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