Truffle was born in Clark Fork, Idaho sometime in 1998 or 1999. One day, while his previous owners were chopping a grand fir, Truffle chewed through his leash and followed his nose into the woods. Truffle spent forty days and forty nights in the wilderness before jumping into the front seat of a truck driven by Nancy. Nancy took him to J.C. Penney’s, where she works as a salesclerk. His current owner’s mom had the feeling to stop by and say “hi” to Nancy, and Truffle’s new grandma brought him home in her green Subaru. She found the original owners, who did not want Truffle back; they said, “he was too much work.” Truffle’s second family still calls him a found hound.
Because of Truffle’s forty days and forty nights in the wilderness, he likes to eat a lot of different things. He eats bark, beetles, and bees. He likes ants and gophers. He eats huckleberries, raspberries, and strawberries from the bush, and he balances on his back paws to pick plums from branches. He prefers cucumbers, apples, and pears that are peeled. He once ate a hundred tadpoles at Moose Lake.
Truffle’s leash and collar are always green-colored. Even if he had attended obedience courses, he would not have learned how to overrule his nose. If he gets a scent, he trolls the ground and is off, five miles away, before realizing how far his legs have taken him. When he is on the chase, he emits a scent, too, a combination smell of wet dog fur and fresh moose scat.
Truffle has seen lots of things on a road trip across America: a miniature Statue of Liberty in Troy, Kansas; a big ball of twine in Lucas, Kansas; and Paul Bunyan with his blue ox Babe in Bemidji, Minnesota. He also saw Paul Bunyan in Maine and Illinois. His mistress wrote a whole book about their travels together: Travels with Truffle: A Canine Tour of America.
The Kittle boys recognized that Truffle is a Plott hound, a breed known for their skill as bear, boar, and cougar hunters. The family von Plott in North Carolina originally bred these dogs, and the Plott hound is the North Carolina state dog. Truffle is proud of his lineage, but he resents that people think his mistress made up the breed “Plott” just because she is a writer.
If a dog does not like him, Truffle keeps wagging. With Bryce, an Elkhound, it took six months of daily wags and brief licks until she licked him back. With his friend Keisha, a yellow Labrador, it took only one wag and one lick. Truffle has an unfailingly positive outlook combined with gracious poise. Truffle has never had a girlfriend because he is “fixed,” but he misses his friends: Max (RIP); Bryce (RIP); Keisha (RIP); and Daisy (RIP). Daisy was supposed to outlive Truffle as his replacement dog, but she charged a moose and was kicked in the head. Daisy was buried right where she died in the Fish Glade by Mosquito Creek.
These days Truffle prefers his perch on the northeast corner of the new velvet brown-colored couch. He is often called the German professor because of the graying fur around his snout. He likes to stretch his neck back and rest the top of his head on the back of the couch as if he is preparing a treatise on existentialism. He will howl, a warble, if prompted. He likes to cuddle in the morning. He often squeezes himself into a tight ball, so he can fit on a human lap.
[Note: You can read the postcard life story of Renée E. D’Aoust here.]