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Bucky grows up...and up...and up!

Posted Tuesday, November 10, 2009, at 11:13 AM

This is the "little pup" that I wrote about earlier this year. He was dumped in the Arab, Mo. area of Bollinger County as a pup, and I had NO IDEA how big he would get! That is NOT his carrier in the background; he outgrew it months ago! Fortunately, he lies quietly on an old quilt in the middle seat of my Jeep, when we go to the vet.
Earlier this year, I put a photo of a pup into the NSC, as I usually do with the pictures which Bollinger County Stray Project founder Marilyn Neville sends me - and I promptly fell in love with the sweet, square-faced pup who sat looking out from the page in black and white.

"I think he may have some border collie in him," said Marilyn, ever optimistic.

I drove out west to Arab, past that very busy station/grocery store/community gathering place, and on to a gravel road, then dirt, then rocks - to the top of the hill, where Ruthie Shirrell, soft-hearted lady that she is, was keeping "Buck," one of TEN enormous pups who had been dumped one night, one to each "yard."

Within a week, I had a sneaky feeling that, if this was a "border collie," it was the biggest one I had ever seen.

Not only that, he didn't even WALK like a border collie!

"He walks like a Great Dane," said my sister Kathy. "See how his back end moves separately from his front end?"

When I told Marilyn how much he weighed at the vet's office at about 10 weeks, she said, "Uh, oh, that sounds a little like my mastiffs when they were young."

"Bucky" came to live with me on my remote Tillman farm, along with my 6-year-old hyperactive, matriarchal border collie Sassy and 5-year-old blue-eyed Chigger, a sweet-natured red and white hound that my daughter adopted from a neighbor. Both are spayed females, and I was worried about adding more dogs, though I knew I needed a third dog to replace my husband's old favorite who died last summer.

I need not have worried. Bucky has fit in beautifully, though I'm not sure Sassy would agree.

For about three months, Sassy still ruled the roost on the DeJournett farm, but before long, Bucky was looking DOWN on the other two and - even though I had him neutered at 4 months - he soon made it clear that HE was TOP DOG!

Sassy had been in the habit of disciplining Chigger, whom she obviously considered "her" dog, but this heavy-handed behavior did not meet with Bucky's approval, and he soon put a stop to it.

The first time I looked out the front window to see Sassy actually playing with my big gentle giant, I was flabbergasted. She never did that - even with Chig!

Things now seem to have settled into a pleasant routine -- except for that maddening habit that puppies have about chewing up stuff. I saw something of a paper nature lying in the yard when I left the house this morning, and I'm hoping it's not some vitally important document that the U.P.S. man has left for me.

At seven months, Bucky weighed 65 pounds, so I'm not sure what he'll top out at - but it may be 100 pounds. That's okay with me, as long as he's stays as sweet as he is right now. He has a big, deep bark that I find rather reassuring in the howling contests with the local coyotes, and he actually minds me better than the other two. He stays close to me on our morning and evening walks -- and he doesn't appear to have the urge to wander off on his own to faraway places. He is strictly a "pack dog," which is exactly what I wanted.

All in all, he's a big sweetheart, and I'm very, very happy that I made the decision to bring him into our family.

From the remote yellow hills of Tillman, Missouri, this is your rural reporter Madeline, signing off in an idyllic golden season!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Maddie, what a big ol' huggy bear....love him!!

-- Posted by BarbaraNTexas on Tue, Nov 10, 2009, at 1:41 PM

I'm beginning to think those big huggy bear dogs are the sweetest ones! My vet told me that she had never been bitten by one of those big dogs -- including the pit bulls. It was always the little bitty sweetie pie dogs that chomped down on you when you least expected it!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, Nov 10, 2009, at 1:51 PM

I'd like to smooth down that soft, feathery spot on his throat... and then smooth it down again and again. What a great dog! I'll rescue another boxer someday. There's just something about hugging a big dog that my little feisty ones can't replace. You have a fine, big dog!

-- Posted by GONENOW on Tue, Nov 10, 2009, at 3:55 PM

He's a doll! I have my 2 big dogs still (my Great Pyr and Bassett), but I've been wanting a small dog for so long! Yes, I agree, it's great having these 2 big lugs to snuggle up to like a life-size teddy bear, but they don't fit very well (or comfortably w/o bruising) in my lap...and that's what I want SO much! This guy you've happened upon sounds like just the thing you needed to complete your menagerie!

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Tue, Nov 10, 2009, at 10:06 PM

He is just the sweetest thing. There's something so comforting about being able to walk with a big dog and put your hand on his head without bending over. I have to fold over double to pet my corgis. He's SUCH a good addition for you. MUCH better than the little rat terrier you rescued.

-- Posted by mokath52 on Wed, Nov 11, 2009, at 7:29 AM

What a great story! My last addition to my family, which now totals 6--all rescues--is an approximately 5 year old boxer that was used as a breeder in a puppy mill. There's just something about the love and devotion you get from a bigger dog. Don't get me wrong! I totally love my little Maltese, Shiba Inus and spaniels too. And for any of you thinking about another dog for your home, Bollinger County Stray Project always has one that will fit perfectly into your family. Check it out. I guarantee you won't regret it!

-- Posted by loverofdogs on Wed, Nov 11, 2009, at 12:16 PM

Madeline...Sounds like you found the most comfortable "old shoe" of a dog. i myself have 2 lab mixes (one GS/lab) the other is (lab/??) but what wonderful dogs they are. Pair them up with my Shihtzu...4 cats...and about 20 chickens and boy do we have fun. Everyone in the group respects each other and never a fight between them (well, if you don't count play fighting)

By the way,,,guess who the Alpha Dog is at my house??? Yes ...most definately Yes...the Shihtzu! Little but mighty!!!

I don't know if you remember me...I live out side of marble Hill and work for the city. We met during the flood & I think ice storm last year.

All you folks out there...if you need a great dog in your life...Call Marilyn Neville. she is the woman to see. And on another note ...if you can...make a donation to the Bollinger county Stray project...or any of your favorite animal shelters! these precious creatures NEED YOU! If you can't take one home...then give a little something when you can ...it really makes a difference!

sincerely Carla Watt

-- Posted by cubbie on Wed, Nov 11, 2009, at 12:45 PM
Madeline DeJournett's response:
Carla, I certainly do remember you! What a meeting! There we were, standing on the bridge, with a raging torrent of brown water charging toward it! I had talked to you on the phone about various dogs, but I had never met you!

The City of Marble Hill has done good work in trying to cope with all those abandoned dogs. I can't believe that people just move off and leave them!

I would still love to do a follow-up story on that Dexter man who saw "Buster" in the NSC and went all the way to Marble Hill to adopt him. Buster's picture was the most SAD one that I ever saw! I almost adopted him myself! His owner had been put in a nursing home, and poor Buster had been left to fend for himself. It's all too common a story.

Marilyn Neville is an ANGEL! I've known her for probably 5 years, and she's tireless in her work with abandoned animals.

You should post a before photo of Bucky so we can see how he's grown!

-- Posted by Youngest Child on Thu, Nov 12, 2009, at 3:00 PM
Madeline DeJournett's response:
Good idea. I wish I could post more than one picture on the blogs, but we can't do that. If you go to "archives" and scroll down to "Crying the New Puppy Blues" (4/15/09), you'll see the first story I posted on Bucky, when he was still small. He's playing ball with my border collie, Sassy.

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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