*This is part 2 of a 3 part series about how I discovered the rarest dog breed in America, which later led to my first novel, “Hope In Every Raindrop.”
What the heck is a Carolina Dog?
It sounded like someone got lazy while naming a dog breed. I turned back to the giant green “Dog Bible,” and read the description again.
“The Carolina dog is a medium-size, sturdy dog with a strong, broad skull and foxy look. The ears are large and naturally erect, the almond-shaped eyes are brown, and both the nose and lips are black. The brush tail is of medium length. “The Carolina dog is a loyal, pack-oriented dog. It is protective but will not bite unprovoked.”
That didn’t really answer my question. I still wanted to know the story behind the Carolina Dog. So, I clicked back to the first website I had saved – Lynches River Kennel, and read some more.
“Carolina dogs are a rare, prized, and ancient breed dating back thousands of years, and are also known as the Dixie Dingo or Native American dog.”
I kept reading…
“Another outstanding characteristic quite unknown to other Carolina dog breeders is that they are probably the world’s greatest blood dog. This will only be of interest to the deer and boar hunters. Once put on the blood of a deer or hog, nothing deters them until they have found the quarry. They are silent trackers, and do not bark, so you have to put a bell on them.”
Silent trackers…that sounded cool. Of course, I have no intent on hunting deer or boar, but still. At the very bottom of the page was the last description that hooked me.
“A Note of Caution: Due to their extreme intelligence, it pays to be as smart as your dog, if not smarter. These dogs are very observant and can quickly learn how to open doors, open gates, climb over or under enclosures, and often use their paws as ‘hands.'”
I scrolled down the page some and I saw something I didn’t see the last time I looked at the site. “Two litters born in January, call for availability.” It almost seemed too good to be true. How is it possible that the one dog I narrowed my search down to (almost haphazardly) also has two litters available within driving distance? I sat there and smiled for probably ten minutes before I called my mom. Two weeks later we took off for Bishopville, South Carolina.
It was about 6 hours from Gainesville to Bishopville. And then another 2 hours of driving around winding farm roads until we finally reached our destination. The asphalt road quickly turned into a long grass driveway.
Just behind a copse of scrub oaks was a small white cottage. An elderly woman was doing laundry out front, pinning blankets and shirts from a clothesline like it was 1970.
Dancing around her was a black and white dog that looked similar to the pictures on the website, except for his long thick coat. He approached the car with a tongue wagging smile as we stepped out into what I was guessing was their front yard.
The woman picked up her laundry basket and walked over to us. “We’re looking for Dr. Anderson,” I said.
“He’s out on the property somewhere,” she said. “But he should be back shortly.”
I looked out at the land in front of me. It was enormous. Hundreds upon hundreds of acres.
He’s out there somewhere?
It was about 2pm. We’d been on the road since 6am, and still had to drive back. So far, things weren’t exactly going as planned.
Before we could say anything an old beat up truck came bouncing through a small opening in the trees. Luck shined down on me again.
A large man with neatly trimmed white beard, a pony tail just past his shoulders, and a huge walking stick in his hand, stepped out. It was Dr. Anderson. To say he was imposing would be an understatement. As he introduced himself his hand wrapped around mine like I was shaking hands with a bear. I looked back at my mom and I could tell she was thinking the same thing.
Bounce, Bounce, Bounce
After initial pleasantries were over we hopped in the truck with Dr. Anderson and he drove us across the property to where he kept the dogs. The ride over the land kind of felt like we were Gummi Bears that just uncorked a bottle of Gummiberry Juice. It was bouncy, to say the least.
I can’t even begin to describe the enclosure the dogs were kept in. For the life of me I wish I had taken more pictures.
It almost looked like someone had built a jail for dogs. Now, when I say this, I say it in the best way possible. Don’t, by any means, get the impression the dogs weren’t treated well. They were treated like little princes and princesses. But, you’ve got to understand we’re in the middle of nowhere South Carolina, with a giant man with a pony tail, bouncing through hundreds of acres of unpaved land to see puppies I know almost nothing about.
So, when I saw the enclosure, it was just a little shocking is all. It was a combination of thick hog wire, hollow tube steel posts, and aluminum siding all nailed together.
But then I saw the dogs for the first time. I’m not talking about the puppies. I’m talking about full grown Carolina Dogs. And my life was forever changed.
Stay tuned for Part 3! But for now here’s a little teaser of the first dogs I saw.
If you enjoyed this be sure to read the full series: