Luke gave me the little Plott pup first day we headed for
the desert. No bigger`n my shoe, I stuck him under the
dash `tween my feet. Luke said put him in the dog box with
the other pups but I didn't want them fussin' with him.
Turk was the name on his papers, and I thought for two
three weeks he was a joke. Thought maybe they just sold
him a cull out of meanness, cause Turk wouldn't eat and he
wouldn't c'mere. Wouldn't even look at me when I whooped.
I thought maybe the little son of a bitch was deaf.
Damn. What good is a huntin' dog can't hear?
I'd whistle and call, and I'd clap my hands
damned near in his face. Turk'd just sit and look away.
That pup darn near broke my heart. `Sposed to be a
good one, outta good dogs, his hair was pinky black,
like kids' play clay gets when they mix all the colors.
It wasn't no strong brindle except in some light.
He had smart black eyes, but sad. Good ears. Darn near
dragged the ground. His hide was softer'n the old velvet
in the lining of Gram's good coat. Inside his mouth was
black and he had sweet breath. Wasted, Luke said.
When we took him walking on the desert, the other pups ran
snuffling all along the path, chasing up bugs and teasing
rabbits. Turk just sat on his ass in the path like a lump.
I had to carry him back to camp. Pissed me off. Luke too.
That damned near was the end of him. I thought Luke was
gonna grab him by the hind legs and bash his head into a
post, because even if I loved him, we weren't gonna feed a
cull. It just ain't what you do. Hounds ain't pets.
That night by the camp fire I wanted to cry. Stupid dog.
Big dogs were all tied out and the pups were all fartin
around the fire except for Turk who was at the edge of the
camp, just sittin in the dark lookin at us like a statue.
I couldn't look at him I was so ashamed. The moon was
almost full, so I looked at that instead. Made me feel
better, so I told Luke, Look at that danged big ol' moon.
Ain't it just beautiful? Man, I really felt like cryin.
What? Luke said. Like he hadn't been listening. Look at
the MOON, I said, sorta loud. And Turk jumped up. He did.
And I like to fainted! And I said it again. Loud. Look
at the MOOOOON! I said. And Turk barked again and again.
Luke started to laugh right out loud. That pup come into
the light of the fire his hind end up in the air, backin up
with his head down and barkin every time me or Luke said
Moon! I laughed until I got to cryin at that live dog.
Moon. That was his name and he knew it. Moon, I'd say,
and there he'd be. He was the most amazin' hound I ever
seen. Learned quicker`n any pup we'd ever run. At three
months he was trailin. We never had to teach him nothin.
A purty mouth even as a pup, bayin and booin, Moon never
did yap. Hound men all around the desert would laugh about
how he chose his name, but stand back, scratch their heads,
close their eyes and listen when ol' Moon hit a trail.
About Plott Hounds