Nothing beats having a good dog

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Living in the South requires special attention to details, one of which is to our name. Many, many people are blessed with the double-name syndrome, with me, of course, being left out of the loop. That's right. I have no middle name. I've known dogs that even had middle names.

With this Southern phenomenon of double names comes the responsibility of living up to the title one has been given. Certainly, a name such as &#8220Connie Elizabeth” requires a different personality than, say, a &#8220Jim Bob.”

This concept also holds true with the quintessential Southern dog.

Everyone should have the experience of having a good Southern dog at least once in life. But, more importantly, the dog should be named appropriately.

We had a big brindled bulldog named &#8220Tuff” when I was a kid. A good southern name for a good southern bulldog. Actually, my brother, Britt, had named him &#8220Big Man.” A good southern bulldog should have the word &#8220Big” somewhere in his name. And, big he was. I could ride him like a horse, scratch his back with sticks, rub his nose, in short, do anything to him I pleased, and he would lie there like a pig in mud in the hot July sun. But, let a stranger step one pinky toe too close to our yard, and that deep, low growl soon turned into a full-fledged ferocious barking assault that was better than any siren warning system.

One day, I came out the front door calling for Tuff, but he wouldn't answer. I kept calling. After about ten minutes, I saw a horrible sight. He came half-walking, half-dragging himself around the corner of the house with his entire front quarter hanging to the ground. Dr. Max Autrey told us that someone had cut him with a knife. Obviously it was someone Tuff decided did not need to be inside our fence.

After being sewn up, Tuff healed and wore that big, long scar proudly the rest of his days. Now, that's what I call a hero.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have your little &#8220Fifi” dogs. You know, those dogs that dash around your ankles like a gnat at a Fourth of July picnic.

Their bark is more like a high-pitched yap or screech that hurts your ears. It must be the same sound that a dog hears from a dog whistle.

If a dog yaps, then it must have a yappy name. It can't be in the same category as a good Southern bulldog name. Here again, Fifi, Peppy, Mr. Skittles and Poopsie don't sound like they could do much physical damage to any area above the shins.

They might grate on the nerves, and you certainly can't ride them like a horse, but at least they can irritate a potential burglar enough to make him think twice before coming inside the house.

Certainly, the name should fit the breed. Actually, the name should fit the personality and the temperament. And, I know that many people pay a lot of money for their dogs in the search for just the right pet. Tuff didn't cost anything. We didn't get him from a high-priced breeder. But he was a prize. I wouldn't take a million dollars for a good southern bulldog.

Regina Grayson is a reporter with the Greenville Advocate.

She can be reached at 334-383-9302, ext. 126 or via e-mail at