The life and times of a cat and a Catahoula cur

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Those who have never heard of a Catahoula cur are in a majority.

John Dick Barr III was in the majority when he stopped for a puppy that stood its ground when the mama dog and the other pups ran helter-skelter.

Barr has a heart for homeless animals and his heart won out on that dusty, country road that day. Barr also has a knack for finding forever homes for homeless animals – usually the Banks home of his parents, John Dick Barr Jr. and his wife Jean.

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Jean Barr said it wasn’t hard to fall in love with the black puppy with bright blue eyes and a bushy tail that her son had befriended. “We thought the puppy was probably a German shepherd mix but, the vet said it was a Catahoula cur,” Barr said. “The puppy had blue eyes and that is a trait of Catahoula curs. The Native Americans bred Catahoula curs for cattle dogs.”

But the breed of the dog didn’t matter to the Barrs. The puppy needed a home and Jean and Dick gave it one.

If the tiny puppy had been red and black instead of white and black, it could easily been mistaken for a ladybug tumbling in the grass. So, Lady Bug was its given name.

Lady Bug wagged its way into the Barrs’ hearts and, before long, Lady Bug was a Barr.

For three years, Lady Bug had the run of the house. Then one day, John Dick III was working in the hay field and found an abandoned kitten in a ditch.

“When John Dick brought the kitten to us, it was so weak that it couldn’t stand,” Jean Barr said. “I fed it with a medicine dropper and slowly it got better. It finally got strong enough to stand.

“We didn’t know what to do with the kitten because it was still so weak. But, we had a bathroom with a shower stall and made it into a little house for the kitten.”

The Barrs named the kitten Jadee Baby. Jadee, after the man who rescued it and, Baby, because it was such a tiny baby.

Jadee Baby had come into Lady Bug’s home, was getting all the attention and been given a room of its own. The Barrs didn’t know how a Catahoula cur would accept playing second fiddle to a cat – a baby cat. But …

“Lady Bug would stretch out on the floor outside the ‘shower house’ and watch Jadee Baby through the glass shower door,” Barr said. “We didn’t know what Lady Bug would do when Jadee Baby got strong enough to leave the shower house.”

But, when that time came, Lady Bug assumed the role of watchdog and, from that day forward, Lady Bug and Jadee Baby were the best of friends. Where there was one, there was the other.

For more than a year, Lady Bug and Jadee Baby were almost inseparable – the best dog and cat friends, ever. Then, Lady Bug got sick. Then Lady Bug died.

Lady Bug was buried near the pump house in the Barrs’ back yard. Jean Barr planted marigolds on Lady Bug’s grave.

“Jadee was a tiny bundle of yellow when she came and I thought yellow marigolds were the perfect flower for Lady Bug’s grave,” Barr said. “I guess Jadee Baby thought so, too. The other day we came home and found Jadee Baby lying so still and quiet on Lady Bug’s grave. I believe Jadee Baby was missing Lady Bug and found comfort being near her. Now, how Jadee knew that Lady Bug was buried there, I don’t know but that was one of the sweetest things I’d ever seen. Friends forever – a cat and a Catahoula cur.“