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TUFFY
The East Texas Chow
The "Junk Yard Dog" as Teddy-Bear


by John Troesser
Tuffy the East Texas Chow
Tuffy on the job.
TE Photo

You haven't been run over until you've been run over in San Augustine County. Ask Tuffy. He's been run over three times. Always on Highway 103 and always in front of Husband's Auto Sales Service and Salvage. That's where he lives and has for about 11 years.

Tuffy greeted us when we stepped out of our car to photograph the raised Cavalier. Sort of. He's a little tired of barking these days, so he sneezed in our direction. He was looking right at us, although we were about 20 feet to his right.

Tuffy's sight isn't what it was when he applied for the job. Neither is his hearing. His fur resembles Houston Zoo animals that molt in the summer or stuffed animals that have been rained on and sun-dried. Mr. T. L. Husband thought he would have to have Tuffy anesthetized after his last misadventure. He found Tuffy in a crumpled heap in the weeds on the side of the road. As he lifted him, Tuffy snarled and snapped and came back to life. He slunk away for a few days, perhaps to the trunk of a Toyota. Three days later he limped across the yard and punched his timecard.

Tuffy was originally a Cinnamon Chow. He still is, although it would be hard to identify him on a dog chart. Frankly, he's not very scary, but he's certainly prevented more than a few burglaries and thwarted hundreds of heists. Tuffy's been coaching his understudy, a Terrier whose name escapes us.

Car on pole
An East Texas Institution
TE Photo
A Mother with Five Husbands

Mr. Husband gave us his and Tuffy's story as he sat at his desk, surrounded by 10,000 parts (everyone of them guarded by Tuffy). Mr. Husband told us his name had been Husbands when his Grandfather had been using it, but he wrote large and the boxes on the Army forms were just one letter too small when he enlisted in WWI.

Husband can trace his lineage back to England via Tennessee, but he usually repairs and sells cars. He's certainly heard all the jokes about his name.

His favorite was when he was a boy; he would tell his teachers that his mother had five Husbands (he, his father and three brothers).
Since he's a husband named Husband, we told him of a Sheriff named Sheriff and he said that a neighbor of his was a carpenter named Carpenter. He also has neighbors named Fox, Coon and Crow. We assume he was speaking of humans.

We attempted to shake hands with Mr. Husband, as we got back in our car, but his hands were coated in what appeared to be a vintage Havoline, so he offered his forearm. We shook his forearm, but without any fast moves, after all, Tuffy was right there (looking about 20 feet to his left).

If you're on Highway 103 between Lufkin and San Augustine, look for the Celestial Chevrolet and please look out for Tuffy.


August, 2000
Copyright John Troesser



Readers' Comments:
Great story. I just loved the photograph! Boy, it wouldn't take much for me to drive down and dognap him. My type o' guy. Thanks a million. I appreciate your hanging in with a true shaggy dog story. - Maggie

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