How I got into the dogs by Fredric Maffei

As solitary people will, I looked to a dog for company, an as yet unchosen dog. But where to get it and which breed to choose?


Somehow I didn’t pick the breed so much as it picked me. I met it in a park – the breed I mean, not the specific dog. This pit bull terrier was a rare sight for me, the streets not rife with them as they are now. Truth told, the only other pit bulldog I’d seen on a regular basis was Pete the Pup from The Little Rascals. That’s how few there were around back then.


His name was Rainbow, a handsome dog, mostly white but with patches of brindle, and he had his owner with him.


The first thing that struck me about the dog was his thinness. And yet, far from looking starved, he looked supremely athletic and ready for anything, a light in his eyes more confident than any I’d ever seen in a dog. The second thing that struck me about him were the scars he wore, some on his muzzle but lots more on his front legs.


Somehow I knew even then that it was a fighting dog I was meeting – and something stood still in me, some small shock of attentiveness taking hold in me.


Hadn’t I read White Fang years before? Hadn’t I that same heartfelt loathing of dogfighting that any other human being feels, provided he is sane? Did I not feel obliged in whatever way I could to rescue dogs from such men as would fight them?


The dog’s owner, one Adolph Torres, didn’t look anything like his dog. He was old and fat and either bald or shaved his head. He was surprisingly forthcoming as well, mistaking my inquisitiveness for enthusiasm. Even at that very moment he was working his dog for a match soon to take place. Working him how? Simply by walking. But then the dog pulled so hard in harness it was all the workout required.


It was a quarter hour spent gleaning info about fighting dogs, info that would never have been available to me had Adolph Torres been as suspicious of me as he ought to have been. Still, what I had gleaned impressed me. Was I anywhere near as game as these fighting dogs? Hell, I thought I had showed game in that fight with the Golden Gloves guy – and I’d fought him two minutes tops. And yet, if Torres were to be believed, these pit bulldogs would fight a full hour even while on the receiving end. Hell, they’d fight for two hours or, on rare occasion, even three, even to their death.


No, that couldn’t be true, mere hyperbole from a professed dogfighter with too big a mouth. Three hours?! Could  he have been right? Was he right? I didn’t know.


I told him I wanted a pit bull terrier for my own. I told him I wanted the real thing, a pup out of well-bred working stock and I’d settle for no less – all of that perfectly true, as far as it went.


What with the enthusiasm of his listener, Torres half invited me to see his dog fight. The other half would have to wait. Torres might have had a big mouth, but he wasn’t nearly so mindless as he was naive. He’d think about it and call me, he said. Actually, he called me several times and became gradually convinced I was in his corner.


As for my part of it, sheer ambivalence. Yes, I wanted one of these dogs. Yes, I knew dogfighting was not only shameful but unconscionable. But I was no rat. Never was. I wasn’t going to lie my way into someone’s good graces only to betray him later. I was no goddamned undercover cop, speaking out one corner of my mouth then the other. But then the only other choice available to me was to come right out and say it:


“You’re a mean and sadistic animal, throwing two dogs together and watching them fight, betting on them.”


I never said the words, however much I might have thought them. And I wanted one of these dogs – not only to have so fine and courageous a companion at my side but to rescue him or her from whatever terrible fate in store.


Again, sheer ambivalence.


There I was at the site of a dogfight, a fish far more out of water even than usual. One of thirty or so men gathered around the “pit” – what in all Creation was I doing in that dark crowded little basement? A nausea roiling in my belly, I was on the verge of witnessing what I feared would be too horrible a sight to endure, perhaps too horrible to recover from, a sight made all the more nightmarish for its being real.


The “pit”? A mere sixteen-foot enclosure squared off with plywood walls. There was a rug on its floor, thin cushioning between the dogs and the hard cement under their feet. The pit contained a referee as well, very serious and signaling Adolph Torres to step in with his dog and another man to step in with his as well.


Faced in opposite corners, the dogs strained toward one another, their owners holding them back. The referee said, “Let go!” and they did, the dogs crashing together in the middle of the pit. The fight was on.


It was eerily silent, not a sound from either dog, certainly no growling. This was all business.


It was a brindle dog Rainbow was fighting, one named Tater. Tater’s owner was young, probably about my age, a man whose first name was the same as his last, and that’s as far as I mean to identify him. (I’ll call him Al Alberts here, that being as good a name as any.)


The odd thing was that the dogs, for all their biting and shaking one another, were so equally capable they almost canceled one another out. No blood, etc. No tearing apart, no squealing with pain, none of any of that. Only after ten minutes or so did I see a bit of pink on Rainbow’s white coat, some cut somewhere perhaps, its red diluted. Or it might have been a cut in Tater’s mouth bleeding out. I didn’t know.


I remember that a good many of our little crowd of spectators were very put out with poor Al Alberts for his having brought his Tater dog in heavy. “He’s too fat, he’s running out of air,” one voice said and several more echoed.


They might well have been right, but it never came to that. Ten minutes into the fight, I heard another voice say, “The cops are here!” Turning and looking in the direction of the voice, I noted a man looking out the basement window at whatever happenings outside. “Hey, the cops are here!” he said again, the words slow to register in the minds of the majority intent on the fight.


But then the quickness of group escape – men pouring through the two exits, one leading to the yard, the other to the house itself. I was back far enough in the line to gather and even to empathize with poor Al’s dilemma. Adolph Torres and the referee long gone, Al was the lone supervisor over two topnotch adult fighting dogs doing what they do best. What were his options? He could only repeat, half plead helplessly again and again: “Somebody help me separate the dogs.” His house, his basement, his dog – there was no escaping for him.


Out in the yard, when I looked back to see if I were being chased, I saw a cop’s head peeking over the fence, a most confused look about him.


Ai-e-e-e-e! I heard a yell. Glancing, I discovered Adolph Torres halfway over the fence where he’d got stuck on a nail. Yanking, tugging, and tearing a great rip in his pants, cuff to crotch, he managed to free himself, but not before letting out still another ear-splitting yell. And then he couldn’t get away from his dog fast enough, huffing and puffing, arms pumping, tired old legs carrying him faster than they had in years, the two halves of his trouser leg flapping like a skirt in the breeze. Talk about your ignominious exits (and it’s not every day one gets to use that word).


As it turned out, the cops didn’t know what they were there for. Some neighbor had called them, suspicious of all the many cars parked. Not exactly a sting operation: everyone except poor Al Alberts got away. The dogs, too, were of course “arrested” and on their way to the pound.


I had no idea where I was, out in the boonies somewhere. I managed to get a bus back to L.A. And that’s how it was that I got to see Tater, one of the gamest fighting dogs in the country, almost run out of air. Sly old Torres had put one over on Al Alberts, his neophyte opponent. Torres told him he could bring Tater in at any weight he wanted, and young Al, far from being one of the better conditioners, had brought Tater in too heavy.


I found all that stuff out later, of course. One would have thought I’d want nothing more to do with dogfighting and dogfighters after that. That wasn’t the case. I still wanted one of those fine game dogs for my own, and I meant to have one.


Instrumental in my questing after a good pit bulldog was a dogman I’ll call Pete Milner. As it was, Pete was Al’s partner in the Tater dog, the man who later broke Tater out of the pound, and the man who eventually sold me my first bulldog.


My experiences of pit bulldogs and dogfighters was far from over and had, in fact, only just begun.




Pete Milner was an overbearing and abrasive man at worst, a dedicated and top-of-the-line dogfighter at best. I didn’t like or respect him, or at least not at first. But he had an impeccably clean yard and yardful of some of the best-bred dogs not only in California but in the whole country. (That Tater dog, for example, had outgamed one named Rastus, an import from Texas and one most everyone thought was unbeatable. It took over two and a half hours  for Tater to prove most everyone wrong.)


I got to know Pete a bit, earned his trust a bit, and became schooled in the rules and “philosophy” of professional dogfighting:


Fightingdogs were bred for what they do best and couldn’tnot fight, the good ones at least and according to their temperaments.


A dogfighter is, in effect, much the same as any other sort of fight manager/trainer/handler. Not exactly Angelo Dundee and Muhammad Ali, but comparable. Unlike professional prizefighters who are paid for what they do, these pit bull fightingdogs fight for the sheer pleasure of it.


Treat your fightingdogs with respect. They are gamer than you, as a man, can ever be, and to be honored for it. Bring them along slowly, protect them, and know when to throw in the towel.


How’s that for a nutshell? Did I buy it? Not till I saw it in action. Had I any intention of actively entering into the world of dogfighting? Not yet. I only wanted a good pit bulldog for a companion and friend, and that was it.


Which dogs did Pete Milner want to sell? It all came down to that. Puppies, of which he had several, were less expensive than proven older dogs. Did I want to start out with an open question mark? – or with a mature dog ideal for breeding should I want pups of my own?


My first memory of Red Tina was when, at my crouching down nearby, she rushed over and did this quick little turn so as to cradle herself in my lap. I even remember the first words I said to Pete about her: “She’s a charmer” – after which he gave me the lowdown on her.


Tina was of Tater blood, four years old, teeth ground to the gums from chewing on rocks, and lame in her back leg from an early-on training “roll.” She was game as could be and had already whelped several winners.


Six hundred bucks was a lot to fork over back then, but I did, and Tina was mine. How proud I was of that dog. A blocky little thing with a slightly roached back, her fighting weight would have been around thirty-two pounds – but she’d never have to fight, not ever again. I’d “rescued” her, you see.


Being walked, she was a perfect lady around other dogs – so long as they kept their distance. Even still, I carried a short “breaking stick” with me, a filed-off hammer handle for prying open Tina’s jaws should she have got hold of something she ought not have. I never knew when some fool dog would come running over to check her out. On the few occasions it actually happened, I simply lifted Tina up in my arms, keeping her out of reach.


Gradually, an idea had taken hold in me. Like Pete Milner, I too would have my own fine line of dogs. Loner as I was, Tina my closest friend and new central focus in my life, wouldn’t it be better still to have two such companions? Or three? Or even half a dozen more?


I was hooked.


But how, if I didn’t allow the dogs to fight, would I go about preserving that quality of gameness in my dogs? Was it even important I do so? You’re damn right it was. It’s what drew me to them in the first place, that gameness separating them from all other dogs – and not only from dogs but men – and not only dogs and men, but from any other higher species besides. Lions, tigers, bears, wolves, stags? – when if ever do two males of any of these species fight more than a few minutes before one of them runs off or tries to? I saw no spark of courage in all the universe that burned so brightly as in the heart of the game-bred pit bulldog. That above all things was what I revered in him and still do. I bought several more mature dogs from Pete and, in having done so, dedicated my life to them almost without reservation.


Like other dogmen of my acquaintance, I too moved to the boonies and had adequate yard space for even a dozen bulldogs, though I only owned four. Through it all I was learning from Pete, and so was Al Alberts. We were Pete’s two best students, his legacy being handed down to  us.


When did I decide I might actually match a dog? I don’t know. It was as if I’d been swept from one place to the next and, upon arriving, hardly remembered at all who it was I had been. I’d seen maybe a dozen rolls, schooling sessions – every one of them with a view toward bringing  some young prospect on as gradually as possible, always careful not to put more on a “starter” than he/she could handle, supplying experience, building confidence.


Three more dogs later, Tuffy was one of them. A female, all black but for a stripe of white up front, she was  tall, lanky, and with hindquarters of steel. At forty-two pounds, she’d already been matched and won.


Adolph Torres, he of the quick escape and torn trousers, scented blood – mine, not my dog’s. Neophyte as I was, Torres figured I hadn’t the experience to properly condition a dog. It had worked against Al Alberts (or probably would have if not for the inadvertent bust), and so why not against me?


Pete set it up, held our forfeits, and would serve as both timekeeper and referee. As to the conditioning, that was up to me, a month’s worth. I’d already been feeding my dogs a half-vegetarian diet (much like my own) and exercising them daily. Hell, Tuffy was very nearly in match shape even before I began formally conditioning her. I’d been running her beside my bike all along and had only to increase her time and distance, working gradually toward three-hour workouts and twenty-five miles total. Her conditioning drawing to a close, she was managing such bi-weekly excursions easily.


Two days before the match was to take place, Pete came over to ascertain how well or amiss Tuffy’s conditioning had gone. Tuffy was out of his breeding and he wanted her to show well. He took one look at her and could only rave over how good she looked, slimmed down, muscled up, her black sleek coat shining almost aglow.


“How did you manage that?” he could only wonder. And before he left I had to write down for him exactly what regimen of feeding and exercise I’d followed. Truly, I’d never seen him so glad and animated.


A day later he was back.


“I’ve some bad news,” he said, handing me back not only my own forfeit money but Torres’s as well. “I shot off my mouth, bragged to Torres how good Tuffy looked, and by the time I shut my big mouth, I’d scared him off.”


I didn’t mind a bit. I was both glad of the extra hundred bucks and relieved Tuffy wouldn’t have to fight. Pete’s feelings on the matter were completely opposite from mine. He couldn’t apologize enough for his “talking out of school” and Tuffy’s being “all dressed up with no place to go.” In the mood I was in, I could only smile at Pete’s imageries. Oh, but he had a way with words did old Pete.


I never matched one in California. Tina had a small litter for me, a few of which I sold. I tried to and hope I sold them to responsible owners who came at least close to understanding the caliber dogs they had bought. I continued bussing to and from my job but switched my hours to nights. Days were for the dogs, my every spare waking moment of them. My reading, writing, and making music continued on but slackened off. The dogs came first.


Once, when several black guys (although of course dog thieves come in all colors and persuasions), youngish and friendly seeming, came by interested in a litter of pups I had – it was the strangest thing. Tina, always the friendliest of dogs to anyone she met, wouldn’t let them in the front door. Strange? Not a bit. Tina knew immediately what I would have to learn the hard way. Utterly fierce at the screen door, she set my visitors back a step, frightened she might come through. Polite host as I was, I immediately picked Tina up and carried her fiercely struggling self into the next room, shutting her in.


But what must Tina have thought of me? There she was telling me plain as the Italian honker on my face these guys meant me harm. What she knew directly and with every drop of blood in her, I foolishly needed proof of.


I invited them as guests into my home, showed them my pups, and gave them a price on one of them. They said they’d be back.


They came back, all right, but when I was out food shopping. They climbed the fence to my backyard, went straight to my puppy pen, and stole two pups out of it.


How did I know it was them? A mutual acquaintance told me so. He also gave me the address where I might find them, walking distance from where I lived. There only remained my getting my pups back.


Now it was me climbing their back fence!


How glad my pups were to see me. Weighed down on chains heavy enough to hold dogs five times their size, the poor things showered me with kisses. I had only got one of them free and up in my arms when four dog thieves stepped out of their house and toward me. Two of them had baseball bats and one carried a brick.


Incredibly, they called me a “dog thief.”


“They’re my dogs, and you know it,” I said. But of course I had to set the pup down and make my inglorious retreat.


I bought a Saturday night special, 22 caliber, and had it tucked in my belt next time I climbed that fence. I don’t know whether or not those guys were in the house, but this time they didn’t come out. I had my pups back.


I had a vice. I mean one more on top of whatever other vices I had. I enjoyed an occasional cigar. Sometimes I’d buy them and other times I’d shoplift them from my local supermarket. I got caught and arrested. I had to call Pete. There was no one else. He said later he was tempted to let me stew a few days but didn’t because there was no one else to care for the dogs he’d sold me.


He bailed me out and laughed and laughed when, at his fetching me from the hoosegow, I declared with some bravado that “Crime doesn’t pay.” On the way to his driving me home to my yardful, he told me this juicily gossipy story of Al Alberts having been arrested for shoplifting as well. It seems young Al had been gorging on candy while shopping and neglecting to pay on the way out. I’m not sure which is the worst vice, tobacco or sugar, but if you’re caught stealing either of them, the con- sequence is the same: you call Pete Milner to bail you out.


I was only just getting into the dogs, certainly never matched one. But it was a bad day for men like Pete, Torres, and half a dozen others I could mention. Times had changed, a whole new era ushered in. Suddenly the dogs and their men, no more a mere glitch at the edge of awareness, came under scrutiny. Post-Vietnam, these fightingdogs and their breeders were marked for extinction. The world, such as it had become, gave itself no choice but to eradicate that which it felt ought never to have existed in the first place, which is to say dogfighting.


How, anyway, does a world even begin slicing off a particularly unsavory portion of its own flesh? Why, with a media blitz, of course. And a catchy little tune that sang something like this:


Be aware, people, that there are these pockets of sick and sadistic men in our midst, turning their dogs vicious, forcing them to tear each other to bits in fights to the death.


The theme having been set, there was no end to the variations upon it:


The blood of chickens poured on the dogs, to whet their appetites for blood. Pet cats and dogs stolen from yards and dying terrible deaths at the jaws of these fighting dogs.


The more “whetting,” the better.


The newspaper accounts didn’t have to be factual. (Who was there to contradict them?) They only had to excite and incite. They only had to rouse up enough public outrage, enough misinformed “benevolence” to get the job done.


Fast forward to where not only had the media achieved its purpose but a good deal more besides.


True, the professional dogfighters had been hunted down, their dogs destroyed. And a more thorough obliteration of these few remaining stewards of the breed and their game-bred dogs would be hard to imagine.


But something else as well:


We began reading of children being maimed or killed, every week a new horror story. Suddenly pit bulldogs (so-called) were rife in the ghettos, the preferred choice of street thugs.


Where before no such reports had existed, almost overnight they became a common occurrence. That’s just how quickly our street thugs had thirsted up the media’s crash course on dogfighting – a veritable sadists’ smorgasbord to draw from, be inspired by, new meaning infused into mean little lives.


And so the media and their well-intentioned henchmen took proud credit for all they’d gotten rid of but none of what they’d caused. Which is not to suggest their work was anywhere near completed, mind you. There was, after all – and seemingly from out of nowhere! – a whole new breed of animal cruelty taking place on city streets. Lying newspaper reports had turned to self-fulfilling prophesies. Happily ever after would have to wait.


But I’ve gotten way ahead of myself.


A dogman friend of Pete’s came to visit and to check out my yard. He’d brought several pals along with him, and of course we discussed dogs, the various bloodlines and such. And while we visited and talked, I noticed that one of his entourage didn’t enter in, stayed outside our little circle, and kept very much to the sidelines. I glanced, met his eye, and sensed a coldness there if not an actual threat.


Soon after, Pete told me he’d seen my name on a police report and that he knew how it had got there. It was an undercover cop that had come visiting me that day. (Pete had a friend in the police department and had access to such information.) Pete’s name, too, was on that police report and his address as well. I fared a little better on that score, for while the cops knew my name they didn’t list my address. That undercover cop had failed to get it.


The handwriting on the wall all along, we were at last able to read it. Odd, the almost overnight realization of one’s having become an endangered species. Odd, that same realization forcing one into survival mode.


Soon after, Al Alberts would move to Arizona and, while never again risking ineptness in matching one, he’d become one of the best and foremost breeders of fine game-bred dogs in the country. Pete would eventually sell off all his pit bulldogs and keep a kennel of coursing hounds instead. I’ve no idea what happened to Torres.


And that leaves me.


I’d been corresponding with Don Bullard, a dogman from Texas, even looked up to him a bit, his perhaps greater knowledge and experience. At informing him my name had appeared on a police report, he invited me to Texas, even offering to come get me. He’d transport me and all my dogs to Wickett, Texas, where he and I would be partners. It was something to think about, the call of a wilder and woollier west.


Along about that time, another friend, Roland Kincaid, even while in his seventies, had bought a good little bitch from Al Alberts, Princess by name – one he wanted to match. He wasn’t up to working a dog properly, and so he and I struck a bargain: I would condition and match his Princess, Roland would front the bet, and I would receive half the purse if Princess won. Now I had Princess in my yard as well – one of six? Seven? Eight? I don’t remember how many. But where would I match her? Certainly not in California.


Having thought not carefully enough on it, I decided to move to Texas after all. It would be an adventure and the “smart” thing to do. Don Bullard and I would be “partners,” mutual friends looking out for one another – but each of us keeping his own yardful. No business arrangement was going to interfere with my relationship with my dogs. Not ever.


Came the morning when Bullard was to pick me up, and so he did. He was six foot four with mottled teeth and a laugh that struck me as mindless if not downright brutish. Truly, he seemed more a dullard than a Bullard. But perhaps I was being unfair to him, judging the book by its cover and all.


He’d traveled by camper, a trailer hitched behind it. We loaded up the dogs, all but Tina safely secured in doghouses serving as crates. Tina riding up front with me,  her head on my lap, we were Texas bound.


Two and a half days of chitchat later – one night of sleeping on the road later – we were almost to Bullard’s place when I was formally greeted:




Population 104


I myself added another number to it making for a grand total of… one really small town.


Bullard’s yard was nothing less than appalling – dogs scrawny and ill kept, fly- and tick-ridden, living in weeks’ worth of dog shit. One looked on its last legs, hookworms most likely. Still, there was fresh room for my dogs and chain setups. But no, my dogs wouldn’t stay long in that hellhole. Better almost that they be put down.


I mean to zip along now on the salient points, my Texas years often a time of near madness. I knew right away what I was in for when Bullard introduced me to other dogmen not as his partner but as his “dogwalker,” that being a cheap-paying job requiring no more than one’s ability to put one foot in front of the other. Further, he portrayed himself as a sort of saint rescuing me from the law breathing down my neck in California. And so, in the eyes not only of these Texas dogmen but in the eyes of Bullard’s family as well – his mother, his young son, and two daughters – I was a pathetic charity case in need of just that sort of all-benevolent kindness and understanding only a bighearted and heroic rescuer like Bullard himself could or would have provided.


The scene was set. Depending on who was doing the looking, I was either a figure of amusement, pity, derision, or ridicule. And worse, I was no more than a deadbeat Yankee taking advantage of Wickett’s own self-declared good-old-boy little Texas darlin’, Don Bullard himself.


I didn’t cry about it. It was what it was. Quickly, I found work in the oil patch, a roustabout learning the ropes. I moved all my dogs to a little plot of land perhaps a quarter mile from Bullard’s yard. The land belonged to Bullard (what with our still being “partners” and all), but it was at least free of the flies and ticks that so tormented his own dogs. I bought a little trailer to live in, a mere matchbox of a thing. It cost eight hundred dollars, its “mortgage” to be paid off in the space of a year.


I’d found a home at last, my toilet a hole dug in the ground. But it had heat in the winter, my little trailer, a refillable butane tank doing the job. I had a little Coleman stove for cooking, a Coleman lantern for lighting and, once I’d got my electricity strung up, a tiny refrigerator and freezer besides. Given my almost comfortable little cot of a bed tucked in a small cubby hole at one end of the trailer, I had all the necessities and my dogs besides. Not the lap of luxury, but what else might I have required?


My dogs, too, were glad of their new yard, space enough for me to put them on sixteen-foot chains giving each of them a thirty-two foot circle to run in. And if I didn’t manage two or three times a week taking each of them off the chain for a run beside my bike, I’d failed in my responsibility to them.


It all sounds a little crazy, I know, but the dogs were why I was there. I’d given myself over to them. Not only were they my beloved companions but my role models as well. That was the extent to which I loved and revered them – for their courage, their capacity for play, the love they gave me in return, their belief in me, the trust they put in me. They were nothing less than my long searched after talisman in life. Whether in California where I was respected or in Texas where I was reviled, it didn’t matter so long as I had my dogs.


“California, the land of fruits and nuts,” Bullard might say and then give that mindless little chortle that passed for a laugh in him. But when he started going on about niggers and wetbacks, I had to turn and walk away. “Those are ugly words I don’t use,” I said to him. To his credit, and no matter what he thought about my views on the matter, he never again spoke to me in those terms.  Maybe he had half a redeeming quality to him after all.


Early on, Bullard and I would occasionally roll our dogs against one another, short little get-togethers either for schooling or taking the edge off them. It was quickly established, however, that Bullard’s best was no competition even to my old retired few – and so much for each of us holding up his end of our “partnership.” His dogs simply didn’t measure up to all the praise he had showered on them in letters – not surprising since he’d never even paid for a dog, let alone a good price for one. He’d somehow scrounged and wheedled for his, and you get what you pay for. Either that or you end up with what cost you nothing, and worth every non-penny of it.


There was a strange, surreal, and even nightmarish irony to it all – Bullard playing the “saint” and I the “pathetic little Yankee deadbeat.” And yet our “partnership” in the dogs being the only reason for my presence there at all, I had brought everything to it and he had brought nothing.


First match – Dallas, Texas…


It was a long ride, the longest. Old Roland Kincaid’s Princess crated in the back of the camper and I sitting next to Bullard on the front seat, I could hardly have been more anxious. This was a big deal. There were to be seven matches in all, and some of the best and/or most notorious dogmen in the country in attendance – Maurice Carver, Don Mayfield, Bobby Hall, Don Maloney, Bert Clouse, and etc. Even Al Alberts would be there. One of his, a full brother to Princess and one he’d sold straight out of his yard, was being matched.


Princess and I versus the Fowler brothers would be the final match of the day. (Females always go last so the males preceding them catch no female scent while fighting.) First there was the washing of the dogs, guarantee no one was using a “rub,” something applied to a dog’s coat that would render him/her less likely to be bitten. Tobacco would make a good rub, a nastiness no dog wants to mouth.


And then the match, Bert Clouse our referee. It was a tough one in which the Fowlers’ bitch quit in just over an hour. Old Roland was ecstatic. He’d even taken trophy for best bitch of the day – not surprising, Princess being the only winning female of the day.


Al Albert’s was even more ecstatic, both the male and female of his breeding having won.


I was three years in Texas. But for Mike and Laurie, two good friends I’d made, there was only Bullard to talk to, and I barely did. I didn’t even want to see him. I respected his sad worm-ridden “bulldogs” more than I did him. Mike and Laurie would visit maybe once a month, and when I heard their car pulling up, it was as if I’d been let out of solitary confinement. The dogs were almost but not quite enough. I needed human contact, a word, a nod, a smile. How I looked forward to those monthly visits from Mike and Laurie – he a friend who respected and didn’t revile me – she of the soft western drawl and warm eyes.


Oh, but there was an otherworldly strangeness to where I was. Besides the dogs, I had a yardful of other critters as well, horny toads, roadrunners in search of a meal, sounds of wily coyotes in the distance. There was the six-foot rattlesnake I killed not three feet from old Tina.  And when a hawk flew out of the sky and under my trailer to catch a snake, the beating of its wings were a pounding, concussions like a man punching his fists through walls might make, incredibly strong. There were mice galore, tiny babes of them climbed up on smatterings of weeds. Fire ants to to burn you crazy should they climb up your pants leg. There was no end to black tarantulas buried in holes in the ground, but then a small stampede of them when it rained. There was the scorpion that woke me, a crawling on my belly, and I slapping at it, not knowing what it was till I turned on the light. And of course ground squirrels and rabbits for nibbling at the small garden I’d planted.


Once while dozing in my trailer, I heard what sounded like a baby crying, and not just crying but wailing in distress, as if it were being killed. Running out onto the tiny porch of my trailer, I looked all around and saw nothing. Not even the dogs barked, listening as well. There came again that long drawn-out wailing note, not quite human. Then it stopped. I stepped down, paused, and waited. Soon it began again, a wail as mournful as any on earth, very near. Pinpointing the sound to a patch of brush, I walked straight toward it before stopping again. There was a something entwined there – a something with the long smooth body of a snake and yet the furry head of a rabbit.


Then I knew. I saw the baby rabbit was caught, all but its head disappeared down into the darkness of that snake, the snake having climbed up to swallow at its leisure the tiny rabbit whose mother was racing round and round, fight startled into her timid rabbit heart. Another plaint from the baby rabbit! – a cry rising up and up in all the wailing hopelessness of its tiny rabbit soul, then fading, fading mournfully away, a cry that might have been its last.


I hated it, the coldblooded eating of the warm, the obscenity of it. I stepped close and shook the branch, forcing the snake to cough up its prize. In silent swiftness the snake slipped down and was gone, disappeared into the weeds. I picked up the baby rabbit where it had dropped to the ground. It lay numbed in my hand, more in death than in life, my warm hands like a shroud to it, petting it. I looked all around, but its natural mother was nowhere in sight. I’d frightened her away as well as the snake. I put the baby rabbit into a box and left it where the mother might return and find it. Perhaps she did, for it was soon gone.


The weather, too, was not to be fathomed, the Texas elements strangely moody. A rain storm might spring up on the sunniest of days, last ten minutes, and then disappear as suddenly as it appeared. “Dust bunnies” sweeping through the yard might sometimes flip a doghouse clear over. Then there were the larger versions, awesome in their power – the two tornadoes that arrived simultaneously one day, one high up in the sky and no threat at all, the other on the ground, raising dust, and wreaking havoc on the tiny city of Monahans seven miles away.


One rainstorm lasted three days and three nights, literally. Till I woke one morning to find what looked like a  river, wide as the eye could see, running through my yard. It put my dogs in great danger, was filling their doghouses and threatening to wash them away entirely. Worse, my Dusty, a good little bitch out of Tina, was on the verge of having to swim, her chain weighing her down. The problem was those great deep hollows worn away over the years by the dogs’ chains. These, now there was a flood, were as good as swimming pools in the last place you wanted them. I saved Dusty first, carried her into the trailer and left her there. Then I rushed outside again. Knee deep in water, I found whatever rocks and debris I could for stuffing under her doghouse, raising it up higher for her to shelter in. I worked all day at this and for all the dogs. I worked to exhaustion and beyond. And had I been at all a believer, I’d have prayed my own shelter wouldn’t topple over as well, its tiny porch underwater, the water lapping at the sides of the trailer.


The salient points, Freddy boy, remember? If you were a bit insane at the time there’s no point relapsing. Try, Freddy boy, it was more than thirty years ago. Surely you can write sanely about it now. Think of all that good time you had on your hands, how much having no TV or anyone to talk to freed you up for reading and writing. Remember how you cherished those bike trips to Monahans, that little public library where you could gather a whole week’s worth of reading, read a book, sometimes two a day, every day? That had to be worth something. And there was that little dogfighting novel you wrote, the excitement of having it picked up by Manor Books, the thousand dollar advance they paid. And then seeing your own little paperback on at least some few shelves. The Life of Humbug it was and a real bargain at just seventy-five cents.


Salient point one, since I’m numbering them: I matched six, won four and lost two. None of the dogs were ripped apart or died. If they had been I’d have been torn apart myself and would never have matched another.


Salient point two… but that’s the hardest one of all to write.


Bullard came over one morning. Peeking over my tin fence, he found me in the yard cleaning up after my dogs, my trusty shovel and bucket at the ready.


“I’m going to visit some dogman friends, wanna go?” he said.


“No, I’ve got a full day of writing planned,” I said. The last thing I wanted was to play Saint Bullard’s rescuee all over again.


“Oh, come on. You don’t have to write every day,” he wheedled. “Come on, take a break.”


“No, I don’t want to,” I said coldly, self-torture anything but a penchant of mine.


His face, too, turned fiercely cold.


“You know, I think it best if you moved out,” he said.


But my dogs! It was as good as a scream in me even while my eyes, hard and outraged, stared out my hatred of him.


“You never want to visit, you never want to go anywhere with me,” he complained. “You’re unfriendly all the time and no matter what I do.”


“Poor persecuted you,” I said.


But of course it was all over. And if I had no place to go and no way to get there, neither did my yardful.


Mike and Laurie took two of my dogs and, except for Tina, a friend of Mike’s took all the rest, assuring me they’d be well taken care of. Tina and I would stay a week with Mike and Laurie in Midland, after which Tina and I would fly to California.


But it was so very strange, such mixed feelings as were tearing me apart. Worse even than an amputated limb, the severing from my life all that I’d been living for. Sick over it, something in me was dying, striking me dumb, my inner thoughts a mere half mumbling lot of gibberish. But then, too, the sort of reprieve I felt, the escape not only from isolation and insanity but from prison as well, my very life offered up as a sacrifice to the dogs. Free, free at last. And yet all my life’s yearnings so very much implicated, entwined, and inexplicably enjoined in my love of the dogs. Freedom? What was that? To be free to die? To be free either to walk away from or toward life. But which was which? I couldn’t know. I didn’t have it in me to know.


I’d kept Tina. I’d stayed true to Tina, and that would be enough. It had to be. At Mike and Laurie’s she slept curled up beside me. She was so glad now to have me all to herself again she almost glowed.


She woke me one night, her body quivering, jerking like dogs do when they’re dreaming, only worse. I shook her, I called her name, and at last she came out of it, seemed good as new. Good as new till next time, as it turned out. Only next time it wasn’t so easy bringing her out of it.


Mike took me to his vet for the prognosis. At twelve years old Tina’s heart was failing. She would continue having such episodes. They would only worsen and, before the end, she’d likely undergo brain damage.


Still she clung to life. She’d have one of her “spells,” and I, very alarmed, would call her name – call her out of it, which I could do so long as I was with her.


For the last week of her life, I tried to be with her all the time, night or day. But the spells came more and more often. I spent her last night holding her, staying awake so if she fell too deeply “asleep,” I could call her out of it.


Of course it was no good. I couldn’t spend every moment of every day with her, watching her – and every night too. She would have to be put down.


Surreal, more like snapshots than memories, my last hour with Tina. The words I said to Mike and Laurie before carrying her in: “She doesn’t deserve this.” Inside the vet’s office where Tina did something she’d never done before, fought against my holding her still, struggled against me. She didn’t try to bite. She’d never have bitten anyone, the exception perhaps being those dog thieves she’d once tried to warn me against. But now she didn’t want the vet to touch her, struggled against it. She knew. She’d read me to the very quick of me, my beloved little dog. She knew I was saying goodbye to her and that she’d never see me again, not in this life anyway. That was why, weak as she was, she fought and fought. Although her physical heart was worn out and not much good to her any more, the courageous heart was not yet ready – would  never be ready to say its final good bye to life, its passionate song – and to me!Not without a fight.


It was her final one, and she fought to the last.


The potion in her veins, she gave a little sigh and went limp in my arms. I could hardly see and I couldn’t breathe. Surely it was my imagination, but I sensed the gentlest of presences lift past my fingertips, a brief glimpse of something invisible lifting up, something like a little waft of air rising up, then gone.


Fucking memoir! How does one go about writing such self-pitying, self-justifying, masochistic shit as that without puking? You’re better than that, Freddy. Just keep telling yourself that. It was you who brought the dogs to Texas, no one else. It was you who chose that great pig of a man Bullard for a partner, no one else. And it’s for you to live with the almost nightly dreams – or dream – for  there’s only one.


I dream it even still, though not so often, now that thirty or forty years have passed. Always it’s the same:


There’s a yard somewhere. I’m aware I’ve been away a good long while and have forgotten to feed the dogs. I look out a window and don’t see them, only their chains trailing into their doghouses. I’m sure then that some of them have died neglected. I go into the yard hoping at least some of them are still alive. Most times it’s only Tina who comes out to greet me, and how glad I am to see her – and how sad that none of the other chains have stirred.


My dream sums it up nicely, I think, where I did or didn’t, but mostly didn’t, live up to my responsibility. And dreams don’t lie, they come out at night to remind us where we ourselves have lied. And they never let us forget.


Read more from this author here: Books from Fredric Maffei

Feed an Athletic Canine Like You Feed a Human Athlete Part II by Bob Stevens

Energy. the operative word is ENERGY. For endurance, you need energy. For muscle growth you need energy because muscle grows fastest and strongest when you train a muscle with intensity. And the operative word for energy is ATP. No that isn’t something Native Americans lived in. It is adenosine triphosphate which is a vital molecule found in the body that provides the energy for endurance and muscle growth – for strength and performance. ATP is in the forefront today in human athletic performance nutritional supplementations. ATP is a nucleic acid that contains three (hence the term tri phosphate) phosphates that when activated releases a blast of energy that fuels muscle contraction and many other body functions. When ATP binds with certain receptors, it causes the release of nitric oxide (NO) in the blood. NO lines the blood vessels and when released, it causes a very potent dilation of the blood vessels and that means increase blood flow. If the blood is highly nutrient rich (a variety of healthy proteins), muscle grows healthier and, stronger. The increased blood flow also means less oxygen is required – so aerobic activity (endurance) is enhanced and recovery from overstressed muscles is expedited. You want ATP in the muscle for muscle contraction. When the third phosphate detaches, it releases a tremendous burst of energy. But unless extra is supplied – the burst of energy is short lived – which is the normal situation. The more ATP in the muscle cells, the more reps a weight trainer can perform – and the more hill repeats with heavier loads – and the longer a dog can run a mill or stay with his own weight and more catching hog. For decades, then, the athletic performance industry has engineered ways to drop excess ATP into the muscle. One hindrance to that concept is that taking oral ATP, initially, was found to be unproductive on any significant scale because the ATP becomes absorbed before it comes to the muscle. A number of chemical stimulants have been discovered, however, that activates the body to generate ATP itself and push it into the muscle. A number of processes accomplish this. One is the krebs cycle, which is an oxygen fueled process that burns glucose (sugar), fat, and amino acids to create ATP. This energy results in prolonging muscle and cardio endurance. A number of supplements have been proven through quality research and extensively used in the bodybuilding sport (and you find them splashed all over pages in the muscle magazines) and heavy contact sports like football or any sport that requires the athlete to pump iron extensively use them. Importantly – mixed martial artists like the UFC fighters use this stuff training for battle. I use it myself so I attest – it works. There are three that are particularly popular.

1) Creatine. Probably the most famous, today, is the creatine phosphororylation process. I have already mentioned, it was Bob Fritz that was responsible for the popularity of creatine in the sports nutrition world. He was the first person to introduce it to the athletic world in the mid-1980s. I, then, was one of the first to use this supplement. Part of the discovery of creatine came from studying the diet of wolves. The diet of wolves (wild dogs in effect) was of interest because of their athletic performance. Athletic because it was observed a wild wolf can range as much as 45 miles in a full day, and some a hundred miles. Wolves have been clocked at 24 to 28 mph for up to a mile. In Montana a wolf, being chased by a game warden, was clocked at 35 to 40 mph for four miles across a frozen lake. And power – wolves do not enter weight pulling contests, but as few as two wolves can take down an 800 pound moose and drag it about a hundred yards. I can (and will later) write a whole article about the diet of wolves – but one important ingredient they consume is creatine. Creatine comes from meat. But the kicker is – man – in all our infinite wisdom – trying to be smarter than God – we have come up with bigger fatter cows – but unhealthy nutrient deficient cow meat. It has been discovered that wild meat (deer) contains as much as TEN TIMES the amount of creatine as domesticated – cows, chickens, etc. Parenthetically, Don Mayfield used to get large pots of deer meat from hunters, I am told, to feed I guess about a hundred dogs. He didn’t know, I don’t think, how right on he was. Today you cannot pick up a muscle building magazine that does not have articles about creatine and chock full of companies marketing creatine products. Today, creatine is one of the most extensively studied performance enhancing substances, and touted to be the most effective supplement for shooting ATP into the muscle. This creates ENERGY for the muscle to perform longer and harder – and that increases strength. Creatine increases the time muscles can exert maximal power. It shoots ATP into the muscle providing anaerobic power. A human can perform more reps lifting weights and a runner can sprint faster, jump higher hurdles, and a baseball player can throw harder.

2)Citrulline Malate. This is the amino acid citrulline attached to malic acid, a molecule involved in the krebs (citric) cycle. The malic acid burns lactic acid prolonging the athletes performance. the citrulline removes ammonia from the body. Lactic acid is a compound that build when amino acids are metabolized during intense exercise and it is toxic to the muscle resulting in muscle fatigue until it is flushed out. Citrulline promotes energy production and simultaneously flushes out fatigue-causing metabolic waste. Removing the ammonia delays fatigue. citrulline is converted to arginine in the body and arginine produces the nitric oxide (NO) mentioned above. As stated, NO enhances blood flow and greater blood flow means greater oxygen delivery to the muscle – and indirectly this enhances ATP production in the muscle, resulting in greater energy for anaerobic POWER.. Citrulline has been proven in the medical community for use reducing muscle fatigue in the elderly. Citrulline is made from argenine and ornithine. It has been proven in both human and animal studies. From Wikipedia I learned that citrulline comes from the word citrullus, a Latin word for watermelon. It is made, in part, from watermelon. Puritan’s Pride (I get some of my supplements from – Google them) has a citrulline plus watermelon supplement.

3) Pyruvate. Pyruvate is an organic acid, a natural byproduct of glucose metabolism. When you supplement with extra pyruvate, the aforementioned krebs cycle picks it up and provides the muscle with extra ATP, burning more fat and glucose. It greatly enhances burning fat, increased endurance and ATP activity/energy production. You can find numerous sports performance studies that confirm this. One gram per ten pounds body weight is suggested. Too much on one serving with humans can give gastric irritation, dogs handle it better though. Best is to spread it out in several small feedings. Google Bodytech Pyruvate and Pinnacle Pyruvate or Genis Nutrition for some good sources.

4) Ribose. Ribose is a sugar that is part of the high-energy phosphate that forms part of the ATP molecule. Providing extra ribose also enhances muscle endurance. Doesn’t directly make you stronger, but it allows extra reps pumping iron, extra reps for a dog pulling a load, longer time on a springpole etc. In that respect it makes the body tougher and stronger. D-ribose supplements also enhances recovery of ATP levels following intense training. It kind of works like a steroid in this respect.

5) ATP. As mentioned above, it was initially discovered that supplementing with pure ATP had little effect on muscle because it gets absorbed before it gets into the muscle. However, it has since been discovered and is now all over all the training magazines, that ENTERICALLY coated ATP gets shuffled directly into the intestines where it can be effectively absorbed. Coopers Institute in Dallas did a classic and now famous study that got published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise periodical. They used what is now called Peak ATP (Google it). they found it significantly enhances muscle ATP. They also found that when stacked with creatine the effect on the muscle is greatly enhanced. The International Journal of Sports Nutrition (June 1999)(and a laundry list of other published quality studies) reported significant anaerobic performance and body composition and endurance with these stacked supplements.

Stacked is performance supplementation parlance for synergistically (the sum of the parts taken together can be greater total effect than the sum of the individual effects) combining to enhance effectiveness. This means that when you “stack” creatine, citrulline malate, pyruvate, and ribose, with enterically coated ATP – you get WOW!

Loading is another performance concept, It means that when you begin supplementation you introduce it with three to five times as much for about a week and then you level off to the prescribed amount. Most of the supplement containers instruct this but it is mentioned here to explain why. At introduction, the muscles are like the empty cup. When you load heavy the muscle soaks it up. Then it will absorb only the prescribed amount and any more is a waste and can be too much. But when you “load” – you enhance the effect. “Again only provide these athletic enhancements when your dog is undergoing real heavy training – and recovering from. So about six weeks out from a long hunt in the swamps, for example. After the dog recovers, wean off until the next outing. Personally, I am now too old to compete in the ring – my last full contact kickboxing event was in 2006 in which I won each round unanimous. But now I just show up at the gym and spar and train – too old to compete. However – I still take the supplements. But I stagger them taking them only when I put myself through some heavy training, discontinue when I slack off – it is not good for me to stay overtraining. I train 7 days a week. But when I “slack off” I do mostly my karate kata, iron palm and iron body, running without sprints enjoying the country, ease up on squats, deadlifts – the emphasis is away from heavy to maintenance. You see.

The next question is – for a dog – how much and how often? I am astonished that for all the years of human sports enhancement study – most of the supplements say take such-and-such grams. To me, it matters whether you are, like myself, 5 7″ and 150 pounds – or 6 3″ and 250 pounds. So I think (but don’t really know) the thing to do is assume the suggested quantity is for a 180 pound human athlete. So for a 45 pound dog – I’d say grind the supplements in one of those little bowls with a vitamin crusher you can get in health food stores, and go with 1/4 of the human dose. Or – just go ahead and give the human capsules – but only during very serious, hard training. This is expensive and I’m not sure if you don’t get all of this in Bob Fritz’s new product K9 Super Fuel (by Animal Naturals). I don’t know enough on K9 super Fuel to write about it. I’d Google it if interested.

This article is about ATP and I could write a book on human performance enhancement. Briefly, for now, you can “stack” even more by combining Creatine-AKG with Glutamine AKG mixed with the aforementioned Citrulline Malate (AKG is another krebs cycle). This combination is especially productive in shooting creatine and glutamine into the muscle cells without loss. A product called ANAVOL (found at GNC) has these powerful ingredients. You have to peruse the muscle magazines and Google around to find the stuff – it is all over. Caffeine also enhances, synergistically the effectiveness of these supplements. Plain old black, cold coffee does it.

There is another serious way of boosting/bolstering the effectiveness of this supplementation. Massage. I can and will make a whole article on this at a later date. The subject is dealt with extensively in the “Scientific Conditioning” chapter of my Dogs of Velvet and Steel, Revised Edition (2012) book (ATP is also discussed). Massage is an aspect of conditioning the importance of which is little comprehended by today’s handler/conditioners. I suggest, again, that the best way to understand it is to feel it. Put in a very hard – hard as you have ever done training. Then go get a massage from a competent professional masseuse. You become a better trainer when you fully dig by experiencing. A quality, professional massage expedites the flushing out of lactic acid and stimulates the muscle by providing a fresh supply of oxygen rich blood to the areas where it is needed. For many, a lack of comprehending the extent of the benefits means the time doesn’t get justified. Find out. Try it on yourself. There is a reason boxers, gymnasts – all contact sports players, get regular massages. I know. I get them myself. My masseuse is also a registered nurse and physical therapist. She stretches, elongates my muscles and she works on my hip and shoulder and leg hinges stretching and strengthening my range of movement. Gymnasts and ballet athletes train 6 to 8 hours a day. How? It isn’t all aerobic and anaerobic. Many hours are spent stretching – and massage. Gives them POWER – explosive power, as well as expediting recovery. Here is a very concise explanation. We all know that we build muscle, recover from hard training and overall get tougher from the hormone testosterone. Training stimulates testosterone production. But there is a flip to that. Navy Seals had blood tests at the end of BUDS training in a study. They had extremely low testosterone, high estrogen levels. Another test revealed the same with Marines at the end of boot camp. Of course rest rebuilds the body’s ability to produce testo. But very recent research indicates that anabolic condition is a function of the body’s testo/cortisol ratio. Researchers at Thomas Jefferson Medical College in Philly found that engaging in Yoga after heavy training VERY SIGNIFICANTLY lowers cortisol blood levels and therefore raises blood testo (cited in Muscle & Fitness November 2009). Also cited in M &F – a study presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society reported very significant reduction in cortisol levels following a Yoga session. That is just one of several studies going back decades. That is just one of my many tricks of the trade. I generally follow my serious hard training with some relaxing stretching and Yoga. It works, folks. Again, many pages are devoted to this in the Dogs of Velvet and Steel book. Massage, to me, is a form of canine Yoga. Want an extra boost to that? Music. Research also shows the same effect on the body’s hormones from music. And – the most productive music is – classical – like they play at symphonies – and (to make a longer story short), the most productive of all is Mozart. I often do this play Mozart while engage Yoga. What about dogs do I hear? Well – the initial research was done on dogs! Found it works VERY EFFECTIVELY. So they tried it on human athletes and found it works with humans as well.

I have to inject another tip. I used to work some dogs with a dogman who taught me this. You need a long, long trail through woods and fields for best. After very hard mill and spring pole work, you feed your dog nutrient rich food/supplements (nutrient dense, small amount) well watered. Then your partner walks ahead of you with the dog he is working. You stay back about 5 yards or however it takes for your dog to be constantly straining to get up front but not too close. At the end of several miles, you turn around and walk back, you are in front, your partner’s dog is straining. This is called blood volume training (BVT)(the term is cited in Muscle Mag INTL. but the concept has been mine for decades – and I have used similar on myself decades – i.e. push my truck, drag a truck tire, barefoot but that’s another story, slow weighted pushups, etc. – same concept). You get peak contraction while the dog strains. This floods the muscles with nutrient rich blood (hence the term BVT) and you have hyper-hydrated or pumped the dog’s muscularity. When you have finished you spend a good long time with quality massage. The strained walking is intense antagonistic contraction. The massage is a blended protraction. For the experienced catch dog – massage, done properly, smoothes and dissipates scar tissue – and scar tissue tightens and stiffens athletic ability. I KNOW massage smoothes out the scar tissue. I have decades of scar tissue that was tight and was smoothed out to renew fast explosive muscle in myself.

The salient aspect of it here is that massage also works those supplements into the body. There are a kitchen sink full of sports supplements – branched chained amino acids (bcaa)- a lot – but this article is about CONCEPTS, not specifics and the focus here is on energy boosting. It is worth mention, the bcaa leucine boosts glucose, other amino acid muscle repair and push creatine into muscle cells. Massage flushes in and out fresh oxygen and nutrient rich blood in and out of the muscles. Nutrient-rich is the key here. You enhance the effect with the supplements mentioned – along with quality muscle repairing and building proteins that you must supply in addition to the ATP krebs cycle mentioned in this article. In other word the effectiveness of the time you put into giving your dog’s massage is correlated directly with the quality of the blood ingredients.

Yes, these supplements work. I consume them myself. I m not a dog fighter. I am a human fighter. Am I muscular? Yes I am. Lean and muscular? Yes. Do I have large freaky muscles like a body builder? No. Tight muscle? NO. I pump iron, but I also stretch a lot – every day (arms and shoulders, back, not just legs). Do I have muscular endurance? Yes. For many rounds of mixed martial arts sparring? Depends, of course, on the fighter! But in general, yes, even an opponent who outweighs me fifty pounds. Not brag – a point – – I am not a dog fighter and I know there is more to putting a pit dog on weight pit ready than just physical training. But there is much the modern human athlete does that works for the canine athlete, be it the hunting dog or the Schutzhund dog – or the Iditarod sled dog. In other words it is not just something I read about in a book, I’m saying again, this stuff works. I works because it allows the athlete, human or canine, to work longer and harder. So – don’t feed it unless you work the dog longer and harder. This is not for a half hour walk or a half hour on a treadmill. This is for severe, draining, gut busting work. Serious training only. Otherwise these supplements can be toxic and a waste. These supplements are behind a significant aspect of athletic performance. Want a super canine athlete? Feed the dog like a human super athlete. None of this can make a dog game – but it will build a very tough dog.

Dollar Baby

Dollar Billy was a Patrick dog out of Patrick’s Four Bits and Wyatt’s Sable. Here is his story.

It was during the spring of the early 1980’s that my father purchased a dog named Dollar Billy. He purchased him from a man who lived out in the country. Dollar Billy was a country boy dog, being raised out doors on a thick, heavy chain, on the side of a steep hill covered with grass and overgrown with pine trees. He was an increadibly muscular dog, which probably had something to do with him pulling that heavy chain up and down that hill for most of his life. He had a beautiful white coat with Tan markings. He was broad shouldered, bow legged and had a huge head. He loved people in a special way. When he would see someone coming to pet him, he would patiently wait at the end of his chain as still as a rock, and as soon as the person was in range, he immediately would wrap his front legs around the unsuspecting visitor’s leg and start humping it. He would do it so fast that there was no escape, and when he got his legs wrapped around, getting him off was like trying to peal the skin off of an unripe orange. The man who sold Dollar Billy garuanteed his gameness. He said that Dollar Billy was ready for matching the day we took him home, which was a good thing, for a match had already been contracted for the very next day.
The next day, sometime in the afternoon, Dollar Billy was taken to an agreed upon location to be matched into a dog named Chester Pully. Chester Pully was was a rangey, brindle dog, who was sleek and muscular in his own right. He was owned by an African American man, who was well schooled in the ways of dog fighting. He had handled Chester Pully in the pit many times, never loosing. Chester Pully had the reputation of being a very athletic, hard mouthed, and above all game dog. Everybody in attendance knew he was a special dog, and he was generally expected to win by everyone, everyone except those in the corner of Dollar Billy.
When the dogs were released from their corners, they met in the center of the pit, immediately they took hold of eachother. It was obvious that the dogs were equally matched. Niether could dominate the other. One would look to be winning for a short time, then the other would comeback, and look to be winning. It looked to be dead even going past the hour mark. The whole time Dollar Billy masterfully work Chester Pully’s front legs, back legs, and chest. Chester Pully did his best, rolling Dollar Billy around the pit, working on his ears, front legs and chest. The dogs rarely came out of hold. At about the 1 hour and 20 minute mark, Dollar Billy was on his back, biting into Chester Pully Chest; Chester Pully pushed his full body weight onto Dollar Billy, making it difficult for him to breath. Dollar Billy lay motionless while clamping down onto Chester Pully, his chest expanding and contracting slowly, deeply, like an accordion, the air moving into and out of his nostrils could be heard all around the room. Both dogs were were exhausted, but there was a vital force within Dollar Billy that could not be extinguished. Chester Pully looked nearly as strong, but with each scratch, it was obvious that he was slowing down. The dogs continued to battle, and everyone there was wondering how long these two dogs would continue to scratch; the match had gone over 1 hour and 30 minutes. At 1 hour 49 minutes the dogs were out of hold and picked up. They were brought back to their corners. After a 60 second rest, Chester Pully was released by his handler. He stood in his corner, dead on his feet. The referree called for Dollar Billy’s handler to release him. Dollar Billy was looking across the pit at Chester Pully. All of the spectators were hanging in anticipation, wondering if he would scratch. When he was released, there was no hesitation. He scratched hard. Those bowed back legs and broad front shoulders that were built strong from living in the country on the side of that hill, hauling that thick chain up and down it since puppyhood, carried his spent, mauled body across the length of the pit, ramming Chester Pully into the corner. The sound of their boddies thudding into the corner of the plywood pit reverberated in the ears of everyone watching. Chester Pully was immediately broken free from Dollar Billy’s bite. The match was over. Dollar Billy won.
I never saw Chester Pully again. The word through the grape vine was that he died within hours after loosing the match. Dollar Billy was nursed back to health by people who were familiar with the art. For the first 48 to 72 hours, his life hung by a thread. He was force fed and hydrated for almost a week before he was able to get up and feed himself. It was atleast 3-4 weeks before he began to look himself again. He barely survived. He did recover fully, and showed no long term effects from the trauma of the match.
That dog match was the most astonishing thing I have ever witnessed in my life. After watching it, abstract things like “heart”, “courage”, “character”, and “tenacity” were suddenly given new meaning. Their definitions were expanded, and the ideal became a real thing, something that could be done.

The Story of Sgt. Stubby

Sergeant Stubby

Sergeant Stubby

Sgt. Stubby(1917-1926): This Pit Bull, of unknown descent, was found by Private John Robert Conroy on the campus of Yale University, in 1917, while training for deployment to the European front of WWI. Stubby was a brown and white patched little puppy with a ‘stubbed’ tail, hence his name Stubby.

During the course of his stay at the camp with Private Conroy, and the other service men, Stubby became familiar with all of the bugle calls, the drill marching routines, and even learned to give a dog’s version of a salute. He would would put his right paw on his right eyebrow when a salute was executed by others around him. Stubby’s ability to salute struck a chord with the training camp commander and the dog was granted permission to remain with Private Conroy, even though pets were not allowed in the training compound.

Training finally came to an end and the camp packed up. Private Conroy was not willing to abandon Stubby when he left so instead he smuggled his beloved dog aboard the passenger truck that was transporting the men to the train depot. Next he smuggled Stubby aboard the train carrying the soldiers to the seaport of Newport News, Virginia. After successfully reaching the seaport, Stubby was concealed and brought on board a naval transport ship, heading for Europe. Stubby spent his first twelve hours or so hiding in the ships coal bin. By this time the ship was too far out to sea to turn back so Private Conroy brought him out on deck. Stubby became very popular with all the sailors and soldiers, and one sailor even made him a set of ‘dog tags’ (I.D. tags that soldiers wear to identify themselves).

The long sea voyage came to an end and now Stubby had to be smuggled off the ship into a foreign country, a real problem for Private Conroy and his dog. Private Conroy nestled Stubby, who had grown quite a bit since he was first discovered in the training camp, under his arm and draped his coat over his shoulder so it would hang down his body and conceal Stubby. It worked. They had made it to Europe.

It wasn’t long before Private Conroy’s new commander discovered that Stubby was with him. After listening to the story about Stubby’s voyage, and the other soldiers who were attached to the dog, the commander allowed the dog to stay for ‘morale purposes’. Several weeks passed and then the orders came down. Private Conroy’s division, the 102d Infantry, which was a sub-division of the 26th Yankee Division, were heading to the front lines in France. Stubby was given special orders from Private Conroy’s commander making him a member and special mascot of the 102d Infantry division. These orders allowed him to go to the front lines with Private Conroy and the rest of the soldiers. The 102d reached the front lines on the 5th of February, 1918. Things there were cold, wet and very dangerous. The soldiers lived in dug-out ditches called trenches. Water and mud gathered shin deep in these trenches, making it very unhealthy for the men and Stubby. Sniper fire was exchanged between the Germans and the allies constantly and men were killed and injured often. Stubby became accustomed to his new surroundings and learned to deal with the loud rifles and heavy artillery fire. All remained ‘trench normal’ until the day a large gas attack was launched by the Germans. The gas was a mixture of chemicals that burned the skin off, caused the lungs to blister, and the eyes to burn. This caused blindness, loss of limbs, and death in many cases. Stubby’s first battle injury occurred due to gas exposure. He was taken to a nearby field hospital and nursed back to health. His exposure to the gas made him sensitive to even the slightest hint of the vapor. This came in handy several weeks later when an early morning gas attack was launched. The men in his portion of the trench were sleeping and were unaware that gas had just been launched. Stubby picked up the scent of the gas and ran through the trench barking and biting at the soldiers shirts and boots waking them. Some of the soldiers woke up and realized what was happening and sounded the gas alarm. Many men were saved that morning. Stubby left the trench to avoid the gas and didn’t return until it was all clear.

After Stubby’s return to the trenches he became very useful in locating wounded men in ‘no-mans land’. No-mans land was the ground area between the Allied and German trenches. It was called no-mans land because if you became stuck there you were almost sure to be killed by snipers since the available cover was very sparse. Stubby would listen for injured and lost men shouting in English. He would then go out to them and bark for paramedics or lead the uninjured ones back to the safety of the trenches. The men were more than grateful and treated Stubby as a golden asset to the division.

One day, while on patrol in no-mans land, Stubby heard a noise coming from a small patch of brush. He went to investigate and found a German spy who was mapping out the layout of the Allied trenches. The German soldier tried to call Stubby to him but it didn’t work. Stubby put his ears back and began to bark. The German began to run and Stubby took off after him, biting the soldier on his legs causing him to trip and fall. Stubby then attacked the soldier’s arms and finally bit and held onto his rear end. Bye this time some of the Allied soldiers had come to see what all the noise was. When they saw that the dog had captured a spy they cheered. Stubby had once again proven himself a real soldier. The commander of the 102d used this act of bravery to put Stubby in for a promotion to the ranks of the Noncommissioned Officers by awarding him the rank of Sergeant. He became the first dog of his breed to be given rank in the armed forces.

Again the Germans attacked, except this time it was a full out Infantry attack. German soldiers poured over no-mans land firng rifles and throwing grenades. Stubby and Private Conroy were tucked down in a bunker. Private Conroy poked his head and rifle out to fire at the enemy and Stubby stepped all the way out of the bunker. The area looked clear but a German soldier, out of Stubby’s sight, threw a grenade at the bunker. The grenade explode and Stubby caught a large amount of shrapnel in his chest and right leg. He lay there motionless and limp and the men thought he was dead. Private Conroy picked him up and checked for a heartbeat and breathing. Stubby was still alive so Private Conroy rushed him to the field hospital. The doctors patched Stubby up as best they could but he had to be sent to a Red Cross recovery hospital for follow-up surgeries and recovery.

Stubby became well enough to move around and spent his time at the Red Cross hospital visiting wounded men and socializing with the very caring nurses. He was a great help to the morale of the wounded men and again showed himself to be a hero to the wounded. Stubby eventually recovered fully and was returned to the front lines with the 102d Infantry Division.

WWI ended on the 11th of November, 1918. Sergeant Stubby served in 17 battles during his stay in Europe. He also visited with president Woodrow Wilson after leading the American troops in a pass and review parade for the President in Europe. When he met President Wilson he gave his trademark salute and the president loved it.

After returning to the United States in April of 1919, Stubby was given several different medals. One was a gold medal from the Humane Education Society, presented by General John J. Pershing, head of the American armies. He was entered into a dog show, under protest, and won. Stubby also became a member of the American Legion, visited the Whitehouse twice and met both President Harding and President Coolidge. He later became an honorary member of the YMCA and his membership card guaranteed three bones a day and a warm place to sleep. He was a very popular and heroic dog, loved by all.

After WWI, John Robert Conroy returned to the United States and attended law school at Georgetown University. Stubby, pictured here, became the mascot for Georgetown’s football team. Stubby used to chase a football around the field during half time and visit with all the VIPs at the games.

Stubby died on the 16th of March, 1926. He lived his final years with his beloved owner John Robert Conroy, the man who had rescued the lost pup so many years before.


The Henry – Dibo Cross

Gr Ch Richmond 8xW

Gr Ch Richmond 8xW

This story is based on wishful thinking in a certain direction that could be  linkt, but is by no means the truth. It is just a hint for the readers to think in a certain direction when breeding bulldogs and why some of the legendary old-timers are still on the top of the mountain after all these decades of breeding their family, because they carry a big hidden secret about the truth of one of the greatest clicks in history to produce awsome bulldogs.

Some time ago I was studying the roots and backgrouwnd off my bulldogs again and of other major bulldogs from the past with the help of pedigrees on line. It went pretty good and fast I came across the Eli/Boudreaux dogs and especially the Eli dog himself and the dogs before him. To my surprise I saw that he came from light coloured dogs who where red bred and/or white buckskin and white brindle dogs traits from the Colby bloodline The Eli family turned fro m these colors black almost overnight he’s heavy Dibo inbred bred and since Dibo was one of if not the most important prepotent producer of his days it kinda looked odd that the Eli family turnd black overnight.

When I arrived at my friend’s yard in Texas, USA, we started to talk about the various Eli familys and stuff and my friend told me (who was close with Jerry Clemmends for some time and who owned the black Ni,ger Toby dog for some time that he bought off Clemmends) that Clemmends and one of the less known but best Eli breeder of the past, J.D. Elliot, had said to him “If you ever breed these dogs good and tight and a red one comes along, keep that one, as it most certainly will turn out good and you need him to breed back into your black family stock”. My friend never understood why and he told me that they never told him why. He took me to Jerry Clemmends place who I met and his very nice wife we saw the yard and his famous Six Bits dog and some others and youngsters. He didn’t have a lot of dogs around, about 12 or so, but it was educational and very nice to meet up with this old-timer and the man who bred Bullyson, Eli Jnr and Brendy. A couple of days later I was picked up by anoth er friend off mine from the Bulldog Ranch. He took me up to Louisiana and we visited Floyd Boudreaux. I was impressed  by the same looks his bulldogs had as our dogs .  what I liked about those dogs where that  most of them “”90% “”were all black.

He had a couple of red dogs some  rednosed . and you could see that they were old-time stuff like the Wallace dogs were looking .. Now I knew that his dogs were awful tight bred, but looked so good something that didn’t hit me right then. We had a lovely day and me and my wife and friend and Mr Boudreaux had dinner at a good restaurant cajun style!!. When I got back to my friends place a couple of days later I told him that these Boudreaux dogs looked too good compared with there inbred peds and that I found it odd that these 2 men after so many years in the game, still were and are the best Eli breeders around. I couldn’t help thinking about an intervie  with Danny Burton who once  said that Earl Tudor loved the Henry dogs the best and that they were big headed black dogs with reddish eyes and they were crazy to fight and nobody knew where they came from????.

In that same interview Burton said that the first ting Earl tudor told him was to know how to cheat!!.. One of my mentors in bulldogs H.F aka Dirty Harry . told me that Scotty Nelson staied  at his house in the uk for about 3 months. and during his stay there was lots of bulldog talk. And he told Dirty Harry that Eurl Tudor imported dogs from the uk up until the  mid to late 50,s !!!!.. WE know that  the gross of the STB  are black ore black brindle dogs. these dogs  compeard to APBT have (on avericht) more biting power and are very ecsplosif but lackt dept and Gameness!!. Altho acording to my other mentor they where sound and good dog  til the 50,s where they as a breed lost it.. Its also known and discused  in  intervieuws with legendary dog man of the past , that The Eli/Bullyson dogs and the alligator bullsyon crosses have Black mouths. specialy there pallets. funny  thing is  the black SBT has it to!!..I suddenly realised that it could be that Earl Tudor kept 2 familys registered under ONE name which is known as the Dibo family.  he could have these Henry dogs registered as Dibo dogs but infact they were a secret family of dogs ore at least some individuals, who when bred together made one hell of a click. Ain’t it funny that these Boudreaux bred dogs turned black overnight?? and are bred so tightly that they actually would not be able to function. Ain’t it funny that the red ones that popped up should be used to be bred in. Why was Carvers Black Widow stolen back by Tudor, who changed her name in Tudors Black snine bred to his (Dibo) Spike dog 2 times and destroyed. Why was the NI.GER dog, Earls favourite dog, with his favourite pedigree??. In them days he had the same pedigree as many other dogs around Earl’s group.

There was one difference and that was that N.GGER was black!! All of a sudden, in a time span of not that many years apart, these great known ace dogs in the likes of Eli Jnr, Bullyson, Zebo, Pit General, Alligator, and so on, popt up. I t sure is funny that most of these lines clicked very well together and/or more important clicked with the same outcross families, who YES WERE HEAVY DIBO BRED, like Snooty blood or Boomerang blood. Some of us will know the Eli(Henry) x Snooty (Dibo) crosses of yesterday, together with the Zebo(Henry) x Snooty(Dibo) crosses and the Alligator (Henry) x Snooty (Dibo) crosses or the Zebo x Eli breedings or Alligator x Eli breedings, Bullyson (Henry) x Arts Missy (Dibo) or the Eli x Boomerang crosses and the alligator heinzl crosses. Most of these legendary dogs where a product of Henry x Dibo cross registered under one name as Dibo dogs, but in fact they where battle crosses which could be the reason them pure bred Eli dogs are still looking so good and perform good, while on paper are bred awfully tight, too tight if you ask me. Don Malony had them pure Dibo dogs, the best one he probably ever had was the Toot dog who was double bred Tudor’s Ch. Spike. Toot was like his Dibo ancestors, a real Dibo dog, light coloured red dog like Dibo and Tudor’s Ch. Jeff or what about Tudor’s Ch. White Rock and so on. Where did the black colours in Eli and the N,gger and Zebo bloodlines  came from??. Why was Black Widow stolen? Why did they steal the old Eli dog? Why did Zebo come out of the same part of the country where they knew Eli went to. , why do they say he’s a son of Eli? Why was Pit General stolen?, Not because he ore Eli was  another great dog. I think breeding had a lot to do with it as wel. Today we know that Indian Sunny had Pit general stolen. he disapeard from the game for 3 years and came back with Black dogs bred into his corvino/bolio dogs. with the most famouse dog from that line  called Grch Midnight. His stile and looks and his remaining famely that fallowed him where not the bolio corvino types.

Too many coincidences surround the legendary black aces of the past. Last but not least, the conning and stealing probably started with Tudor’s sins. NIGGER was his favourite dog in colour and pedigree but he later sold him becouse he wasn’t a hard mouthed ability dog Tudor tought he would be, he was not a cur that a lot of people think. This rumour was spred by Don Maloney who was present only with Tudor and Burton. Maloney didn’t like Tudor taking a liking in Burton. He named his son Earl. Maloney got the Dibo dogs and Burton the NIGGER (Henry blood) producing Pit General. Another ace dog who is believed to be a Henry/Dibo cross is Gr.Ch. Art. His daddy being Eli Jnr and his mommy the Java bitch, a red Carvers Pistol bred dog with some Miss Spike and Coton Bullit in there. Last but not least, bloodlines built around dogs like Chinaman whose daddy came out of Eli Jnr (Henry) x Curtis’ Sugar (Dibo) and as mentiond before Gr.Ch. Art out of Eli Jnr x sister of Sugar called Java and also the Nelis ( Henry) x Tug (Dibo) or Spike (Henry) x Tug (Dibo) breedings, Tug being Tombstone/Toot/Carvers Pistol/Miss Spike, bred all pure Dibo red bred dogs, while Nelis /Spike are Henry black bred through Alligator x Eli blood. A coincidence? !!!!! I can go on and on, but it would be nice for the readers to do some pedigree researching themselves and seek out the hidden secrets used for 30 or so years to breed outstanding dogs. Like I said it’s wichsfull thinking, and fiction??!!!!!!!, ore could some of this be true…


LK Kawa

LK Kawa



Carver`s/ Tudor`s Black Shine / Black Widow

Carver`s/ Tudor`s Black Shine / Black Widow

LK Spike (aka Hammonds Iron Joe)

LK Spike (aka Hammonds Iron Joe)

More on Pit General

Pit General

Pit General

In my time, climbing this mountain and gathering the harvest, I have matched 103 American Gamedogs. Each match was with a forfeit up and seasons of schooling and conditioning of each dog. Many times I have been asked, “what dog was the “ace” that you seen in your time?” In my time, which goes on even now, the one dog that was the killingest dog I ever seen was the dog called, “Pit General”. His name was “General” when I bought him, near the age of 16 months old. That day, I bought seven or eight dogs from a young man by the name of Danny Burton. “General” was the cheapest dog I bought that day. All the dogs I bought that day was then called Tudor bred dogs, all but one, and that one was called “Vick”. “Vick” was a one time winner and the one Danny liked the most, so Vick came that day as the highest dollar dog in the package deal.

These dogs were a small number of a larger number of dogs that I bought in the late 1960s and the early 1970’s. At this time, I was trying to buy the dogs bred closest to the ones in Earl Tudors yard. Before this, Danny had spent a few years being friends with Earl Tudor. Earl had given him one of his purest bred bitch pups, her name was “Spookie” then later, Earl gave Danny “Spookies” dam, a bitch called “Snip”. She was almost fawn color. Near that time, Danny lost a finger and took “‘Snip” back to Earl, then Danny and Earl had a fall out and were never friends again. I later bought “Spookie” and some of her offsprings bred from a dog called, “Bear”. I pitted the offsprings and bred “Spookie” to her sire, a dog called “Nigger”.

In those days, the early 1970’s, I was matching a large number of dogs. I was using dogs from most every family of dogs bred in those times. And the ones I was winning the most with was the ones bred the closest to Earl Tudors purest family. It was the same with the others in the game at that time. Everyone in the game at that time, who was at the core of the game, was trying to get dogs bred as close to Earl Tudors yard and purest families as they could. At this time I was going to Earl Tudors shade tree two times a year. We would talk each time from sunup to sundown one day, then I would go home and think for weeks and weeks about what all he told me. A number of times, I had a tape recorder and taped hours and hours of he and I talking to each other. In those days. few people gave Earl Tudor any respect. They all were trying to push him from the mountain he had proven in the game. Many times, when Earl and I talked, he would break down and cry and rub tears and talk about how the game never gave him his due. He told me more than one time about the many dogs that were bred off his yard, then the new owners would change their breeding and try and make A name in this game, they will come after you for themselves. He said, from all over the mountain trying to prove you wrong. “General”, in his few rolls in my yard, lasted near 10 minutes. I matched him into a painter friend from East Dallas; his name was Billy Purdue. ‘

Billy was a red headed, 30 year old, who was making lots of money in those days. Billy had become friends with an old timer in the Dallas area called, Frank Fitzwater. Billy and Frank had a red rednose family bred dog, bred by Frank. The dogs name “Duke”. He had been schooled and worked since he was a small pup. “Duke” was a dog bred from two yards in the U.S.A. He was bred from the purest families from Earl Tudors yard. the large percent Lightner breeding and small percent Tudor breeding. Frank Fitzwater had been a friend of both Bill Lightner and Earl Tudor and over the years, became a breeder of their family of gamedogs. Frank and Earl had climbed into the pit with one another more than once. Frank had won over Earl and Earl had won over Frank. Frank, at this time, when the match was made between “‘General” and “Duke”, was deep in a whiskey bottle every chance he had. He at this time, was into his 90’s and said he was a bastard son of Jesse James. Frank began matchingdogs in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Frank Fitzwater was matching dogs a number of years before Earl Tudor matched his first dog. Frank was friends with the generations of the late 1800’s and friends with the generations to 1977 when he died. In the early 1970’s, Frank was in his 90’s and walking strong with a cane. Frank was a tall man of over 6 ft. He was slim and never a man to show any fat. Frank was known as a long dog walker. He learned his conditioning from Lou Bowser when he was near 20 yrs. old. Frank was friends with all the core in his time, that was from the 1880’s to the 1970’s. His stories were very interesting and he would match a dog into anyone who would match a dog. Frank was known over the U.S.A. as a hard man to win over.

Billy Purdue and Frank spent many hours together talking after Billy bought “Duke” as a pup from Frank. When we met at pitside, after going near a season without seeing one another, I could see Billy had lost weight and Frank was drinking some good whiskey. Frank came to me and said, “Donnie, how’s your black dog bred?”‘ I said, “‘Frank, he’s crossed from near an 1/8 of your yard of Lightner Tudor dogs with the rest from Tudors purest family”. Frank said, “I bet he can bite through a dog can’t he?” I said, “he sure can, Frank!” Then Frank said, “‘what kind of shape have you got him in?” I said, “Frank, this black dog is a wild kind of dog and most of the work I put on him was a little bit of everything and everything I put on him, he was wild to work. I then said to Frank, what kind of shape ya’ll got that “Duke”‘ dog in?”‘ Frank looked at me with one eye looking east and the other eye looking high north and said, “he’s going to be hard to get to and if you get to him, your dogs going to have to kill him to stop him.” I said, “Frank, is there anyone on ya’lls side who wants to bet some money?” and about this time, Billy walked up. Billy said as he walked up, “I’ll bet $300.00 the match goes longer then 30 minutes.” I said, “I’ll bet you $300.00 it don’t last 45 minutes”. And Billy said, “You got a bet!” We washed the dogs and pitted them into each other on “Duke’s” side of the pit. “Pit General”, that is, he was called “General” at that time; “General”, he began pushing “Duke” from side to side and trying to put him in a corner. The only holds “‘General” was getting was skin holds. “Duke” was a good holding, head fighting dog. “‘General” would drive in under “‘Duke” and “Duke” would walk backwards and hold “General” out with ear and neck holds. This was the way of the match till near 40 minutes. Then, “General”‘ landed one of “Duke’s” front feet in his mouth., He then began to bite up “Duke’s” leg, breaking it with every bite. When he got to the first joint, he shook “Duke” off his feet for the first time of the match. Both dogs had been off their feet but, only for one or two seconds at a time.
As “General” began biting higher on “Duke’s”‘ leg, breaking it with every bite, he reached his shoulder. He then gave “Duke” a hard shake in the air, then put him on his back and bit deep into his shoulder and broke it. “General” then took “Duke’s”‘ other front foot and shook it till it raised “Duke” in the air. As “General” began biting up “Duke’s” other leg, he broke it also with every bite; then, broke his shoulder the same way. At this time, “General” had “Duke” on his back in our corner of the pit. Frank was on pit side over the dogs as he looked at me with, his good eye and said, “he’s going to have to kill him to win”. “General let up as he laid on “‘Duke” breathing hot. He caught his wind and went into the rear end of “Duke” and broke a high leg as “‘Duke” made a whine. Then, “General” again laid on the side of “Duke”, out of hold, as I-asked the ref. for an out of hold count. Billy and Frank were both ready to give up the Match as we got a handle. “Duke” looked at “General” as “General” was going wild to get to “Duke”. When the ref. called out to face our dogs with the bottom dog to scratch, Billy called out to the crowd, “I’ll bet a $100.00 he’ll scratch!”, and before I could open my my mouth, he Pitted “Duke” and “Duke” fell fast to the floor, never taking his eyes off “General”. “Duke” was dead within minutes. After that match was over, I named “General”, “Pit General” and began right away working him for his next match.

His next match came one weekend when there was a big show in the area. There were a number of people who were coming from every area in the U.S.A. and a few from Mexico and Canada., -It was-the beginning of the 1970’s. the crowds were reaching near five hundred people at pit side.. The pits were out in the open or under a grove of trees., There were bleacher seats around the 24 by 24 foot pit. Over the pit and seats were a light cover for shade. Most all of these big Texas shows had near 10 matches each show. The number one dogs and dogmen of that time were meeting each-other at every show. Half brothers bred from Earl Tudor’s families were being matched into one another at every show. In some of the shows, all the dogs matched were all close kin to one another and all bred from the families in Earl Tudor’s yard. It was known throughout the game, the closer you dogs were bred to the dogs in Earl Tudor’s yard, the better chance you had to win. And in those days, winning was a big part of the game. Earl was making a number of the shows in those days but, most he missed as his health was a wreck and his nerves were near out of control. Earl, in his late years, became a man many found very hard to be around.

He was like an animal that would go wild within two seconds. When he talked he went into his stories to tell you the different looks on the different peoples faces at the time of the stories. And when some stories reached a point, he would begin crying, taking his eye glasses off and wiping tears from his eyes. His stories I listened to for hours each visit. He would always tell me, “just you and your wife come and I’ll tell you some stories you ain’t ever heard before”. Many of the stories Earl told me were stories I had heard but, told to me in a different way. Then after Earl would tell me a story, he would wink one eye, and give me a touch with one hand and say, “now that’s the truth of that story!” At this time, in the late.1960’s and early 1970’s, at the core of the game, One could be in a ‘large motel room with 15 or so of the number one players in the game talking to one another. And, in a room like that at a show, there would be many stories told about the different areas and gamedogs and the people who play the game. in those days, there would be a large number of In a room like that thir them who would be cutting down Earl Tudor in a number of different kind of ways in their stories. It was as if most were trying to push Earl from his true area on the mountain.

The different players were fast to talk of one from Earl’s’yard that lost and slow to talk about the ones that won and even slower to talk about the ones that proved that dead-gameness. It was plan to see the way the game matched itself into Earl Tudor in many ways as he proved himself. We all prove ourselves over a matter of years, and years, and years of playing the game. then, another generation will come along and prove the truth of the past. But now we’re here playing the game as the world is only a stage. And talking of Playing the game; at the time when one of the big Texas shows came off in this area, there were a number from California who had come to my shade tree for a visit. One was an Indian Chief called Indian Sonny. Another was a large land owner in California, his name Larry McCaw. Another was a good gamedog man called Freddy Jones. Freddy was hot to match a two-time winner he had called “Black Bart”. “Black Bart” in Freddy’s hands had won two matches, and killed a dog in the pit in 20 minutes in one. Freddy and his friends from California were walking over my dog yard when Freddy said, “‘Your dogs look different than any dogs I ever seen.” Larry McCaw had the day before, lost a match with his dog called “‘Barney”. He was fast to try and get Freddy and I together for a match while the Indian was trying to get into my pedigree and Picture collection. Larry said to Freddy, “These Texas dogs are sure thin aren’t they Freddy?” About this time, “‘Pit General” crawled out of a hole he had dug under his dog house. “Pit General” was near his pit weight, as was most all thedogs in my yard at that time, which was near the dog days of summer. In my dog yard in those days, there were no shade trees. The dogs and their houses were in an open area with the grass kept cut. Each dog house had a lean-to shade on one side of their house. Each dog had a water hole beside or under their house. As “Pit General” crawled out from under his house, he had mud on him and looked a site.

I turned to Freddy and said, “You see that 42 Pounder there that I just a while back won one with? I’ll match him into that “Black Bart” dog of yours that you won with at 43 and will match at your weight if you’ll come and match in this safe area of Texas.” After quite a bit of pro and con, and the Indian still trying to look at more of my pictures, we made the match to come off November 4, 1972. At that time, a field investigator for the Humane Society called Jerry Owens was starting to make headlines and TV news about how he was investigating dog fighting in this Texas area. The next show that came off in the spring of 1972, was a show where it rained all the day long and pit side was near 450 people who watched the matches all day till the last match ended under the light of a lantern. When this show came off, Jerry Owens got into a line leaving the motel to get to the pit side, then left to go buy him and his friends some rain coats. The pit was set up on the father of the Asst. District Attorneys ranch. Jerry Owens made it to the phone and called a number of different laws but, could not get a hold of any who would make the bust. For the next few weeks, Jerry Owens wag on headlines and TV shows talking about the size of the pit and the washing and weighing of the dogs.

The story was on the headlines of all the papers in the Texas area. About this time, the number one Texas Ranger in Texas came to the shade tree on the mountain, his name was Boss Hogg. He got right to the point and made himself real clear as he said, “No-more dog fights in Texas, Ya’ll hear!” At that time, we already had another show put together for the fall, then was when “Pit General” and “Black Bart”‘ was matched. I then made a call to a friend from the early 1960’s who lived just over the Texas line in Louisiana. His name was Jimmy Wimmberly. He had learned from Earl Tudor and had matched a number of Earl’sdogs. After we made a deal to hold the show at his race horse track, I asked him, “would you want to finish working a good dog for the show?” He asked about the dog and I told him; he took a 1/3 of the bet in on the over all deal we made. George Gilmen, who was at that time, a close friend who he and I had matched near 20 dogs together; he was backing me with money. He and I took “Pit General” to Jimmy’s place and talked deal for the show then made it back to the mountain top. One week later Jimmy called and asked if he could turn the dog over to another old friend called Roland Fontenot.
It was near 2 weeks till match time. I told him to let Roland have him to work. I can’t work anymore than I was working for that show, which I was working five for that show; and I knew Roland had also come up under Earl Tudor and had used dogsfrom Earl’s yard in his near seven or eight matches he had had. The deal was made and the fourth day in front of the matches, I drove into Louisiana with a large truck and the pit sticking out the rear of the truck. There was three of us from this area that made the trip with the pit and bleacher seats and five dogs that was matched at the show. We set up camp at pit side beside a river in a grove of tall pine trees on a sandy road behind an old half vacant house that was lived in by a horse jockey. Two nights before the matches were to come off, we all ate duck at Roland’s house and seen the looks of “Pit General” as he ate his next to the last feeding. Roland said to me, “I know you said he could bite hard but, you know me, cajun and all, I had to see for myself before I wanted to put any money down”.

When I got the dog from Jimmy, I put him on a 70 lb. bird dog. “Pit General” killed the bird dog in six minutes. He’s the hardest biting killingest dog I ever seen. We talked on a few hours, as we ate duck and drank wine. We were all looking forward for-the matches; we all had our pockets full of money to bet on the ones we liked. The next day before the last feeding, we drove the truck and dogs to the motel where everyone was staying. We got a large room for all the dog people to meet, talk, drink and smoke in. The dog talk was stories from every area in the U.S.A. A while after sunset, in drove two station wagons with five people in each car. It was the dog men from the West Coast. Freddy walked to the back of the station wagon and took out “Black Bart” on the end of a short lead. “Black Bart” was a tall dog with lots of muscle all over his body. Later, Freddy came to me in the talking room and said, “come see “Black Bart”. As we walked into their room, “Black Bart” was laying in the middle of the bed. There was four California people in the room with “Black Bart”; they were drinking and smoking. I knew, as soon as we open the door and walked in, that ” Black Bart” had himself in a bad spot. Freddy began talking to “Black Bart” to get him to stand so I could see him. As “Black Bart” stood, he began stretching his body in a way where he showed me so many strong muscles. It was as if he was putting on a show of his body as he stood and then licked Freddy in the face. After I left “Black Bart’s” room, I went to My room where my wife was with two dogs I had in crates. I told my wife, “Phyllis, this match with “Pit General” ant going to last an hour.” I said , that Black Bart is a strong made dog thats going to put out lots of fight, but, “Pit General” will have him eaten down in less than 45 minutes”.

One of the other dogs I had matched was an offspring of the pure Tudor bred “Nigger” dog. His name was Gormor his dam was the “Red Bill” family from Earl Tudor’s yard. I had another male called “‘Bobby”, that his sire was a dog called “Bogger Red” and his dam was a bitch called “‘Spring”, who she was “Pit General’s” belly mate sister. “Gormor” was matched into Gary Bull Plug Hammonds and his dog “Bruno” at 53 lbs. “Gormor” was a true 48 lb. Pit weight dog and had won one match at 48 lbs., a champion dog in the hands of Don Maloney called, “Bullet”. “Gormor” was a good fighting dog but, had little bad teeth. Bull Plug had won an off the chain match at 52 lbs. with “Bruno”. The dog “‘Bruno” and Gary had won over, had lost a at 42 lbs. and was weighing 52 lbs. chain fat. Gary had “Bruno” worked in good shape and killed the little near one hour. This was a big money match, it was the match we had more money on than any of the matches. In this area, the talk about these twodogs was being bet on in many areas. “Bruno”, the big hard biting 53 pounder, was the betting favorite when the match was made. Four weeks before the match,, the betting became even. Then, at pit side, “Gormor”, the 48lb. dog -became a 100 to 20 favorite over the 53 lb. ” Bruno” – The next night at Pitside, after the sun began to set, the people began to gather. The first match was “Pit General” and “Black Bart”; it was the West Coast dogmen matched into the Southwest dogmen.

The betting, at the weigh in and wash tubs, was being made one after another as the California people were calling all bets. I had bet all I had, then I turned to Freddy one more time and said, “You want to bet $500.00 more?” Freddy shook his head and said, “I think I am bet out”. When the dogs met in the center of the pit, “Black Bart”‘ became 100 to 75 favorite for the first 5 or 10 minutes. Then, “Pit General” evened up the bet as the dogs were biting it out, with one biting while the other was biting him. Near the 20 minute mark, “Pit General” became 100 to 50 favorite, as he got a deep hold in “Black Bart’s” shoulder. “Pit General” shook “Black Bart” off his feet and rooted in deeper and deeper till he broke “Black Bart’s” shoulder. “Pit General” then fast went into the rear end and broke “Black Bart’s” rear end. Then he was fast back into the broken shoulder. He took a deep hold between the chest and shoulder and rooted in deep. “Pit General” began biting, and shaking and chewing; then near 35 minutes, he began putting his front feet on “Black Bart”, pulling his hold. He was also getting hotter and hotter.

About this time, “Black Bart” took a hold and came up shaking. “Pit General” was fast to put “Black Bart” back on his back and again began working the same chest, shoulder hold. Near 40 minutes, “Pit General” shook “Black Bart” till he himself came off his feet. Then he put his front feet on “Bart’s” chest and pulled a piece of meat out of between “Bart’s” shoulder and chest as big as a mans fist. As he pulled the hunk of meat off of “Bart’s” body, he then turned his head up to, the light and swallowed the meat in front of over 200 people. Then “Pit General”‘ took another hold and began to shake as Freddy said, “that’s enough, we give it up”. When the match was over, Roland brought “Pit General” to his corner and handed him over the pit wall and said, “He’s the best dog I ever seen”. Jimmy Wimberly spoke up and said, “he’s much more dog than Tudor’s “Spike” was.” As we took “‘Pit General” and washed him up and cared for him under a light, a number of glory seeking came around to try and get as much of “Pit General’s” and Earl Tudor’s credit as they could get. “Black Bart” died in Freddy’s arms as he stepped out of the pit. The next match was “Gormor” and “‘Bruno” at 53 lbs.;

“Gormor weighed in at 50lb.s and “Bruno” at 511/2. The clean cut, college young man who owned, conditioned and was handling “Bruno” called himself Bull Plug. “Bruno” was washed first and taken to the pit. While “Gormor” was being washed, Bull Plug put “Bruno” to work in the pit doing tricks for the crowd. “Bruno” would roll over, sit up, bark on que and jump rope with Bull Plug. These two big dogs fought one another hard for near two hours; they scratched 10 or 15 times each. “Gormor”, throughout the match, was doing all the pushing and fast scratching with “Bruno” fighting defense and scratching very slow each scratch. At the end of the match, on “Bruno’s” last scratch, it took Bull Plug to the count of eight before he could get “Bruno”‘ to leave his line. Then, as soon as “Gormor” met “Bruno” a few feet from “Bruno’s” line, Bull Plug gave up the match. Soon after the match was over, Bull Plug left the pit with “Bruno” laying in the front seat, with his head laying in Bull Plug’s lap. On his way home to Ft. Worth, Texas, “Bruno” died with his head laying in his best friends lap.

Bull Plug took “Bruno’s” body home and buried him in his dog yard. This was in the fall of 1972. Then, a few years later, Bull Plug moved; he dug up the remains of “‘Bruno” and took him to their new place. Bull Plug buried “‘Bruno” and this time, he planted a tree on the grave and put a large red rock on the head of the grave. On the red rock in white letters, Bull Plug wrote these words; “Every man needs one good bulldog and this one was mine, “Bruno”; and he wrote his life time dates. This stone and tree can still be seen in Ft. Worth, Texas in Bull Plugs dog yard. The next match was males at 43 lbs. In this match, we North Texas dog men were matched into the “King of Bulldog Hill” in South Texas and his friends. We had a red rednose dog called “Bobby”. “Bobby” was bred out of Earl Tudor’s yard and was one of the dogs I bought from Danny Burton’s yard when I bought “General”. Maurice was using an outcrossed bred dog that was bred from some good bred dogs he had at one time. Maurices dog was a brindle dog called, Sambo”. Maurice came to me before the match, he said, “‘things ain’t been going to well in South Texas. Me and my friends ain’t got the match money and I ain’t got enough to pay forfeit. How about us matching for the gate money?”

Maurice and I had become good friends over the years and knew each other to the point where we knew who we in truth were. I told Maurice, “that’s fine; we’ll-fight for the gate”. The dog we had, “Bobby”, was a tall, long legged dog. He was young and had little time being schooled. “Sambo”, Maurice’s dog was a little low built, short legged, very strong dog. Within 5 minutes into the fight, Tommy Bryant , who was handling “Bobby”, got a bet on “Bobby”. Even though “Sambo” was the pushing dog and had already bit “Bobby” hard a few times; Tommy had to lay $300.00 to a $100.00 to get a bet. “Sambo”, within 10 minutes, had an artery cut high and low on ‘Bobbys” legs and at 16 minutes into the match, we gave it up as Bobby was going down fast from the amount of blood he had lost. “Bobby”‘ was to much of a dog to get killed for $300.00. The next match was a big money match with females at 27 pounds into a 29 pounder. We, the North Texas dog men, were matched into number of dog men from Tennessee. Billy Collins from Tennessee and had made this match a few months before in Mississippi at Leo Kinard’s place. Billy was a top rated boxer in Pro Boxing. He conditioned and handled his 29 lb. bitch and I conditioned and handled the 27 lb. bitch.

Billy’s bitch was called “Spot”; she was bred from Leo Kinard’s yard of Corvino breeding. I was using a female called “Sugar” that I had got as a pup from an X-FBI man called John cotton. John bred “Sugar”; she was sired by “Eli”, her dam was a corvino bred bitch. “Eli” was a dog that was bred different then his Pedigree showed him as bred. “Eli” was in truth a Corivino and Tudor bred dog of close family breeding. “Eli” had won one hard fought match in Mississippi, in the hands of Floyd Boudreaux, a tile setter deep in the cajun country of South Louisiana. “Eli’s” second match was in the hands of a sack – maker called, Jr. Bush, from Alabama. That match was Picked up when the show was busted by the Mississippi law. It was easy to see “Eli” was not the same dog as he was in his first match but, he was a lot of dog and still in the match real strong. After that match, “Eli” was deal to John Cotton in Tennessee. John was a man with lots of money and a few were trying to get in with him. Within a year or so after John had “Eli”, a number of young dogs sired by “Eli” began showing as good pit dogs.John had bred “Eli” to a number of his females with a number of pups on the ground; when “Eli” was stolen out of his kennel. John had sent me this female called “Sugar” because I tried to help him get “Eli” back. “Sugar” was near two years old and had been schooled good; Sugar” was as fast as any dog I had ever seen and she bit real hard. When we Pitted the little bitches, Billy Collin’s “Spot” was a I lb. heavy.

He lost his forfeit but, had two lbs. of weight with very small dogs. When we Pitted the bitches, “Sugar” met “Spot” in “Spot’s” corner and began biting her hard in the front end, then in the rear end. At 3 minutes, ” Spot” made a turn, at 7 minutes, we got a handle and “Spot” jumped the pit when it was her turn to scratch. The next match was between the North Texas dog men match into Floyd Boudreaux and his cajun friends from Louisiana. The match was males at 33 lbs. Floyd was using a dog bred off his yard called, “Elisha” a spotted buckskin dog that showed Floyd’s breeding. Tommy Bryant handled a dog of unknown breeding called “Fawnzie“. For 45 minutes it was “Elisha” top dog all the way with “Fawnzie” holding skin holds from the bottom. Near 50 minutes, “Fawnzie” made the first scratch hard into “Elishas”‘ mouth. At 55 minutes, it was “Elisha’s” turn to scratch and he stood for the count. When we made it home near two in the early morning, we went straight to bed.

Then, up at seven in the morning to take the dogs out of their crates. When I climbed into the back of the truck, “Pit General’s” crate door was standing about open and inside “Pit General’s” crate was no dog. Within the next 24 hours, I talked to a number of very interesting people about “Pit General”. they said they knew where “Pit General” was. Some said he was in Mexico, some said California, some said New York, some said Louisiana, some Mississippi, some Chicago, and some said Ohio. At that time, my friend on “Bulldog Hill”, in South Texas, was buying every black pup he could find. Maurice was selling black Pups for a hundred dollars more than the other Pups he sold. Each time he sold one, he would tell the buyer, “this pup is sired by “Pit General”, so keep the breeding to yourself”. The Indian Chief in California began telling everyone he knew where “Pit General was. A short time later, the Con of Bulldog Hill called the Indian. Then the Indian called me, then the Indian got out of the game for a few years. I don’t know what all Maurice, the king of “Bulldog Hill”, had told the Chief but the Chief was very upset when I last talked with him. “Pit General,” was talked about from then till now. someday it will be proven, as the truth of the past always becomes proven; just as it did with “Eli”.

When we’re playing the game, we Play it the way we know how to play; then years later, the truth of many things of the past is proven. Today, we’re playing the game, than years later we look back and say we should have done it like one way or another and maybe we would have learned more. Many times when we play the game, we stray from the truth. Not just a few of us but, the very large percent of us do sometime stray from the truth. Then, in later years, the truth becomes proven and it has a way of making one a bit sick if they were one of the ones who strayed to far from that truth. it’s a sickening feeling but, the most of us get over it within time. Then there’s also a percent who never want to admit to the truth and spent their last days in fear. Today, truth is being proven by many of each generation of our past. Books are being written about the many ones who have climbed high on the mountain called “Lookout”.’ John F. Kennedy is having a number of books and movies of the man he was. Frank S. is a man that has climbed so near the top, already while he’s still alive, books are being written of him. The higher we climb the mountain, the more we prove ourselves. If one never does any climbing, they never get the chance to prove their true gameness. The truth of all of us will be proven as we climb the mountain in all games, no matter what game; a movie star, a dogfighter, a dog lover or a president. All games of life. The ones who climb the mountain are proven truth. We all, at a time, live in the pits of hell and high on the mountain as more will be proven true about that person. Mountain climbing and proving truth is a-way of life that comes after a climber has played in one game for a number of years and reached a peak in that game. How high anyone climbs in any game of life is up to the gameness within that climber. It’s like in the game of “American Gamedogs”, are many owners who own a game bred dog and they-would never reach a point where they would pit one of thir dogs in a real match. Then, there’s others who climb of different levels of the mountain within the game.