The article below belongs to Ed Faron and is from the book "The Complete Game Dog."
Usually when we write a story about a dog, it is a dog that is important to our yard, or a dog that made a big name for itself in some way. The following story is about a bitch we do not even own anymore, and don't have any of her offspring or descendants on the yard. However, a lot of people have asked us what ever happened to her and we thought her story would be an interesting one to tell.
Wildside's Miss Rufus was brought to me by Bobby Baliel shortly after Thanksgiving a few years back. I had traded him a pup off a breeding I had done with Garner's Lever Red for a pup off his Crissy bitch, who had been bred back to her father, Hargroves' Rufus. Rufus was an inbred Midnight Cowboy dog that won six or seven and was an absolute destroyer. He had been bred to Stltner's Laverne (a daughter of Hughes' Gator) to produce Crissy and her littermates. Crissy lost her only match to Payne's Ch. Slinky in one hour and twenty-three minutes and was awarded Gamest in Show. The puppy he brought was a jet black, leggy, funny looking little pup. I named her Miss Rufus. Three days later, I came out to feed her and found her hiding in her barrel, depressed and sluggish. On the way to the vet, she spewed projectile, bloody diarrhea all over the seat and door of the car. The vet said it was Coronavirus, though looking back we believe it was probably Parovirus - it was too intense to be Corona. Either way, Miss Rufus spent nearly a month at the vet's. He could not get the diarrhea to stop. When I finally brought her home, she wasn't much more than a skeleton and everyone said that I should just have her destroyed.
She was hot as a firecracker from a very early age. When she was eight months old, we walked Garner's Ronnie up to her and Miss Rufus hit the chain and grabbed her before Ronnie even had a chance to bite her! She was the first pup I had ever had that did this. She came in heat and we decided to breed her to old Amos Jr. but when we backed her up to him, she went crazy! She managed to spin her head around and locked on my lower leg, and we never did get her bred.
Miss Rufus was also one of the two bitches Animal Control officers threw into a crate together when we were busted, despite being warned not to. Needless to say, they immediately had a full-scale war on their hands!
She made the local newspaper while the dogs were imprisoned at the animal shelter by escaping while her cage was being cleaned and nailing another bitch through the bars of her cage. This fight was probably one of the reasons it was possible to get the dogs released on bond.
After the bust, I turned Miss Rufus over to D.C. He rolled her twice and then matched her at 34 pounds when she was twenty-two months old. She went into a Red Boy bred bitch; this way a very good bitch but miss Rufus destroyed her in fifty-eight minutes and the dog died the next day.
I did not attend the match, being on supervised probation after the bust. Everyone told me afterwards that Miss Rufus was a fantastic bitch; she got on the head and rode it for the first ten minutes or so until she wore the other bitch down and then she went in and worked the chest, legs, brisket and everything. She broke both of the bitch's front legs and even reportedly broke several of her ribs. Willie B. told us that the bitch she beat had been the best Red Boy bitch he had ever seen.
Her second match was at a big convention, the Warpaint Show in Mississippi. It was a big-money match and the opposition was so confident in their bitch that they reportedly bet over five thousand dollars in side bets before the match began. They picked up a dying dog in thirty eight minutes. Miss Rufus took "Best Female In Show" and was awarded a plaque.
Everyone we talked to told us Miss Rufus was an ace. She was due in heat and we decided we wanted to get a litter off her before going for her championship. We bred her to D.C.'s Cotton dog, a son of Ch. Chinaman ROM who had won three and gone to a three hour and forty minute draw with Bluegrass Kennel's Wrangler in his fourth. Cotton was a brutal rear-end dog, he loves to work the groin and he was the dog that killed Lever Red's brother Keeper Red. Cotton was also the only dog who stayed more than fifty five minutes with Wrangler, who won at least seven matches.
Miss Rufus raised six jet black puppies; she was an excellent mother for the first few days but after that she was an idiot! She would come charging out of her house barking at every little noise, scattering puppies everywhere.
Two of the puppies went to D.C. as a payment of the stud fee, we kept two , and one went to Tom Garner. The best looking bitch went to Bangkok, Thailand, and from what we understand, was the first game bred bulldog from the USA to be brought into Thailand.
After she was back in good health, we started talking about bringing her out for her third match. We wanted to condition her ourselves, but decided that the only fair thing to do was to offer her back to D.C., as he had done all the work in schooling her and winning the first two with her.
D.C. hooked her up to go into Norman K. at 34 1/2 pounds. Norman had a bitch that had won four, beating Rebel Kennels, Larry Miller, and D.C., and had killed all of her previous opponents in under an hour. D.C. was convinced Miss Rufus could beat her. Mountain Man advised us against it, he knew about Norman's dog and told us Miss Rufus didn't have a chance, but our attitude was "well, he hasn't seen Miss Rufus" and we gave D.C. the go-ahead.
We also decided that we would go to this one, it would be the first match I'd gone to since the bust. It was supposed to be very private, but of course with something that big, word got around. When we pulled in to Mountain Man's place the evening of the match, there were already about fifty people present, and still more arriving.
Miss Rufus was weighed and washed. She looked good; her coat shone and her muscle tons was good, but she did look a little bloated. When she was faces in her corner waiting for the other dog, Chris noticed she had a thick, greenish discharge coming out of her. We were about to ask D.C. about it but at that point, Norman K's bitch was brought in.
Her name was Bandit, she was a red bitch and the biggest 34 1/2 pounder we have ever seen. Every last ounce of body fat had been taken off this bitch and she looked more like a heavily muscled skeleton than a dog. When we say that bitch, we looked at each other grinning and figured it was going to be a short night. There was no way a dog could be brought down that fine and have and mouth left.
We were in for a surprise! The dogs were released and Miss Rufus went right to the side of the head, like everyone had said she would, and started riding it. She looked tiny next to the other bitch, she wasn't a big dog for her weight and could have easily made 33 1/2 pounds. For about five minutes, she looked great, and then Bandit got to her. She had one of the fastest, hardest mouths we'd ever seen, and she snapped one of Miss Rufus's front legs like a twig.
Miss Rufus, no on three legs, got on her head again and Norman's bitch made a bad turn - she actually appeared, for a moment, to be running from Miss Rufus. We had been told the bitch made bad signs and it was one of the reasons D.C. was so confident of winning; he felt Miss Rufus would frustrate her and hurt her bad enough to stop her. A turn was called and acknowledged by Mountain Man who referred this match. The dogs were handled and taken to their corners.
We heard from different people after the match that the other bitch had quit before, and that her owners would not even breed her because of it, but she was also an absolute killer in the pit.
Our bitch was busted up pretty good already, and on three legs with one broken at the wrist, but she was still on her feet and working the head pretty good, and the other bitch apparently couldn't stand getting bit. The dogs were faced and Bandit was released. She stood for several seconds and then our handler released Miss Rufus. Miss Rufus charged across the pit and Bandit came out to meet hr and started taking her apart again.
D.C. told us that in all her previous fights, that Norman's bitch would hesitate on her scratches, and then pile her opponent up into the corner. He released Miss Rufus to keep her from being hit in the corner and smashed into the wall, as he'd seen Bandit do to the other bitches.
We aren't criticizing D.C. or saying we would not have done exactly what he did ourselves, but the fight was still fairly even at that point and we'll always wonder if Bandit would have stood the line for that first scratch, and we would have won the match.
Miss Rufus spent most of the rest of the fight on her back and Bandit broke her other front leg high up in the shoulder, as well as one of her back legs, in the knee joint. The only leg she didn't break she chewed all to hell. She had literally scalped Miss Rufus, tearing a big chunk of skin off the top of her head alongside one ear.
Miss Rufus scratched with one leg gone, then two legs gone. She did not make any turns. Bandit hesitated on each of her scratches, but not as long as she had on that first scratch. She was way ahead and she knew it. When she came across, Miss Rufus would try to side step her and snag her by the ear, but she way pretty much wrecked.
We didn't pick her up, and we can't really say why. Maybe we were still hoping Bandit would quit on one of her scratches (highly unlikely at this point) or maybe we were just mesmerized by what was going on.
After the half hour mark, our bitch wasn't really trying to fight anymore and Bandit had her whining and signing. At this point, just before her scratch, she looked right up at us as if to say "get me the hell out of her." We knew that there was no way we were going to win this match. When they got a handle, we talked with D.C. in the corner and he agreed to pick her up if she made her scratch.
When he stood her up and faced her, she was limp in his arms. She was not in shock (though she was going into shock), she was just physically trashed. When Mountain Man said "release your dog", he did and she fell over on her side, flopped around a bit like a fish out of water and was counted out. At one point while the count was on, D.C. clapped his hands over her face to try to get her attention and she snapped at his hand.
The match was over, Norman's Bandit was the winner in forty-four minutes. At this point, people came pouring over the pit wall, to congratulate the winners, settle their bets, or whatever. Bandit's handler was cleaning her up in her corner and D.C. just left Miss Rufus where she was laying.
Only about half of the people present took notice to what happened next. We ourselves weren't even watching until we heard someone yell for D.C. to grab his dog. Miss Rufus had apparently used the pit wall to prop herself up and staggered across the pit towards Bandit's corner. She was about halfway there when D.C. grabbed her.
We asked Mountain Man what he thought, after the match, and he told us that many good bitches would have gone over the wall around the ten minute mark against Norman's bitch. He said if we didn't want Miss Rufus, he would take her in a minute.
Tom G. worked on her with us that night and we got her stabilized; there was more of that nasty greenish pus, she clearly had some sort of infection. Saturday morning we managed to get her to lap up some soup and empty out and figured she was vomiting and alarmingly weak. We risked taking her to the vet, making up a story about someone giving us the dog. I'm sure he knew we were lying, but he agreed to meet us at the clinic.
After examining her, he said "Hell, this little dog was deathly ill before she got beat up!" She had a bad uterine infection, so bad that her system was being poisoned by it. Her abdomen was distended because her uterus was swollen and bloated up with gas from the infection. He wanted to spay her but we persuaded him to try to treat the infection without spaying her. He agreed, at least for a few days, as she was so sick at the time it's doubtful she would have survived the surgery, anyway.
She pulled through. Her legs healed better than we thought they would, but she never really looked the same. She'd been a super athletic little dog (although maybe just a bit too much on the fine-boned side) with long, straight front legs. Now she looked like something someone had put together from a kit in a hurry without looking at the instructions. The infection was still there even after a month of medication and repeated trips to the vet to flush her out and infuse antibiotics into the uterus itself. It never really did clear up, and we were skeptical she would ever be able to have puppies again.
Miss Rufus was not the same dog on the day of that match as she had been for the first two matches, and there's no doubt the infection had played a part in what happened. It would be really easy to make excuses and say "if she hadn't been sick, she would have beaten that dog" but the truth is, we don't know if she could have beat that bitch on the best day of her life. We could see how this bitch had killed four dogs before Miss Rufus.
As far as gameness goes, we would have to say Miss Rufus was "pit game" from her showing that day. She did get up and go across after the count was over, and because she was so ill the day of the fight, we gave her the benefit of the doubt.
At the time, we felt she was a very game dog, but though we still would not call her a cur. We've seen too many dogs since then that would have taken what she did without a whimper, thinking they were winning right until the end - that's what true gameness is all about. Of course, we've also seen plenty that, as Mountain Man said "would have gone over the wall after ten minutes".
The fact is that Miss Rufus was ruined mentally as well as physically in that match and she was never really the same dog after she recovered. We wound up trading her to Mountain Man a few months later, and she was rolled again against a good bitch. When that bitch hit Miss Rufus, it looked like someone knocking over bowling pins. She re-broke her shoulder almost immediately and Miss Rufus was off her feet from the start and never got back up. They broke it up fast and Miss Rufus was struggling in Mountain Man's arms trying to get back to the other dog, but she really didn't even look like the same dog we'd seen go before that third match.
Mountain Man eventually sold Miss Rufus to a guy up north, and to the best of our knowledge, she is well alive and well - and has produced several litters among which were at least one match winner as well as some good prospects. Though we don't feel shy had any place on our yard, she is a well-bred bitch that did show to be a fairly good dog, and she should be able to produce some good ones.