Indian Creek Shelties and Australian Cattle Dogs
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Indian Creek Fuego


  by E. Katie Gammill

I remember when my friend Peg Litter made the breeding combining Ch. Tull-E-Ho Panama Jack and Barwoods Gypsy Fortune Teller. My first words were “I want to buy one of those puppies.” The pedigree contained my favorite bitch of all time, Ch. Tull-E-Ho Miss Fire.

Due to weather conditions, I was unable to make the Thanksgiving trip to see the puppies. It was after New Years when I arrived. Only the  “runt” was left. I picked him up and looked him in the eye. He looked back as if to say “So What?” Needless to say, being a pedigree breeder and seeing his potential, I brought him home. Wanting him to develop as much as possible, Scorch went on a special diet. Scorch ( Indian Creek’s Fuego) became my favorite male of all time.

Scorch at maturity was 14-1/2 inches of sturdy bone, natural ears, and sweet expression. A full bright red sable, he came with all the trimmings. His temperament was delightful. Such a gentleman! He was showy, short backed, and had a wonderful attitude. He would have been finished, but due to circumstances, he was rarely shown. Scorch became my favorite companion at home.

Many people loved Scorch. His pedigree came through and he produced lovely, consistent puppies and Champions. His offspring were named “Indian Creek Some Like It Hot” (Marilyn),  Singe, Poco Bolo de Fuego (Little ball of fire), Indian Creek’s Hot Stuff, the names went on and on.  Scorch sired Ch. Bo-Dandy Pop the Cork and many other point winners.

     Scorch, even as an “old man”, was my barometer for telling me when a bitch was ready to breed. He didn't spin his wheels until the day she would stand for breeding.  Then Scorch would come to me and say, “Hey, it’s time, Mom. Come on!!” Cocky to the end, he still sparked upon occasion. I regret he was not used more, as a second  son Indian Creek's Backdraft is now an American/Canadian Champion.

As Scorch aged, he became more beautiful. One year I didn’t get his undercoat combed out to the skin. He lost his beautiful coat, right to “black skin”, tail and all.  I promised Scorch before he died, he would “bloom again”. I used many products, one being generic Head and Shoulders (contains ammonia, an old breeder’s trick) from the Dollar Store as well as Goop Hand Cream, Omega Vitamins,  kelp, and Vitamin E.  Raw venison and raw vegetables made up his diet. One day, I noticed little dots all over his skin. They were living hair follicles! Who knows what turned his coat around? Once again, the little "fire engine" red dog graced our yard. He again carried a bright red full coat and plume tail. He was a little slower, but still majestic, and, upon occasion, still chased the birds. He enjoyed his prestige for a time, then passed his prime and began to slow down.

He began toddling and limping on occasion. Losing weight, he became so thin, yet he still had a happy smile on his face. Weaker still, when in the yard, a strong wind could blow him down. He would  stumble over a stick or rock. Many times my husband and I went out to help him up when he fell. He remained “head man” on the farm for years and foremost in my heart.

For two years, I carried Scorch to the cool basement in the summer. In the winter, he came in for warmth.  I cooked chicken and rice and teased his appetite. After carpeting the inside of Scorch’s dog box, walls and ceiling, my husband placed two large dog pillows in the bed. A wind breaker front porch with steps completed his palace. What more could an old dog want?

Scorch continued to eat well for a time. Even though he had all his teeth, they were worn to the nub from chewing on venison bones. All systems were working, but we became more concerned when we had to leave, afraid he would get down and something would hurt him.

Indian Creek Fuego - 15 years

Therefore, at age 15, I made the appointment we all dread. I truly am convinced a loving pet owner must often make this call. It is a courtesy at times to our old friends to relieve them of this painful earthly life and allow them peace. I bathed and blew Scorch dry through tears. My hugging and assurance was more for me than him. Seeing my emotional problems, my husband offered to take Scorch to the vet. (His motivation being he knew I would take his cattle dog to the vet when it was  her time) . My vet donated to the University of Illinois Veterinary program in Scorch’s honor.

I placed Scorch’s teddy bear plaid blanket on the truck seat and Scorch went to town in the truck, looking out the window at his beloved farm.

Scorch is buried under the oak tree by the pond with his friends. I miss him still and always will. His line goes on here with his son,  Am/Can. Ch. Indian Creek’s Backdraft (Beau).  I am thrilled to have a “piece of the rock”.

So, old man, rest well. I miss your happy face. You always made me laugh with your antics. The pain today is as fresh as it was when you left. You remain in my heart and mind. I’m sure somewhere you are patiently waiting for my arrival, your bright red coat a living flame against the sunshine.

 Scorch’s daughter Indian Creek Energizer Bunny still lives with us.  At age 13, she has few teeth and hears little, but her bossiness and antics continue to entertain us. She carries her food pan to us when she’s hungry and demands treats. Bunny is accepted alpha bitch by both cattle dogs and shelties here at Indian Creek
(Sadly, Dear Bunny was lost recently at nearly 14. We miss her dreadfully.)

Indian Creek Fuego