Walking in the neighborhood, I noticed a smiling young Asian woman sitting on the steps of an apartment building with a whimpering, excited dog by her side. With the tricolor, spotted coat, white, black, and tan, I recognized the breed. "Is that a Mountain Feist?" I asked, as the dog ran toward me, wagging its tail, and then climbing up my legs. Giggling, not understanding, the woman replied, "Angel." I nodded. "So the dog's name is Angel?" I squatted and petted Angel on the head, letting her gnaw on my hand while she danced around. "What kind of dog is she?" I asked once again. "Um...maybe a mixers breed the vet...um...say." Seeing the squirrel playing in the tree on the patio of the apartment building, Angel began barking and pawing at the gate. I pointed toward Angel, "If I needed any more proof, I just got it. Angel is a Mountain Feist, also known as a Squirrel Dog." Laughing, the sweet girl, of Korean origins I'd say if I were a betting man, got up and pushed the gate open, letting Angel seek her fortune. "Angel part squirrel. I think so, too."
I walked down the street chuckling. Here I am on the other side of the country, and I found a Mountain Feist. Nobody in the eastern part of the U.S. where they are prominent knows the breed, so I don't know why I'd expect anyone in L.A. to do so. The only reason I recognize them is that Pop used to label any dog that looked like a mixed breed as an "ole feist dog." I didn't realize they were considered a pure breed of dog until I did some research on them about 10 years ago. I think many people in the South who have a Mountain Feist mistakenly think they have a Jack Russell or a Rat Terrier.
It doesn't matter to me whether a dog has a pedigree or not, but I am inclined to want to work to boost the reputation of the Mountain Feist. Maybe I should call my relatives back east and have one shipped to Paris Hilton. The thought of the starlet with one of the hyperactive but sweet animals makes me a bit apprehensive, though. Can you imagine what the Mountain Feist would do to Paris's miniature Chihuahuas that are dead ringers for floppy-eared squirrels?
On some days I am like Valentine Michael, the character in the novel, "Stranger in a Strange Land." However, I am glad that I don't have to feel that way for too long. I always seem to find a familiar creature, a Mountain Feist, an Angel, if I stay open.