Coon Dogs – Three Dog Night
Every so often an individual comes along in the Hunting or Fishing world that leaves his mark. As in some good memories and some bad and some laughable. Over the years I have had all three, imagine that.
This particular story will focus on fast Freddie. Fast Freddie was quite the character, lived by Rice lake and well, thought he was American. He would tell you that he lived in the southern states for awhile, although never really saw or heard any proof of that. Hell he would sell you his dirty underwear if he could make a buck.
Now it just so happened that I was looking for a good coon hound. As you are aware these critters are not cheap, I was told through the hunting circles of Fast Freddie and that he had all kinds of dogs. So with excitement I drove to his place and was greeted by more stories than mother goose. When I mentioned coon hound, on and on he went, how he had good dogs and bad dogs. As he said some dogs worked for certain people, okay then.
Fast Freddie, after talking about the different bloodlines, then said, “I sell my coon hounds for $500.00. You can take them out for a trial first and if you don’t like them return them, but if you lose one then, you pay me.”
Hmm, very unusual. Okay, so young and naïve, I accepted his offer. I talked with my partner Ross, who laughed , and said he is quite the character, we have to be careful. I was offered up a Walker hound, Black and Tan hound , and a female hound who was Blue Tick.
So on the way to Ross’s I stop and pick up dog number one, an older boy, Sounder, a Walker hound, who had seen better days. Honestly, think he had some issues, by the way he was acting most likely a hearing aid as well. So we get him out and we see a coon in a field, wow what a great start this dog should start running right away. Oh no, out he jumped did his duty, then looked around, and then started to bark, great we thought, until the coon and we watched it, took to a four foot creek. Sounder ran the coon until the water then stopped and sat watching it cross. Hmm, no good a dog that could not and would not swim. Ross laughed, so we took this hound back, within the hour, and picked up dog number two.
This Black and Tan was younger and eager, Fast Freddie never said anything about anxiety issues at all. So we take Duke out, and go to a field with lots of corn. His nose was in the air and he was baying already. Great we thought, we listened to him run a coon, and we caught up with him after he all of a sudden stopped and was burying his eyes in the creek. Seemed that he had gone through an irrigation pipe and got hit by a skunk. Great..now what do we do?
So Ross said, “Lets take him back to the car, which happened to be my pride and joy, an older car, but hey still my Malibu. We will put him in the back seat, go pick up the third hound in my truck and then call it a night after hound number three.
When we got back we could not believe it. The dog tried to eat his way out of my car, my dash was eaten in half. Man was I choked, I said, I am almost ready to call it a night now. Ross said no the damage is done, so we took Duke back , skunk spray and all and dropped him off at Fast Freddies. We were both then thinking, will we ever get a good one?
Hound number three turned out to be very shy and timid, I remember her looking at me, as much to say I have a dogs life. Jassie was her name and would turn out to be the love of my life, in the hunting dog world that is , and well like good romances we got off to a shaky start. Fast Freddie told me she was the least dog most likely to be what I am looking for. He said she takes deer and runs them, which is why I have her.
I was open minded. She got out of the truck, looked at me for the first time, sniffed around, and then came over to me. Not too sure what this was all about, but after the night we were having, anything was possible. Ross said Perkins and I are going to this field, we will meet you there time is a wasting. Perkins was a silent treeing coon hound. german shepherd no less, who would bark when he was on the tree and had the coon treed..Ross and Lois’s best friend. A great farm dog, and proven coon slayer. Ross would always say Perkins is going to Perkinsize the coon tonight.
Now to Jassie, I went over to a tree and sat down, she came over to me, it was like she was asking me if I am good and tree coon will you be my new owner?
I pet her for at least fifteen minutes and said to her, “So I hear you like to run deer, Jassie, we are running coon tonight, and no deer please..There was a bond, a trust, right away…I took her over to a hot coon track put her on it , she looked back at me and said ..if it’s coon you want then it’s coon you get. She exploded with that big beautiful voice, it was game on. After we were done with her, to her credit she had twenty five coon treed.Wow we were impressed.Now to the good part, we went back to Fast Freddies the next day and said Fred, what bill of goods were you trying to sell us. He said what do you mean. Those damn dogs were all no good we said.Fred said that one dog I went to feed this morning , got hit by a skunk in the night , we never did tell him it was with us, told him about the damage to my car and showed him. Wow, is all he could say. But I will tell you what I am going to do, that Jassie dog would make a good pet, very warm and loving. She ran a deer, a story I made up, so I could keep her. I will give you a hundred bucks no more. “Sold!” he said, faster than flies on a rotting carcass.
The best money ever spent and a legend began, for seven years she would average 450 to 500 coon per year, only took two deer and was left to think about it, my coat being the only evidence to her that I was not happy with her. When I got there in the morning to pick her up she looked at me with that look like sorry Dad will not do that again. She was not just a hound, she was family, and gave birth to three litters of thirteen pups, ironically was bred in her kennel, by a German Shepherd and had beautiful pups, that turned into great family pets and some hunting dogs.Her and I had quite the seven years together, and when Fast Freddie would ask how she was making out ..I would say damn dog, only likes to run deer.
Jassie would live until she was thirteen. I could not put her down, my friend Steve had to , and I spent her final night in the kennel and her dog house, with her, she was in too much pain, for me to bear, the water and age had taken her hips..It was time to say goodbye. I still shed tears to this day, and have not found another one like her, there was only one Jassie, and only two people that I looked up to in Keene Ontario, that spent many hours with me and that was Ross and Lois Steed..Both have just passed on ..and I am sure they are still talking about Fast Freddie and the Three dog night….God Bless them all.
Another tail from the Squirrell’s Nest.