Valyrie, a grandaughter of Camp a Whiles' Cutting Buck
It has been too long that I have not posted here and for many reasons that I will not get into now, but I have a mission to carry out and Sherry Bando appointed me to it.
Cutty Dark, a son of Cuttin Buck
In honor of this great woman who inspired me and took time to talk to me and teach me, I am going to start telling it like Sherry did and in her honor, I will pass two Sherry Bando gems to you now:
1. As a puppy when raising them up, keep these dogs out of harms way for about 2 years because they are so high performance breed(and confrontational) that they often do not survive long as a hog dog or cow dog otherwise.
2. Unless we recognize and respect that the dogs are not only smarter than we think, (they are smarter than us! But don't tell anyone I said that! Yes, Miss Sherry.) we will not get 100% performance out of these high performance bred working dogs.
It was Sherry Bando who first encouraged me to write the book on Catahoulas that has yet to be published. In her honor, and to her credit for spending many hours on the phone sharing her wisdom of breeding and properly raising Catahoula pups, I must fulfill her vision of giving the dogs the credit they deserve by telling their story.
If I can call myself a true dog man today, it is in large part due to Sherry Bando being a true dog woman, who recognized a spiritual kinship that I had with these dogs and for being my friend for 20 years.
the theme of the book briefly;
For those who have known these great dogs and why they do what they do as working dogs, we all know that there is no greater love than to lay your life down for your friends.
Below is a letter from my friend Jake to Miss Sherry just a few weeks before she went home to the Lord.
Jake thank you, I could not have said it better.
Being a cowboy and having working dogs has been as big of a part of my life as anything I've ever done.
I've been from coast to coast, as far north as Missouri, and down to south Texas all because I ran dogs. I never really learned a trade except for being a cowboy and a dog man. In all those travels I've met thousands of people but few as special as other dog men.
When I got into the field trial scene everyone stayed at a distance no one really mingled or mixed up with each like they do today. In them days everyone had their own camp and that is where they stayed there wasn't much fellowship or visiting at all.
About a year or so of going to bayings and never really meeting anyone other than who we came with we met you. You were the first person outside of our circle to be our friends. I'll never forget the day we met.
We were in Union Hill, Louisiana you were as charismatic and genuinely as nice a person as we had ever met in that business and you started a friendship that day that you'll have for as long as I walk this earth. You had stories about going to Georgia and competing against all these high powered dogs and winning when you were the only woman there.
I remember everything you talked about in your experiences competing and it fascinated me to know end and I hung on every word. Eventually it lit a fire under me to go to Georgia too and I met some of the best people in the business of whom I'm still friends with today.
To me you were a trend setter in that aspect you didn't care what other folks did or thought you did what you wanted, befriended who you wanted and did what you thought was right and being friends with folks as you competed against them was your style. You weren't into the good ol boy systems you put it all out in the open.
You are also a dog breeder unlike most of the others. (This part is going to step on some toes) I had heard all these tall tales about Catahoula dogs from days past and all these high powered pedigrees but none of those people put their money where their mouth was... YOU DID.
Most folks selling puppy's didn't even compete they sold dogs based on what they did one time long ago.... NOT YOU. You ran your dog at every trial. He was your lead dog everyone knew it and they didn't have to read his papers to learn about him you actually competed with him which no one else really did because they were afraid of losing to non-registered dogs and maybe their puppies wouldn't be as valuable.
Your dogs spoke for themselves by the way they worked not by a sales pitch. I've had two camp-a-while dogs in my time and at their prime they were the best in the business even if it was a short run because they both left this earth too soon. I now have my third Camp-a-While dog and I named her QUEEN in honor of you the First Lady in hog baying. You are by far the most influential woman this sport has ever seen and no one else comes close.
This business is tough and folks don't normally last but a few years but like Donna Gaudet Whipple said you're still here for a reason. You did things right and didn't cross anyone, you were honest to a fault sometimes, but that is what made you, you. I remember sitting in the bleachers at Uncle Earls one year and some guy said something about a group of dog MEN and he included you in that group.
Another lady took offense to his comment and said something to you along the lines of aren't you offended by him calling you a "dog man" you just laughed in her face and said "hell no that's the best complement he could've given me".
You will always be remembered by all the great dog men including this one. You are one of a kind, Me, mom, and dad love you. We pray for your comfort and that you may rest easy. Please call anytime if you feel like talking..... again thanks for being my friend.