in the plane and fly him to College Station and get that hook out! A flight of mercy! Dad pointed out that Wills Point was much closer and they could just drive there. So away they went to see the vet in Wills Point. The operation went perfectly and Butch soon had the hook removed. He got put on a diet of blended dog food and hot water for a few months until he recovered his strength. Butch and Dad had many more adventures both near and far before they parted. Most were a lot more fun than these.