Working Dogs of Texas

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“He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.”

Anonymous

How many of us can recall a favorite dog companion from the past and those fond memories of the times spent hunting, caressing, or simply just sitting on the porch or in the yard, bonding with the old canine friend of yesteryear.

Having been reared in a rural environment on the League ranch in Knox County, dogs were a must around our house with a list of jobs for the mutts being endless. Coyotes and skunks in the chicken house, opossums venturing into the yard on a muggy summer night, rattlesnakes in the garage, and the obligatory job of venturing into the brush with my brother and I in search of pack rat middens , all in a days work for the  mixed breed mutts who lived on the ranch with us some half a century ago. Even though there were several dogs that passed our way during those years, I recall each one with fondness.

Here, at the age of 12, I am hugging an already aging Wheezer (left) and Pam (right) in 1963.

Here, at the age of 12, I am hugging an already aging Wheezer (left) and Pam (right) in 1963.

The earliest was Wheezer, an old black mixed breed who was death on rats, rabbits and skunks and had the honor of living to an advanced age, something very few dogs experienced in living with us out on the ranch.

A list of others who shared my boyhood years were Seymour, a spunky little yellow slick haired dog that suddenly disappeared one day never to be seen again. Tippi, an old bruiser who hated rattlesnakes and lived through a multitude of bites before being killed from the kick of a horse, was a real rough house who fit well in the tough environment along the Brazos. Jimmie, another of questionable lineage, whom I rescued after he was  hit by a car in front of the school house in Benjamin, fared well out on the ranch and developed a love for hunting anything that was his size or smaller. A second vehicle accident was too much to handle and we buried him out in the pasture near the house. Then came  Tippi Jr. in the 1960’s , a little bobtailed fuzzy part collie, who was making a wonderful little dog who had real cow savvy until  one rainy autumn night a large rattlesnake crawled in the dog house with him. We buried him in the growing dog cemetery over by the chicken house.

Others included John, aka “Blister”, a Norwegian Elk Hound who had a fantastic personality and was my best friend on the trapline.  The memories of Red, Candy and Pam bring a smile to my face when I stand at the old home place and remember their antics so many decades ago.

Everyone has a story about an old canine friend because almost all people love or have loved a dog at one time…the four legged kind I might add!! Thus our publishing company, “Badlands Design and Production”, now salutes all of those old dog buddies who have brought happiness to so many for years untold. “Working Dogs of Texas”, text by Henry Chappell and photos by yours truly, features dogs in our great state that occupy those niches that are truly special.

Please visit www.santafeonthebrazos.com/wodooftewyme.html to order your signed copies.

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We hope that you will join us in this celebration dedicated to dogs, past and present, that have made a difference in the lives of so many through out Texas.

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Heading to the Pasture: A Typical Day on the Ranch for the Working Dog

Heading to the Pasture: A Typical Day on the Ranch for the Working Dog

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Published in: on September 5, 2009 at 11:18 pm  Comments (12)  

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12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Good morning sir. I raise, train and trial working border collie stockdogs and I very much appreciate you immortalizing our dogs. We are blessed to have them in our lives only long enough to fill our spirits, renew our faith, and break our hearts. Then they’re gone and all that’s left is their joy. Cheers to you, Amelia

  2. Hello Wyman,

    I’m really looking forward to getting my copy of “Working Dogs”! I have 2 border collies and I’ve always been a big lover of this type of breed. As a kid we always had bird dogs or shepherds and now that I’m older and don’t get out in the “country” like I used to your photos always take me back to my early childhood. I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed your work more than any other.

    This past weekend my wife was in the hospital for a surgery and while in the waiting room they had TP&W magazines. I was really excited because it’s my favorite! I reread an article you had about the lost art of hunting. I’ve never been a fan of deer hunting because I can’t see the sport shooting an animal while you sit in a manufactured box while it sprays feed on the ground. I put the guns up a long time ago and now only use my fly-rod. I find more satisfaction working a stretch of a river “hunting” for the perfect spot to take a trout on a simple little fly. After reading your article I now understand why I find so much joy in it. Maybe TP&W will reprint that article every year and more Dads will teach their sons what it means to “hunt” and not “shoot”.

    Thanks as always,

    Mel

  3. Hello, I have contacted both Barnes and Noble and Borders Book Stores and have been unable to locate a copy of “Working Dogs of Texas.” Can you possibly tell me how to find a copy to order? I’m trying to purchase your book for my mother-in-law’s birthday.
    Thank you!
    Michelle Cyrus

  4. Please go to http://www.santafeonthebrazos.com/wodooftewyme.html to order online. This is a direct avenue for ordering. Thank you, Sylinda Meinzer

    http://www.wymanmeinzer.com Wyman Meinzer P.O. Box 195 Benjamin, Texas 79505 Office 940-454-3311 Fax 940-454-2139

  5. I had a beautiful Lassie type Collie when we lived on an oil lease where our nearest neighbor was Big Um Bradley–We were cut off from the world it seemed and Kiowa peak loomed on the horizon 4 miles to the south of us–The wild beautiful country was my playground and Lassie and I explored canyons,creeks and the Brazos–Lassie saved me many times from being bit by rattlesnakes–One time she kept pulling me away from a cliff on Red Bluff –Sure enough the place I had been standing crumbled and fell to the Brazos floor–This was the Salt Fork Of The Brazos or maybe the Double Mountain Fork–Croton Creek ran into it and this area also was known as the Croton Badlands. I grew up loving this area from Benjamin to Kiowa Peak–Dad had a cafe in Benjamin and I think the same building is standing as a store now–A friend and I will eat in Seymour at the Rock Inn Sunday around 1:00 and then leave to do a small photo shoot around Benjamin–His Dad ran a grocery store there in Benjamin–So Sunday will be a homecoming of sorts for us in Benjamin–Our families became lifetime friends as well as the Davidsons who owned and ran the theater in the old bank building there–I saw “THE THING” there and Johnnie Hail [Hale } and I ran all the way home that night scared to death looking up at those bright stars–My first Crush was Nelda Kilgore–Her Dad owned the Kilgore Drug store complete with soda fountain–I talked to you one day while you were out in your yard working–many years ago–Back to Lassie –what a beautiful dog–she and I had so many adventures–
    A true Lassie stories and tales developed from that rugged area–Lassie lived to the age of 14–Maybe we will see you Sunday as Ronnie Hamilton and I walk with the ghosts of our yester years in Benjamin Texas–Gaylon White–PS–I love the breaks probably as much as you–They are beautiful aren’t they ?

  6. I go to the new Cowboy Church in Wichita Falls–It is very different–Come up sometime and visit with us–If you come up ,call me and I will save you some seats–940-631-4034—-The pictures I take are kind of a history of our beginning and random shots as we grow–my site for texomacowboychurch.com is on the contact us page at the bottom of the page as a blue link

  7. test test test good myspace great test test

  8. i would love to purchase prints of your art. where do you sell your work?
    thanks!!
    Michael

  9. Wyman,

    I want to thank you again – along with Henry – for including my sweet dog Jasper in your Caregiver pages of Working Dogs. It is a precious possession. As a dog lover I have gone through it several times. It is an amazing testimonal to those great creatures that share our lives.

    Dana

  10. Wyman- I just want to say it was a pleasure for me and my boy Drake to work with you on the retriever portion of this book. The book is great and the photo’s are amazing. Thanks for letting us take part in such a fine piece of work! Terry

  11. Very cool post, great photos! Thank you so much for immortalizing our dearest friends with this book! http://lswda.org – Lone Star Working Dog Association.

  12. […] the world of domestic animals it has been shown that ‘working dogs’ have a more rounded personality, in the sense that they live a life that is more […]


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