We have a dog in our house. As a matter of fact, we've had a dog in our house for most of the 40 years of our marriage.

You might say my wife, Kathy, and her miniature schnauzer came as a package deal when we were married in 1979. We didn't take "Brandy" on our honeymoon, but she was waiting for us when we returned.

Brandy was with us for about 15 years. After Brandy, we had a little male schnauzer named Reebok.

I have few fond memories of Reebok. If he managed to get outside, he refused to come back. He was the most defiant dog I have ever known. He was not a year old when he met his maker in the middle of Walnut Grove Road.

Our next miniature schnauzer came to us around Christmas time. We named her Jingle Bells. We called her Bell.

We usually secured Bell with a light chain when we let her go outside. But sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, Bell slipped outside and ran away. And when she ran away, she ran fast, and she ran until she ran out of gas.

I recall times when I, sometimes bare of foot, chased that dog through soggy pastures in blinding rain storms. And I, as I ran, I muttered words under my breath unbefitting a Sunday-school teacher. But, all in all, she was a good dog.

I saw her take her last breath as she lay at the foot of our bed one winter's evening. She lived a good, full life.

Now, we have miniature schnauzer No. 4. Her name is Chancey. When Chancey manages to slip outside, she runs away just like Bell.

Now that we live in town, that presents a different set of challenges. You never know where she will go. It is always high drama until we manage to find her.

Chancey hates other animals. She hates cats. She hates squirrels. She hates deer. And she hates groundhogs. She really hates groundhogs.

When she sees a groundhog through the glass doors in our bedroom, she just goes nuts. And peace and quiet does not return to our house until someone closes the curtains.

My grandfather, Herod Brim, once owned a groundhog-hating dog. His name was Skip. We called him Ole Skip.

Ole Skip was a groundhog assassin. He was a big dog -- part Collie -- that wore a rich, cream-colored coat. His head bore his Collie linage as it was a beautiful burnt orange.

Many a time, I observed Old Skip sitting patiently on a hillside in the late afternoon waiting for a groundhog to return to its den. When he attacked, the encounter was nothing short of spectacular.

A frenzied skirmish (which only lasted a few seconds) ended when Ole Skip had the groundhog firmly in his jaws. Then, Ole Skip would lean back on his hocks and go into a dizzying spin as he shook his prey with a violence I have seldom observed. It was all over in a matter of a few more seconds.

After Ole Skip caught his breath, he would take his prize and head back to the house. I promise you, Ole Skip could hold a groundhog in his mouth and smile all at the same time.

My grandfather would carefully skin the groundhog, and Old Skip would dine on tender groundhog in the days ahead. During the spring and early summer Ole Skip would take a dozen or so groundhogs.

But things changed along about mid-July. That's when my grandfather took the sheep shears and gave Ole Skip his summer haircut. That stopped the groundhog hunting. I reckon the groundhogs' sharp teeth and razor-sharp claws were too much for Ole Skip without his protective hair coat.

Now, I know our miniature schnauzer, if she could escape the confines of our house, is never going to catch a squirrel or a cat or a deer. But I occasionally wonder what would happen if she could get at one of those groundhogs.

In my mind's eye, with a hint of sadistic amusement, I sometimes picture the scene of silvery-grey and groundhog-brown caught up in frenzied tussle. I'll bet it wouldn't last very long.

I've always heard a dog will chase a car until it catches one.

Copyright 2019 by Jack McCall