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Barry Schrader


I have been writing a column for the Chronicle most of the time since December 2007, with two breaks, one in 2016 and the other in 2017 when my wife Kay suffered a stroke. They are all archived here.


If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates to catch up.

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By Barry Schrader Senior Columnist....................................Jan 10, 2020

Last week I mentioned rats in our corn crib, but did not explain that we had a mixed breed terrier named Lucky that loved to shake those critters once he got a hold of one.

He was the first dog I really remember from my early childhood, as my first one was given to me at age 3, when we lived on a dairy farm south of Waterman. Our landlord, Chicago millionaire Harry Kirk, surprised my family with it. That dog was a purebred Irish Setter with papers nicknamed Bynx. But he had a bad habit of chasing cars and trucks, and one winter’s day chased the milk truck on our icy road and slipped under the tires.

Then the terrier named Lucky was my dog from age 4 to 8 when we lived on a Babson farm east of town. He loved to chase rabbits, hunt rats and annoy our farm cats. But lucky in life he was not, as he got too close to a sickle mower cutting weeds along the road and lost a hind leg. My father quickly wrapped the leg and rushed him to a vet. Lucky survived and actually learned how to run again.

I forget what happened to him, but we moved into Waterman when I was to start third grade and my folks bought me another dog, a Toy Terrier. I named him Inky since he was all black. Inky was still with us when we built a home on the Baseline Road near Genoa. We spent countless hours together exploring the banks along the Kishwaukee River for nine years. He developed a cancerous tumor and my dad took him to the veterinarian on our road, Doc Corson, and he had to be put down. We shed tears over losing that pet.

Dogs owned over the years by the columnist include from left, Bynx the Irish Setter shown with two-year-old Barry, Lucky the Terrier posing as a sled dog for Barry (the gun was a wooden toy) two years later, Inky the Toy Terrier held by Barry at age 11, and one of their Beagles Cujo being cuddled by son Darrin. (Photos from the Schrader family album)
Then I went off to NIU and my parents didn’t have a dog after that. Sometime after Kay and I were married we inherited a pudgy old Beagle named Patches from Fred Dickey, who had to leave the dog behind when his family moved to California. Three years later we decided to move back out west so had to find him a good home. My father-in-law Wayne Wirsing took Patches to the family farm on Lukens Road where he was well cared for his remaining years.

While out in California we owned two more beagles, the second one was named Cujo as a joke by our son Darrin, the same name as the killer St. Bernard from a movie. She disliked anyone in uniform and would lunge at the screen door when the mailman came up the walk. One day the door flew open and the mailman was poised with pepper spay until I grabbed Cujo by the collar.

Our sons also adored that dog as they grew up with him. But at the age of 10 she contracted some disease that paralyzed her hind legs and we had her put to sleep. Our sons lived out of state at the time so I was the one who had to to take her to the Alameda County animal shelter at Santa Rita. I enlisted the help of a family friend Jim Scullion to go with me. I paid the fee but declined to wait until Cujo was put down. When I got home and saw her bowl and collar I broke down and cried. But having a dog or other pet during childhood or as a family is one of the most rewarding things you can experience.

I hope this generates some fond memories of your favorite pets, whether they were dogs, cats, horses, or other animals.

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Barry Schrader
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115