Tootie & Katy
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27 W hen we topped a hill and swooped down to the tank, we probably looked like an army of dogs, except, of course, Daddy and I stood out a little taller. We never went walking without the whole Hill Gang. Daddy believed in being fair to everyone-if one was invited, they all came; if one got a bone, there had to be enough for everyone. Being fair didn’t always work because all the Hill Gang couldn’t snuggle under the covers with me on those blue norther nights-only Tootie and Katy were invited. When the wind whistled under the door, they’d sit on the floor and let their teeth chatter and their shoulders shiver and beg with their great big black eyes for an invitation to sleep on the bed that night. Of course, they were never turned down. But being house dogs had its drawbacks. Tootie and Tootie&Katy 29 Tootie & Katy bathroom, barricaded the door, and the war was on! Katy was first to go in the water. She stiffened her legs and nothing would bend. I pulled her hind leg like they do the calves at branding time, only she slipped and went under. Tootie looked at what was happening to Katy and hid behind the commode. How could they think I’d ever do anything bad to THEM! I pushed one end down and the other would come up. They flopped and waved their arms and stretched their necks and bugged their eyes. They slung water on the floor, and suds ran down the mirror on the medicine cabinet. Dog hair was sticking to my face and in my mouth, and we were sliding and sloshing against the walls and into the pipes under the sink, until finally I just said, “Okay, enough’s enough! All right for you!” I threw down the towels and left them soapy and shaking on the bathroom floor. If they didn’t care, I wouldn’t either and they could just stink all the way to Newcastle, but I was finished! Whatever they went through that morning wasn’t anything compared to what was going to happen to them later. Daddy heard about a place where dogs could be clipped, washed, and dried at about half the cost of Patty’s Petite Parlor. Of course, we had to do the work. So the four of us went to the dog washateria. Funny how they knew to start shaking, even when they hadn’t been told anything about anything. We put Tootie in the drying room, while Katy went first. Katy got stiff-legged again and wouldn’t bend anything, but the collar around her neck kept her from jumping off 30 Tails on the Hill of the table. So Daddy turned on the clippers and away he went. He started up the middle of her back while I talked to her and rubbed her behind the ears. She didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say, and she sure didn’t want her ears rubbed. Daddy snarled, curled his lips, squinted his eyes, and attacked poor Katy. He hopped around waving those shears, then running those clippers up and down and around like he was pushing a lawnmower, and when he stopped there stood poor Katy looking like a plowed cornfield. He grabbed the toenail clippers to trim her claws. When she bellowed, he dropped that paw and started on the other. The next cry brought the owner to Katy’s rescue. She told Daddy he’d better just take those dogs to the vet to get their nails cut because a vet knew how to do it right. Both of Katy’s feet were bleeding and she was hysterical. Daddy tried to tell her he was sorry, but she wouldn’t listen. Tootie was watching from the drying room, and when Daddy reached down to pick her up she let out a long, low growl, hunkered down, then shot between his legs and hid behind the wash rack. Daddy crawled around on his hands and knees trying to tell Tootie everything was going to be all right-just come on out-and finally, she did. He picked her up, petted her and plunked her down on the table. Tootie bucked like a wild horse. The scissors slipped and her ear got it! We didn’t think it was a bad cut, but she wouldn’t let us see. She kept swinging her head...


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