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The Feather


Since the age of two I have seldom been without a dog at my side. From working cow-dogs that did it all through instinct to dumb mutts that couldn’t get out of their own way. Hounds, bird dogs, fat dogs skinny dogs, lap dogs and even one bad dog, made that way by a self proclaimed guard dog trainer. You could say I’d been owned by nearly every kind of dog there is, almost. Then I met the American Indian Dog.

I saw one for the first time while working on a ranch near Roseburg, OR. A lady who shod horses there had one. It was striking in appearance, something like a “designer coyote”, but what impressed me most was the way this dog could ‘look through my eyes’. I have found that most dogs can be stared down and act uncomfortable even aggressive in some instances when fixed with a stare. Not this guy. He returned my stare, unafraid, yet nonaggressive and uncowed. His owner just smiled knowingly when she caught me at this little trick. I came away a bit wiser.

I mentioned this encounter to my partner, Liz, and she got all excited. Seems she already knew about these dogs. Then we met Kim LaFlamme and his dogs. First we got Yuma. He was just weaned and bonded with Liz tight as a new boot. He likes me, but Liz is always first in his affections.

Yuma grew up with much guidance from a little dachshund we called “Varmit”. They were together constantly till last January when Varmit went to that kennel in the sky. They had been together for ten years and Yuma showed much grief, searching for his little friend around our place and not acting his playful self.

Then our dear friend Kim, knowing of the loss, sent a little lady home with us. Her name is Feather and a more likely name could never be found. She is the epitome of gentle love and kindness. Just what Yuma and yes, Liz and I, needed. The spark is back in Yuma’s eyes and the two of them have come close to wrecking the house in their playfulness a time or two. The toy box left untouched gets emptied nearly every day as Yuma shows off his prize possessions to Feather. Through all this she shows a motherly attitude placing gentle kisses on cheeks of her new family and staying close by our bed through the night, she on my side and Yuma next to Liz. Oh she likes to show her independence all right. From time to time she excuses herself to go chase the digger squirrels on the mountainside back of our house, but she never stays away too long and responds well to the whistle.


It’s great that Charlie Russell included these dogs in his paintings. I like to think he knew them personally. Perhaps he knew what some of us are just now learning. The almost spiritual quality found in these animals……Well, it can’t be explained. You have to experience it.

Thank you Kim, for your lifetime of dedication to saving and preserving these fantastic dogs. Your friends, Butch and Liz.

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