Cats and Dogs and Skunks on the Family Farm
An Iowan shares her memories of cats and dogs and some unintentional pets made of baby skunks
The usual family farm had an assorted number of cats and dogs along with other selected animals. One of our favorite pets that I recall was Old Bud, our Shetland pony. He always seemed old to me and was a bit stubborn. On occasion he pulled us to school in the buggy, along with some of the neighbor kids. I recall one day my oldest sister was riding him to the field where Dad was working. When it was necessary to cross a stream he decided he didn't want to, so he laid down in the middle with the rider on his back. He had found too much corn to eat at one time, and his hooves were grown out and curved up, making it difficult to walk. It was necessary for him to stand in mud or water several hours or even days to soften his hooves so Dad could trim them.
Buster was one dog among many that we had. I recall my brother poured kerosene on his back and he lost all his hair-he was not a pretty dog!
Another pet was not a very welcomed one by Mom. Robert and. I were playing in the corncrib when we saw some cute little black-and-white kittens coming from beneath the floor; he caught one and took it to the house to share with Mom. Her surprised comment was, "Get that skunk out of here!" The mother skunk had been destroyed a day or two before when she was found helping herself to the chickens; apparently her babies were getting hungry and had come out looking for her.
Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.