True West Historical Society

Official Site of True West Magazine, Since 1953

February 5, 3014

Got some light rain today. Still on it for another 16-page-signature, due on Friday. One of the points I make in my talks about going to Iowa every summer is that as we were always traveling eastbound on Route 66, while we met all the westbound people going to California and Disneyland and they were laughing and waving and they had innertubes on the top of the car, and, there we were, heading to the family farm north of Thompson, Iowa to talk about crops and eat five times a day, with these rip-roarin', happy-go-lucky people:


Norsky's Kicking Out The Jams On A Saturday Night! Dina, Hank, Thelma, Carl, Grandma Hauan, Minnie, baby and uncle Glenn high on life.


Meanwhile, found this photo of me and my dog Pal in front of our old house on Ashfork Avenue in Kingman.


I believe that's a '49 Ford pickup with the side panels. My father always had nice rides.


My Dog Pal

A man brought a box of puppies into my dad's gas station and put them on the floor in the office. As I looked at the cute little mutts, my father told me to choose one. I picked up a little spotted, black-faced noodle and petted him as he snuggled into my neck. One of the pump jockeys suggested I call the dog “Pal,” because that was what he would be. I took the advice and Pal was my dog, following me on my bike everywhere up and down Ashfork Avenue.
   One day, when the late-summer traffic on Route 66 was especially heavy, I was riding my bike home from the station towards our house. Where the apron for the gas station ended, there was a small bike path right along the highway that I had to travel before angling off back to the dirt roads west of the highway.
   As I peddled along, Pal saw a jackrabbit and chased it as it angled out on the roadway. A car hit Pal head on and ran over him. The horrified people stopped and got out, but Pal rolled several times, jumped up and, trailing blood, ran all the way home.
   My father got home before I did and we found Pal in the side yard, coughing up blood. The vet came and cleaned him up, examined his abrasions (incredibly he had no broken bones), and said he didn't think Pal would make it through the night. I worried all night. But in the morning, Pal, looking even worse than before (bloated, bruised and with one eye swollen shut), was still breathing.
   Pal lived to fight another day and we had many adventures together. Unfortunately, while I was at school and my parents were working, Pal started running with a pack of neighborhood dogs and got into it with a porcupine out near Doc Arnold's house. Someone found him on the side of the road and called the number on the tags.
   Again, the vet was called, and this time my father had to hold Pal with a rolled up newspaper jammed into his mouth so the vet could pull out all the quills with a pair of pliers. It took about an hour, and Pal was traumatized by the painful experience. So was I.
   I remember my dad joked that, hopefully, Pal had learned a lesson. But the vet shook his head and said that not only do most dogs not learn, they go back and seek out more porcupines.
   This time the vet was right. Not long after, Pal showed up briefly with his face full of quills again. But now, he wouldn't come close.
   We never saw him again.


"A boy and his dog will make you weep."

—Old Vaquero Saying

Views: 162

Comment by Dieter on February 5, 2014 at 4:57pm

Nice truck but a sad story. Made me think of our pets.

Now get back to work!

Comment by Mundo Osterberg on February 6, 2014 at 4:58am

Me and my homies in front of my pa's truck. West Phoenix in the late 50's.

Comment by Bob Boze Bell on February 6, 2014 at 6:33am

Mundo, lot it. Doesn't get any better than that. Love the helmet. Is that you?

Comment by Mundo Osterberg on February 6, 2014 at 12:17pm

No, the kid in the helmet is Phil Luna and his two sisters, I'm the geek with the football.

Comment by Sue Cauhape on February 6, 2014 at 10:40pm

Handsome little geek. Nice truck, too.

BBB, your dog story breaks my heart, but Pal's impetuous nature was blessed by his nine lives immortality. How knows? He's probably chasing rabbits and porcupines to this day.

Comment by Margaret-Anne Moore on February 9, 2014 at 12:52pm

When I was a toddler, a new family moved into our old neighborhood.  They had a young four-legged person, and, when they had moved in, he went around the neighborhood to  "introduce"  himself to his new neighbors.  HIS NAME WAS PAL.  My Mother told me that he was at my bassinette looking at me with love, and she thought he was going to try to get into it with me.  When my Mother would put me outside on my blanket, he would come over and lay down on the blanket with me.  He knew the mailman and the milkman, and never bothered them.  But, if strangers were in the area he watched them like a hawk.  We lived across from him and his family for about a year.  When me moved, he left his home every day in search of me--it took him six weeks to find our home! 

Comment by Murray A. Gewirtz on February 9, 2014 at 9:55pm

Dogs are real pals. They'll never forget you, and are always grateful for what you do for 'em.

Comment by Sue Cauhape on February 10, 2014 at 9:07am

What a sweet story, Margaret-Anne.

Comment by Margaret-Anne Moore on February 15, 2014 at 5:10pm

Sue, Pal died when I was fifteen, and  I BAWLED BIG TIME!  My Mother told me that they thought he was half Chow and half German shepherd--with possibly some other halves thrown in.  He  "married"  a little Fox Terrier from the old neighborhood, and their son came to live with us.  He looked just like Pal, only a much smaller version!  Their son's name was Bingo--Bingo and Pal despised each other.  Maybe Pal was jealous!


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