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May 25, 1947 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1947-05-25

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Page Eight


...Dave Stew art

ning dogs. The ground was clear and
dry; and the birds sat tight enough.
The Field Trials had started on Friday,
and here it was late Sunday afternoon.
and everything was over; Clyde Mad-
ner's dogh aing won; and Clyde him-
self wa srtched out inside the club-
house coid as stone. I and the other
trainers were off to ourselves behind the
cars. .Some of the boys sauntered over
to the place c'here Clyde had got thrown
off his horse; and then they'd come
back not saying much. Usually after
the trial we'd all talk for a while about
dogs, and the guy whose dog had won
would be defending himself against the
"ifs" and "buts" of the others who had
placed pretty well up. But it wasn't
that way today. It didn't seem proper
to talk about dogs, especially since I
ha handled the winner, and he being
Clyde Mdner's. And we didn't talk
much about the accident either. Oh we
said he hadn't any business riding a
horse h7en he was drunk; but that
wasn't :ch. I guess guys like us don't
realy know what to say about some-
thg serious as that when it happens
to he wealthier people. Anyway there
we were standing off back of the cars,
loking over toward the clubhouse to
see what we could. We were all-us
and the owners too-waiting for an
ambulance from town to come and pick
up the body
I.don't know about the other guys, but
I didn't lihe Clyde very well. I'd han-
dled four years for him-some awful
gocd dogs too like Friskie and Ripper-
and I got to know him retty well in,
that time. He had about as much mon-
ey as anybody around . . . inherited
plenty, I tBnk. He was first-vice-presi-
det of the Lincoln Bank, which is one
of those jobs where you get payed a
lot for doing nothing: of course there's
plenty of responsibility. A good many
times during the four years he invited
me into his house. He never invited
my wife along, or anything like that;
bu h 'as sure nice to me. It was
always uter we'd come back from iun-
nirg Ith dogs. he'd tell me to come on
in'or a mtinute. We would go into the
kitchen or the den and have a drink or
tw. H's Wife would come in some-
times: and we'd sit there talking about
dogs and guns and hunting. It was all
rigt 'Iguess; but I always felt un
comfort'e . . . maybe there's a better
wo: d. It wasn't like feeling embar-
rassed. The only thing was. I never
felt I was in a home. Of course, I
never sal the living-room or library
or .any of the other rooms. Maybe
that's w'y it seemed strange. I don't
irow. liked Mrs. Madner. She was
rea YGung-a lot younger than Clyde-
and pretty too. She must have noticed
that I acted a little odd, because she
always tried to make me feel at home,
with her easy talk and smile. Just the
way she smoked a cigarette and held a
high-balglass seemed put on especially
fos me. O I don't mean she acted
fored or artificial or anything but still
it wasn't quite right. At least that's
how it seemed to me. They had two
youngste' Both nice kids. The boy
was a f',ae shot for his age, especially I
when 'it ame to skeet. (There were
sore of l is trophies sitting around in
the den) sHe missed quite a bit in the
fieid ut. as Clyde said, that didn't
matter somuch, since there weren't
an' pre
Well St first I liked them all right.
They ljust ike all the other people
who had g"ad dogs; in fact Mrs. Madner
was a lot better than some of her high-
brow :r'ie ds When I first found out
about C was in the second field
trial I handled for him. He had a big
blak-and-white pointer that was the
Meanest dog I ever saw.
Not ony was le cad tempered and hard
to handle; but what's worse, he got

me into trouble with the other handlers
and owners. Somebody was always yell-
ing: "Keep that damn thing out of
here!" And I never could, because Rip-
per wouldn't keep out of anywhere.
Then they'd yell: "What's the matter?
Can't you handle that dog? Don't you
train him any manners?" Well I didn't
like that. I don't reckon anybody else
would either. Having people bother at
you all the time kind of puts you on
edge, and makes you get a chip up on
your shoulder; and it takes most of the
fun out of what you're doing too. A
good many times I thought well by God
if Clyde's going to make me work this
fool dog forever, and get me to losing
all the friends I have, why I'll simply
tell him to find somebody else. But I
kept putting off because Clyde had
treated me right; and I didn't want to
get into anything with him. Thank
goodness it didn't last very long. Some-
body shot Ripper . . . which was all
right by me. I never found out for sure.
who did it. Ripper got off by himself
once, and that was the end of him. I
think somebody hired it done; because

bought her, except that she came from
very good stock; and also he couldn't
get any of the males from the litter.
He hated bitches. Said they were like
women: no damn good. (Of course, it
was more of a joke with him.) Well
Friskie - that's what We called her -
turned out to be the best dog I ever
want to see. I know that's a pretty loud
statement; but it's true. I know! I've
seen lots of good dogs, including the
famous Ariel of a few years back; but
Friskie would have taken anything, if
she had lived longer. She never was a
very big dog. Always thin; even a little
sickly-looking. But that frail constitu-
tion was a thing you never noticed after
you got used to her. She had brains and
a temperment which were a little more
than animal. Honestly she could do
things that I shouldn't tell about, be-
cause a trainer isn't supposed to let
show-dogs do them. I even shot rabbits
over her. And somebody saw me once
and said: "What are you trying to do.
spoil that dog's nose?" And I didn't say
anything. Nobody d believe me if I said
she knows what she's doing. And she

hobby with him and that he didn't
care to sleep with them. Well I don't
need to tell how quick I shut-up. At
first I cussed Clyde out in my own
mind; but then I thought maybe he was
right. Maybe I did sound sort of silly,
going on and on like that. Still I couldn't
understand how he could keep from
getting excited over the way Friskie
would come trotting back across a field
with a bird in her mouth held just right.
her head so high and proud, and her
feet not quite touching the ground. I
couldn't understand at all how he miss-
ed a thing like that. But he missed a
lot of things. He never even noticed
how she worked herself too hard. And
that was something. She worked as if
her very life depended on it. When
she came to birds, she simply went crazy
inside. Why, I've seen her hit a scent
in the middle of a long stride and be
frozen by the time she got her feet on
the ground. And seeing her stretched
out that way, straining forward, but
steady to wing and shot, and steady till
you hied her on or told her to fetch, is
something that you see maybe two or
three times in a life. She went so hard
that she wore herself out; especially
since she wasn't strong to start with.
She killed herself because she didn't
know how to let down a little. That's
just how she was: giving everything all
the time ... And, by God, Clyde never
even noticed.
It was last year that Clyde took her
to the State-trials. The weather was
bad: heavy wet snow slopping every-
thing up. By Saturday night Friskie was
so worn out that when I took her up
to the hotel room with me to dry her
off, she flopped right down and didn't
move. I went straight to the bar down-
stairs where all the owners were talking
and drinking, and walked up to Clyde
and told him. I said: "Frisk can't go
tomorrow. She's all worn out. She's
laying upstairs there like she's about
to die." I don't think he liked it very
well my coming in there with smelly
muddy clothes on. He said: "Oh for
Christ's sake; sure she can go. She's
just being like a damn bitch of a
woman." Then he laughed over at his
wife. I looked at Mrs. Madner, and
said: "But she's too tired. She'll never
finish. She's so tired she's sick .
won't even eat . . . just laying up there."
Mrs. Madner didn't say anything. She
looked at Clyde as if she wanted him to
do something. But he was talking to
some other men . ..bragging about how
far ahead of the field his bitch was.
She smiled at me, and shrugged her
shoulders. Clyde asked me if I wanted
a drink. His voice was too loud, be-
cause he was very drunk. Just about
everybody was drunk. I refused. "I'm
going back up to the dog," I said. "And
I'm telling you, she'll never make it
tomorrow." "Hell," said Clyde, "bitches
can do anything if they want to." And
then he laughed again, leaning heavily
back in his chair. "Isn't that so?" he
said to the agreeing group around him.
I found a veterinarian who was still
all right, and took him up to see Frisk-
ie. He looked at her for a second and
said: "Keep her warm and quiet., She'll
be all right." Then he sailed back down
to the bar. The way he didn't care at
all really made me mad. I stayed right
there with the dog, and goddamned
everybody, and tried to rest a little.
Friskie was so chilled through and ner-
vous that she didn't sleep all night.
The next day we went out again.
Clyde looked red and puffy and dissi-
pated, sitting up there on a horse and
talking noisily to everybody. He shout-
ed over to me. "Put her out," he said.
"Let's see that bitch walk off with
everything." Well I didn't say anything,
I tried to calm Frisk down a little; but
naturally she wouldn't. And then we
went out. The little dog snapped into
Continued on Page 11

-Marion Carleton

I was told about some guy who had
been hanging around for a couple days,
and 'who cleared out after it happened.
Clyde didn't take it very well. For two
weeks he swore at every dog-owner
around. I wasn't in on it; but I heard
how bad it got. Every time he'd meet
somebody he thought knew anything
about the shooting, he'd say some mean
remark, and then storm out before the
party could even answer. And that's
how I came to find out about him.
As far as I was concerned, it was bad
enough about his attitude toward peo-
ple to make me quit working for him;
but then I figured no. Like I said, as
long as a fellow is acting right toward
you, you hate to cause trouble. What he
does otherwise might not be proper.
But between him and me it was busi-
ness; and I didn't have any beef com-
ing. The thing that happens with a
guy like Clyde is he goes too far. That's
what happened the next year . .. which
is a story by itself:
Clyde had bought a young bitch the
year before. I don't know why he ever

sure did.... And I guess I was the one
who knew best how good she was. I
bragged on her all the time; too much
of the time maybe. At least I got into
it with Clyde over the way I acted. We
were out running Friskie and a couple
others; and all the time I'd keep saying :
"Look there, Clyde. Look how she moves
out ahead. Look at that point! Boy,
there's a dog with real form! There's
a dog." I reckon Clyde got tired of me
going on like that, because he'd just
purposely turn away to watch the
others. Finally he said: "For God's
sake, pay attention to the others. They
are 'better dogs anyway." Then he
stomped off through the weeds toward
the car. By the time we got the dogs
loaded, and were on the way home, I
had forgotten what he'd said; and went
and stuck my neck out again by saying
some more about the dog. And Clyde
said: "Can't you talk about anything
but dogs? Goddamnit I know Frisk is
all right; but she's not so good that you
have to talk about her all the time.
She's only a dog. And then he went on
to asay that havin, dogs was just a

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