Southern Life

Brack dogs live long lives. Our family has had only five dogs over much of the 53 years my wife and I have been married.

Dog One was from Bad Hersfeld, Germany, a purebred wire-haired terrier. We ventured to a straw-thatched house to buy him. Lean, mostly-white with some tan, we named him George, and he came to the USA to live with us, first for a year in Iowa and then in South Georgia.

George Brack
George Brack

When he finally died at age seven, in 1966, we sorely missed his playful manner and easy way with our young children. His long, almost straight legs, alert eyes, and his chipper tail, made him a beautiful, photogenic wire-haired.

Clifford Brack
Clifford Brack

The next dog lived with us mainly in his puppyhood, and we never much considered him part of our family. He was a cocker spaniel, we named Clifford. He was so loggerheaded (could say dumb), when friends moving to Atlanta needed a dog, off he went.

Dog Three we named Clifford George (for the previous dogs), and called him by his initials, C.G., and Seegul. He was from Jacksonville, Fla. and we met his mother, a 13-inch beagle. But there was nothing 13 inches about C.G. Even his tail was 15 inches. Most beagles weigh in about 20 pounds, while C.G. was a full 50 pounds. His father was no regular beagle. C.G. looked like a beagle, sounded like a beagle and was clocked at chasing four-cylinder autos at 35 mph. He also loved to run rabbits in the swamp. He was so gentle, with no nervous bone in his body.

C.G. Brack
C.G. Brack

He lived with us for 17 years, about 10 years in Gwinnett, dying on Oct. 20, 1984. The day he died, slowed with age, he came to me in a hammock in the back yard in Norcross, and slowly climbed in with me. We lay there together for perhaps an hour. A couple of hours later, an across-the-street neighbor called: C.G. had strolled to her lawn, laid down and died peacefully. We still miss him so much.

Reilly Brack
Reilly Brack

Dog Four resulted in a piece of advice: never get a dog from a veterinarian. The late Dr. Jack Wall gave us Reilly, a tan feist who was about 15 pounds. But for the first few years of his life, it was as if Jack had trained Reilly to return frequently to the vet clinic. He was a cash machine for Jack. Reilly happily wandered our neighborhood, most amicable, and was with us for 18 years. Slowed in years, barely able to get around, one morning in 2003 about 2 a.m., I was awakened….as his breathing stopped, dead near our bed.

Hercules "Herky" Brack
Hercules "Herky" Brack

Three years later we got our present dog, which some say is a Border terrier. His back half is Jack Russell, but the front half is different. All we know is that he came from the White County shelter. He weighed 12 pounds when we got him at about eight months, but he’s up to 20 pounds now five years later. We named him Hercules. He’s a happy, friendly dog, much calmer than most terriers. But he guards his territory loudly. We’re pleased to have him, but he can get exasperating. Saturday, he enjoyed rolling his white body in fresh asphalt!

Ours has always been a dog family. These dogs have been wonderful companions and friends. We had cats too. Had. Enough said.

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Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack

Elliott Brack is a native Georgian and veteran newspaperman. He published the weekly Wayne County Press for 12 years; was for 13 years the vice president and general manager of Gwinnett Daily News, and for 13 years was associate publisher of the Gwinnett section of The Atlanta Journal and Constitution. He now publishes, in retirement, Web sites on Gwinnett County, http://www.gwinnettforum.com, and Georgia news, http://www.georgiaclips.com.