Sherlock Hound

Apr 18, 2014
Originally published on April 25, 2014 6:28 pm
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Next, SNAP JUDGMENT's Stephanie Foo drops us into another locale all together. Louisiana. Stephanie Foo, take it away.

STEPHANIE FOO, BYLINE: So a couple of months ago I found myself deep in the Bayou of Louisiana where the houses are on stilts and the gas stations have these big signs advertising fresh shrimp. And it was there I met Kirby Verret.

KIRBY VERRET: OK, my name is Kirby Verret.

FOO: I met Kirby in his church 'cause he's a Methodist preacher. He's also a Houma Indian. And he comes from legit Bayou stock, people like his grandpa, Matile (ph).

VERRET: Grandfather Matile Verret. He was very much of a hermit in a sense. You couldn't get to his camp by car, you had to come there by boat. This little bitty camp, I mean, it might have been 10 feet by 12 feet. He was known for living by himself with his 17 dogs.

FOO: Whoa.

VERRET: Yeah, he loved dogs.

FOO: Each of those dogs had a purpose to help him hunt. He had spotters, retrievers - living that far out in the Bayou, Matile wasn't going to the Piggly Wiggly to get eggs.

VERRET: He was just one of those men that loved living off the land and the water and providing for himself. But unfortunately, the game warden always thought Matile was poaching deer.

FOO: And technically Matile was doing that. But...

VERRET: I don't know why you call it poaching if you're killing it for food? But still it was considered illegal. And so this game warden had made up his mind that he was going to catch Matile with a deer.

FOO: Fortunately, grandpa Matile had a secret weapon. A dog named Brown.

VERRET: Brown, a black and white hound. Brown's main job was to listen for the game warden. He had the skills of hearing when the game warden would launch his boat about a half a mile down intercoastal. The moment that boat would hit the water and the game warden would start that motor, Brown would give a little - a warning woof letting them know that company's coming. And so grandpa would start heating up the water, put on some coffee.

FOO: Hide any pelts he might have, look casual.

VERRET: And by the time the game warden would pull up to my grandfather's dock, coffee was just being made.

FOO: And so the game warden would eye Matile suspiciously, but he wouldn't ever find any deer. All thanks to Brown the dog.

VERRET: Brown became my grandfather's favorite companion. My grandfather would go so far as to even have a special pair of sunglasses he had for him - state trooper glasses, big aviator glasses. Had a white shirt. He had only the front part he'd put on him with a tie.

FOO: He even folded a brown paper bag and made a round hat for Brown. And grandfather Matile dressed an awful lot like Brown himself.

VERRET: When he put on a hat just like the dog wore, but he didn't have two pair of sunglasses. So they couldn't dress alike, you might say.

FOO: So imagine this big dog fully dressed in hat, glasses, shirt and tie sitting at the kitchen table for meals.

VERRET: Well, he would actually a climb on a chair and he had a little white cup with a green ring around it and he knew his cup. It was unbelievable to see how that dog would sit in that chair. I mean, he was so honored. I mean, he just sat there so respectable. He had that posture that just made you feel like, golly, this dog really - he may not be a human being, but boy he's sure pretty close to it.

FOO: So one day Brown barks a warning and sure enough, the game warden floats up on his boat. But this time, he decides, hey, I'm actually going to come in and have some of that coffee, look around. So he steps out of his boat and...

VERRET: All the dogs would scatter except for Brown. Brown would stand there like the guard - walk with him all the way to the camp. The game warden would say, what's wrong with Brown? Say, oh, don't worry about Brown. He's just - that's the way he is.

FOO: The game warden took a seat at the tiny kitchen table and looked uneasily at Brown whose tie and paper bag hat were disconcerting to say the least.

VERRET: Brown sit right next to him and staring him right in the face, you know, not taking his eye off of him. Game warden just kind of, you know, it makes you feel uncomfortable when a big dog like that is just staring at you and giving you one of those low growls. Grandpa got all the coffee ready and puts a cup in front of the game warden, puts a cup in front of himself. And he reaches over and pours the coffee in cup and, boy, the game warden sitting there just watching the dog. When game warden picks up that cup, the dog goes haywire. I mean, the dog jumps up and starts barking crazy, jumping at him, you know, with that big hound voice. The game warden's just - you know, he's cornered.

FOO: Brown had the warden pinned against the wall, his teeth bared at his neck. And the warden's screams...

VERRET: Matile, Matile, what's wrong with Brown?

FOO: And Matile says, oh, you're sitting in his chair drinking out of his cup.

VERRET: Grandpa Matile had given the warden Brown's cup and Brown didn't appreciate it.

VERRET: The game warden didn't know that the dog love coffee. The dog knew his coffee and he knew his cup. And this game warden drinking out of it. I mean, he - it just got him very upset.

FOO: Well, legend has it the game warden didn't come back after that. He didn't really know what all was happening out there with Matile and that dressed up dog, but deer be damned, he didn't care to find out.

VERRET: That is a true Bayou story.


POKEY LAFARGE AND THE SOUTH CITY THREE: (Singing) I try and talk to my friends but I might as well be talking to a dog. Try and talk to my friends, people, but I might as well be talking to a dog. I'll tell you why, if you don't don't they'll be sippin' on your coffee pot.

WASHINGTON: Really Stephanie Foo? Really? The dog dressed like a person? He didn't like the officer drinking out of his cup? All right, well, please note that neither SNAP JUDGMENT industries NPR, nor the Queen of Norway will vouch for the veracity of this piece. But we still thank Kirby Verret for sharing his story.

And I got to say, that song with the dog drinking coffee - well played, Stephanie Foo, well played. You've made some time for yourself, ditched the knuckleheads and arrived at the every end of the SNAP JUDGMENT episode. But don't be sad, don't be blue, full episodes, pictures, movies, stuff - available right now at Twitter - Itunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, you understand what I'm saying here? And how is it you are not yet my friend on the Facebook? Now just because the Corporation for Public Broadcasting has those nice long hallways doesn't mean you can set up bowling pins and a leader board in front of the director's office - even if you did happen to bowl a perfect 200 game and they're only complaining because they lost. It still doesn't make it the right thing to do. I read it just like you all said it, see? Much love to the CPB. PRX, the Public Radio Exchange bowls like my grandmother on happy hour Thursday's, that is to say not well.

Keep the ball in your lane, grandma. Now you've probably already got it figured out, this is not the news. No way is this the news. In fact, you could go play darts with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and kick their sorry behinds and call that the losers buy beer and watch them stand around with their hands in their pockets talking about they never heard that rule before. And you could do all of that and you would still not be as far away from the news as this is. But this is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.