Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 34

Sometimes, walking, Henry
raises his nose into the wind,
his Cleopatra eyes nearly closed,
and you know he's finding
something from long ago.

A fishhook tail is characteristic of a
Carolina Dog standing at attention,
thought to be a warning signal to
the pack.

34

BLUERIDGECOUNTRY.COM

mine-in fact, he got a few
write-in votes in the last local election.
Who was this dog/coyote/acrobat/murderer/joyhound? I had to know.
Confession. Although I
have never done my own
ancestry search, I sent away
for a DNA test kit.
The results came back
from WisdomPanel with no
exotic surprises. Henry was,
they reported, 25% Siberian
Husky, 12.5% Beagle, 12.5%
Collie, 12.5% Great Pyrenees,
12.5% Labrador Retriever,
and 25% Mixed Breed Group.
In a word, a mutt. A beautiful,
talented, mysterious mutt.
More months passed, Henry and I walking three miles
every morning in the woods,
rain or shine. He had a fine
time pretending that soon-
very soon-one of those dozens of squirrels he treed would fall into his waiting
jaws. Hope springs eternal in a good dog.
And then, scanning an issue of the
wonderful online journal The Bitter
Southerner, I saw a picture. Of Henry. Or
Henry's twin.
Written by Cy Brown, the article

was a paean to his dog, Penny. And
what I learned about her and her probable breed, the Carolina Dog, made all
the pieces of Henry join together into a
beautiful completed jigsaw puzzle.
Dr. Lehr Brisbin is the Godfather of
the Carolina Dog breed (now recognized
by the United Kennel Club). It was Brisbin who determined that Carolina Dogs
(found wandering wild in the swamps of
the South Carolina/Georgia line) were
the only American dog with no European roots. The wild Carolina dogs are,
Brisbin believes, descended from Asian
dogs who followed humans across the
Bering Land Bridge into North America
14,000 years ago. Where, in places with
few inhabitants-like the Carolina/Georgia swamps-they remained their own
breed.
There is, I learned from Brown's
story, a Carolina Dog Society of America,
as well as a Carolina Dog History,
Education, Research and Conservation
group, both with their own Facebook
pages. And log on to YouTube for good
tutorials about Dixie Dingoes (which,
Brisbane assures you, are not dingoes-
just good, old-fashioned canis lupus
familiaris).
I emailed WisdomPanel to ask if they
tested for Dixie Dingoes/Carolina Dogs-
they don't, given that they're so recently
recognized, and not by the American
Kennel Club.
Is Henry a bonafide Dixie Dingo?
Who knows? He's found his home, I've
found my dog, and we live together in
the mountains happily. I give him a
warm bed, good food and lots of running; he gives me gnawed bones and
dead groundhogs and unending adoration. Fair trade.
Call them what you want to: yaller dogs,
porch dogs, American or Dixie Dingos,
Carolina Dogs. You'll know them by
their habits, their appearance, their loyalty.
Sometimes, walking, Henry raises his
nose into the wind, his Cleopatra eyes
nearly closed, and you know he's finding
something from a long time ago-something from Asia, or the Carolina swamps
and rivers, or the mountains of Wise
County.
And then-every time-he turns back
to look at me, and on we go.


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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020

Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 3
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 4
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 5
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 6
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 7
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 8
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 9
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 10
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 11
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 13
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 17
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 18
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 20
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 21
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 23
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 24
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 25
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 27
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 28
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 29
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 34
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 35
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 60
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 61
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 62
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 65
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - 66
Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover3
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - BPG 1
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Blue Ridge Country May/June 2020 - Cover4
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