I have many “dog stories” to tell, and I’ll try to share them over the next few papers.
This is the story of Lizzy, an Otter Hound and one of the most unusual members of our family of animals. Most of you never met her, but she was about as unique as any animal we’ve ever had. This is a rare breed, about the size of a Shepard, slim, fast, and a lover of water. Her most unique feature was her fur, which stuck out in a wild and independent way—which she most certainly was. She had her own ideas about almost everything and showed those independent characteristics whenever we went out into the wilderness to play and hike. Besides Lizzy, our animals at this time also included: Toulouse Lautrec, a Bassett Hound about as close to the ground as a dog could get, Bear, a big and gentile Mt. Pyrenees, and two cats that fancied themselves as dogs.
During this period, we lived in the country south of Reno with almost nothing around but sage. To the west was Mt. Rose and a Ski area, Slide Mountain. The three dogs and two cats spent much of their day in this country. Yes, the cats went with the dogs almost everywhere, keeping close to them regardless of where they roamed. Together they spent hours in the fields, often returning home as the sun set. At first, it was Bear that they followed, but as Lizzy grew, her breeding took over, and she became the group leader. In this case, it meant all followed her. Being a full-blood Otter Hound, her history was group, and that’s what she demanded from the other animals. They were her group.
Lizzy seemed to always know where she was. One day we went into a meadow of deep snow, and the animals went crazy with joy. They loved the snow and ran wild for hours until exhausted before they followed us as we cross-country skied. They did, but not Lizzy. She took off for the hills near us. Some time passed, and we gathered up the animals for our trip home, but not Lizzy. She disappeared into the hills; we knew not where she had run. We called to no avail. We did not see her, but she saw us and played her game of independence. We had no choice but to start the motor and at least act like we’re heading home. It was getting dark. But Lizzy saw it all and understood she’d better join us… or? Then, out of the darkness, Lizzy appeared with a look as if to ask the question: what about me? That was typical Lizzy, and we all left for home.