2018-02-07 / Opinion

BACKROADS AND BOBTAILS

Man’s Best Friend Will Lie to You
by Bob Kornegay

My wife has a favorite saying to describe someone who is prone to exaggeration or is otherwise untruthful. “He’s lying like a dog,” she’s fond of saying.

I used to chide her for saying that. I mean, I never considered the behavior of dogs to be a proper analogy for lying. Heck, dogs are man’s best friend, right? How could a dog possibly lie to you?

Well, over the past few decades, I’ve learned that dogs can indeed, and often do, lie to you. Big old bald-faced lies, too. Then they still expect you to take them home and feed them.

Take coonhounds, for instance. I remember trusting one particular bluetick enough to crawl on my belly into a palmetto thicket, trying to flush out the ringtail he swore was hiding there. The “coon” was a bobcat instead, cornered and highly ticked off.

The skunk another hound “treed” in a gopher tortoise hole didn’t hurt me nearly so bad, but it surely took a lot longer to wash off. Several days as I recall.

One coon dog I knew led me across a south Alabama creek one night when the temperature was hovering around 35 degrees. Of course, the water was not as shallow as I first thought. After resurfacing, I clambered up the bank and raced to the tree where Ol’ Luther was baying for all he was worth. Turned out that was no great amount. There was no coon, no nothing. Almost froze my ample hiney off.

Once I was lied to by a whole back of cute little beagles. They struck a hot trail, their first of a long day’s hunting, and the “rabbit” led them on a lengthy and furious chase as I waited nervously for the dogs to bring the quarry around into shotgun range. What eventually burst from the thicket in front of me was no cottontail, but a huge feral tomcat that took a lock-clawed swipe at me as he ran by and scared me so badly I had to stop hunting, no longer trusting myself with a shotgun around those cuss-fired lying dogs.

Hounds aren’t the only canine liars, either. Bird dogs can be champion prevaricators as well.

I once had a wonderful friend named Don. Don never lied. He was honest to a fault. Lord knows what got into his two Brittanies. I once watched those dogs point a big old brush pile, a mass of pine tops and cast-off logs. A quail covert? Nope. The biggest buck deer in southwest Georgia was bedded down in there. I almost broke my neck getting out of his way when Don fell through the brush pile and ran him out.

Later that day, the same brace of Britts pointed a flock of meadowlarks, two rabbits, and one very large rattlesnake that I nearly stepped on while trying to “flush” it. Don shot the rattler over my vehement protests. If we’d just left it alone, I believe it could have taken care of both of those lying mutts.

Needless to say, I don’t own any hunting dogs anymore. I’m way too old to put up with all their incessant bull-shooting. I’m reluctant, too, to go hunting with another person’s dogs. I’m just not as patient as I used to be, and a loaded 12-gauge is simply too tempting.

As for my wife, I’ll never take issue with her analogies again. Thinking on it, “Lying like a dog” is a very astute statement.

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