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Chuck Hinman. IJMA No. 182: Sport (Hinman), a farm dog

It's Just Me Again No. 182, Sport (Hinman), a farm dog, (1930-1944) an unforgettable friend. Writer says he can't imagine life on a Nebraska farm without a farm dog like Sport
The next earlier Chuck Hinman: Chuck Hinman: IJMA No. 341. Knock Knock Is Chuck Hinman your favorite Sunday with CM columnist, as many tell us? If so, we hope you'll drop him a line by email. Reader comments to CM are appreciated, as are emails directly to Mr. Hinman at: charles.hinman@sbcglobal.net

by Chuck Hinman

This is a simple story about a collie dog, who lived with the Arley Hinman family of rural Liberty, Nebraska. His name was "Sport." He wasn't unusual. What I write about him could have been written about "Doc," the Dillow's Airedale dog, or any of the scores of Gage County, Nebraska farm dogs.


They weren't "pampered poodles"; yet, when Sport passed away, an unemotional grown man -- my Dad -- sobbed in his privacy. You wouldn't have believed such bonding had taken place between dog and master.

I don't remember Sport's early days. It just seemed like he was always there when you came out of the house. I don't remember one time seeing Sport inside the house -- even in bad weather. He was not a house dog and he would have been uncomfortable inside. He was in all respects an unassuming farm dog -- always ready and waiting to accompany the family anytime, anywhere. He was upbeat and enthusiastic at all times -- you could tell because he always preceded you wherever you were going, often barking at nothing.

He was eternally young at heart -- always ready to join us kids in whatever we were playing.

Sport appears in so many of my writings, such as when we used to sleep on the front porch in the summertime. On moonlit nights when lightening bugs filled the night air in the front yard, Sport would join us underwear-only clad kids chasing those bugs. He had more fun than anyone, falling asleep near someone's bed when fun and games were over.

In Sport's lifetime I have seen him follow horse or tractor-drawn farm machinery from sun-up to sun-down, back and forth across the fields taking a short break only pee on something.

He was a very busy dog in the fields; yet he was always there when I made my nightly trek to the pasture to bring in the cows for milking. He didn't "know beans" about driving cows, but he didn't have to; the cows knew there was some alfalfa waiting for them in the milk barn.

Some of Sport's routine tasks were to mark all wheels visiting our farm yard. I never made one trip to our outdoor privy (men only) that Sport didn't wait for me at a discreet distance. He loved to go fishing and rabbit-hunting. When we went skinny-dipping at the bluffs, Sport was the first one in the water and the last to leave. I would swear that Sport had a boy's heart in a dog's body if that is possible.

Sport passed away when I was overseas in World War Two. It was a custom in our neighborhood that when a beloved farm dog passed away or had to be put down that a neighbor or best friend took charge. All I know (or want to know) is that Sport is buried somewhere on the Nebraska farm he knew and loved so well. He was so loved that I suspect all the other farm animals missed his cheerful disposition.

I can't imagine life on a Nebraska farm without a farm dog like Sport. Rest in peace, faithful friend.



This story was posted on 2011-01-30 09:25:58
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