Richard F. - Short Stories>
Curly and the Snake
by Richard F. Stratton

Curly was a 47-pound pure Old Family Red Nose dog that functioned as a house pet for Bob Wallace and his wife, Doris, for over ten years. It was my pleasure to have seen this dog in his home in 1957, and he was truly an admirable animal, smart as a whip and one of the most beautiful Pit Bulls I have ever seen. Bob once made out a thumbnail sketch for me on Curly and a number of his other dogs. Here is what the one on Curly said:

Kennel Name: Curly
Registered Name: Wallace’s Red Brave
Kennel Weight: 55 pounds
Pit Weight: 47 pounds.
Color: Red, red nose, red eyes, red toe nails.

Comments: An old-headed dog from the time he was a pup. Very serious minded and seemed to understand everything that was said to him. Was never house broken–yet never soiled the floor in his life. In going from one room to another, he would stop and wait for permission to go through. He went with me every place I went, riding in the back of my station wagon with his head on my shoulder. He always walked close by the side of my leg like a Seeing Eye dog and obeyed every command instantly. He helped with all the chores, and at night, he would get up two or three times and check the house. Then he would come back and sleep in his bed beside mine. He got into several accidental fights with my other dogs as h was growing up, but these were always stopped, as he was always murdering his opponent. When he became mature and I had to know about the depth of his gameness, I tried him against two fighting dogs (both heavier than he), Rusty (little brother to Brindle Jeff) and Chief (a litter brother to Curly’s sire). I sent him one hour and 18 minutes and nearly killed him. He crawled to complete his scratch at the end of that time, I declared him game and one of the greatest dogs I ever produced. He could do it all, as he was a gifted wrestler and hard biter, and he was game. But he was my baby, and I loved him like a child, and for that reason I never matched him. I was afraid I might send him too far and lose him. To have done so would nearly have killed me."

In a later letter, Bob told of how on a trip to Fort Smith, he stopped the car to let Curly out to "do his duty." "Curly started jumping stiff-legged through the tall grass like he does when he is after a grasshopper. When he does that, I tel him to ‘get it for Daddy,’ and he does! He has brought me toads and grasshoppers just like a bird dog. Without thinking, I told him to get whatever it was he was after–and he did! He came out of that grass with a four-foot water moccasin that he was holding about a foot and a half from the end of the tail, leaving plenty of room for the snake to twist and bite him. I was terrified speechless, but the old boy seemed to realize that the snake could be a danger, and he shook it so hard that he fell down on his elbows. But he never stopped shaking, and after a few minutes, the snake was quite dead, the head smashed just as flat as if it had been done with a shovel. Mrs. Wallace nearly fainted when I had Curly carry the snake up to the car to show her!"