When I was a child in the 1950s, I lived with my grandfather on his farm in rural Arkansas. We came from a long line of ethnic German farmers, spoke German at home, and lived in relative seclusion.

There was a large dog, a German Shepherd mix I think, at our farm. He was never really ours in the sense of being our pet. My grandfather said he had been at the farm for several generations, apparently never dying. The dog would wander freely around the countryside, then sleep on or under our porch at night. It would never come into our house even in the winter, but it would bring us gifts. A few times a year, the dog brought us the chewed up remains of strange creatures. Typically there were only the bones and small bits of flesh left, but we could tell that they were not from ordinary animals. Examples include the head of a mouse with antlers, a reptile with a serpentine body and a crocodilian head, the head of a small unicorn, the skeleton of some small six-legged vertebrate. Most of the tributes were from small prey, though the dog did once bring us the fully-fleshed reptilian arm of some larger creature, still clutching a small sword of some kind.

Sometimes we would bring the dog with us on trips to other rural areas, and on those trips he would often wander off and bring back several such specimens, never killing and eating them in our sight. My grandfather kept these fossils in jars and boxes, along with the others which had been accumulated over generations. We never saw any such creatures alive.

Being but a simple farmer who only knew some English words, my grandfather never thought to have the remains examined by a naturalist. I often wish he had kept them in the cellar rather than the attic so that they would not have been swept away by the tornado that destroyed our farm and forced us to move to the city.

A couple years before the twister, we found the dog lying dead in our vegetable garden. The dog had several swollen bites, and in its jaws was a small winged creature with scales and yellow spikes, severely mangled. We buried the dog near the garden, and my grandfather preserved the winged creature in a pickling jar, with the rest of the collection.

Written by HopelessNightOwl
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