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The Leanin' Dog Look-Alike Contest:



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Prize for the Best Leanin' Dog Look-alike Entry is a Leanin' Dog T-shirt!

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E-mail a photo of your Leanin' Dog look-alike pet, your T-shirt size (including whether it is a YOUTH or ADULT size, your e-mail address AND your home mailing address to


One entry per family. Any species is eligible as long as you think they look like the Leanin' Dog. The first winner will be announced on the web site Nov. 30, second winner will be announced Jan. 30, then March 30, May 30, and the final winner will be announced on July 30. Allow three weeks after announcement on the website for prize to arrive.

Dessa Dean's Mama's Recipes

"Daddy," I said first thing this morning. "Daddy, this is the last day of the month of March."

He grunted and flipped the thick strips of bacon in the skillet.

Leanin' Dog wagged her tail and went and stood close by his feet for she had learned that sometimes when Daddy turned the bacon a spatter of grease would hit his hand, and that was likely to make him holler and jump, and that, like as not, would cause a piece of bacon to fly out the pan and land on the floor where she could pounce on it.

"You know what the last day of March means, Daddy?"

"How is it, Dessa Dean, that you keep such straight track of the days?"

"I reckon because it's important. But, I was saying, it's the final day of March, and that means the same thing every year, at least when the weather's warmed up like it has this time around."

He grunted again, and Leanin' Dog looked up at him with a hopeful gleam in her eye.

"Today is the day to gather the ingredients for our spring tonic," I said.

This time it was a groan that came from Daddy. Right after that he rearranged the bacon with a strong hand and there came a hiss of grease, then a holler and jump from him, and sure enough, Leanin' Dog nabbed a strip of bacon off the floor. "Dessa Dean, that's one of your mama's traditions it won't do nobody no harm to give up."

"I reckon your liver and your heart be will glad for it," I said. "Else Mama wouldn't have been so insistent on it every year. Remember, Daddy? Remember what Mama would say: 'Things take to settling in our bodies over the long winter, John. Just like dust balls under the bed. Time for spring-cleanin' inside and out.' That's what she always said. I don't reckon she'd have said it if it weren't true. Do you?"

Daddy heaved out a sigh. "I reckon not, Dessa Dean."

I smiled a quiet smile at the Leanin' Dog. "I believe the dog and I will venture out after breakfast to hunt greens and roots then."

"Hmph," was all he answered.

Daddy swallowed down his food, gathered up his trapping gear, gave me a peck on the forehead, patted Leanin' Dog on her head, said 'hmph' once more and set out for his day on the mountain. I hurried on through breakfast and soaping the dishes. Leanin' Dog and I would soon be out on our first big adventure since the ol' cinnamon bear had come acallin' at Christmastime...and I could hardly wait.