by Erin K. | | 6 Comments | Tags:

Welcome to Week 2 of the Online Book Club discussion of Old Yeller!

The Online Book Club, in case you’re joining us for the first time, is an online book discussion that takes place every month. This month, we’re reading and watching Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. Each Monday of the month, I’ll write a new blog post talking about different parts of the book, and you can leave your thoughts in the comments. Feel free to comment along even if you haven’t read as far as I have, or if you’ve just watched the movie!

I have to confess that I am having a really hard time getting through this book because I can’t stop thinking about my own dog as I read. This is Maeby (named after the character, Maeby, from the television show, Arrested Development.)

Maeby the dog

Maeby is an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix, so she has a naturally docked tail. When I read descriptions of Old Yeller and how he wiggles his stump tail, I immediately think of my Maeby. I don’t like imagining her fighting a bear!

The thing that struck me most as I was reading these first five chapters was how different Old Yeller’s life was from Maeby’s life. Maeby definitely lives a life of leisure—she wakes up, plays around the house, plays at the park across the street, and takes several naps. But Old Yeller lives a life of adventure. He protects the family from charging bulls, and he fights off a mama bear.

Old Yeller is expected to pull his weight around the farm and has to prove himself to be useful before Travis will accept him. That is definitely not the mindset that my husband and I had when choosing our dog!

So, what do you think of the book so far? Do any of you have pets that keep coming to mind as you read about Old Yeller? Does your pet’s life look anything like Old Yeller’s life?

I hope you’ll leave a comment below. Let me know what you think, especially if you’re watching the movie as well as reading the book. See you next week!


6 Responses to “Old Yeller: Week 2”

  1. Carrol

    I decided to read this book even though I know my heart will be torn into pieces. Already I am experiencing a variety of emotions.

    I have been reminded of my own dogs throughout my life. I am reminded of their loyalty and protection during some scary situations. Fortunately, none of those were as scary as facing down a bear or another deadly creature.

    I am sorry Old Yeller had to prove himself before Travis would accept him. Little Arliss knew he was going to be a good dog right from the beginning. Leave it to a small child to know the truth!

    Thanks for sharing about your own dog!

    • Erin K.

      I’m glad to hear from you, Carrol! Thanks for leaving your thoughts about your own dogs–I’m glad none of them have had to protect you in the way that Old Yeller protected his family.

      Isn’t it funny that Arliss could sense that Old Yeller was worth keeping around? I wonder if he would have felt that way about any dog or if he felt a special connection to Old Yeller.

      Thanks again for leaving a comment! I look forward to hearing from you next week!

  2. Jane Engle

    Having seen the movie when it first came out and many times since, I was interested in reading the book upon which it was based. Knowing that the dog used in the film was a yellow labrador and mastiff mix, I was reminded of a neighbor’s dog that was a yellow lab and chow mix. She was very strong for her size and proved it by breaking the corner portion of the house and living room window one day when she was locked inside and wanted out.

    While reading about Old Yeller stealing meat and sucking eggs, I also thought about the only dog I ever had. She was a stray mutt that came to my grandparents’ farm. My grandmother did not like her because she killed their chickens. As a result, she became my pet.

    • Erin K.

      Wow–I can’t imagine if my dog broke through the house in an effort to get out! I don’t know if I would be able to forgive her for doing something like that!

      How lucky for you that your grandmother let you have the stray dog! What did you name the dog? Was it as loyal of a friend as Old Yeller?

      Thanks for commenting–and, I hope you’re enjoying the book!

      • Jane Engle

        Thanks for acknowledging my post. My dog was named Trixie after a character on the old Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooner’s show. Since I was only three when I got her, it is hard to know whether it was me or someone else who gave her that name. During the time I had her, she was my playmate, very protective of me and made sure the neighbors’ and others’ dogs were chased out of the yard. Due to the house we lived in being sold and us having to move to an apartment in Xenia, I could no longer have a pet and had to give her up. Since my parents’ could not find anyone to take her, they had to take her to the pound. My mother said it was one of the hardest things she ever had to do which reminds me of what Mrs. Coates must have felt about Travis’ situation when Old Yeller’s eventual fate was known.

        • Erin K.

          Wow–thanks for sharing, Jane! Trixie seems like she was a really loyal friend. I’m sorry you and your family had to give her up!

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