Ellen Thorp


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Old Yeller: Memories of my Childhood

By ellent | September 19, 2010

Cerulean skies, dappled, tubby, clouds drifting aimlessly in stoic silence…

Candied, verdant stalks of  grass… rustle…rustle.. like whispers from the lips of Saints…

Rush…Rush…Thump…Thump… Panting, Panting… Rabbit! Rabbit!!  Gotta Go! Gotta Go!

Dark umber eyes reflect their God!  Sharp ears pricking to the ragged scratching from tiny creatures, lucidly.  Scents from far away whiffing on the backs of summer powder breezes.

I am Goodness! I am Dog!


Have you ever reached back in time and grabbed that Special Film or Book that had such an Impact on you, so many years ago and discovered those feelings still stirred within you?

Like a time machine, you are carried back to a Story or an Image that impacted you so strongly – like the Phoenix rising from the ashes – every emotion is still there, intact and renewed!  You might (through your mind’s eye) relate differently to the story, but still it evokes such warmth, love or melancholy, it truly never left you.

A short time ago, I found myself  reaching back in time when I was a child!   I was so affected and so enamored with an Old, Yellow, Mongrel Dog named Old Yeller!

As an Adult, watching this film, Nothing Changed – Everything was in its place, Everything was the way it was meant to be!  Once again,  my heart strings were tugged by this Large, Floppy-Eared Mongrel!  Once again I Chuckled over his Antics, Applauded his Bravery and Warmed to his Innocence.  Once again –  He Inevitably Broke My Heart!

What is it about this film that just stays with me and evokes so many feelings? Well, for one thing, I have always loved animals from the time I could crawl and always will!

Yet, I think this story goes beyond even that part of me.  I believe it awakens  something inside us all.  Something we Wish we could just Hold on to Forever.  Carry around inside us forever, like a Trinket!  That “Child” in us that isn’t afraid to Open our Hearts, to Trust things around us and Yes, to Weep!

Old Yeller is the Epitome of “Dog”!  He chases rabbits and squirrels, gets into things he shouldn’t and is Vastly Loyal!  His heart is a Mountain and so is his Spirit!  He Captures, in our Hearts,  All we see and love in Dogs!  He Seizes everything we Treasure in Unblemished Simplicity!  I think his “Goodness” reminds us of a Place where We Used to Be!  He might Not be a Pedigree like Rin Tin Tin or LassieBut This Is One Noble Dog!

I Do Know I will see this film again, I will transport back to another time.  I will cherish this story and carry a small part of this dog with me Forever!

Goodnight Sweet Pup!


In 1957 Walt Disney Immortalized this Dog and this Book! It’s Timeless!

To this day, there are many references found regarding Old Yeller.  Many of these are comments on the film’s effect:

Jim Belushi, in the film K-9, tries telling his dog, that as a little boy – when Old Yeller is shot – he  Did Not Cry! “

“In the film Stripes, Bill Murray’s character uses Old Yeller as a way of bridging the gap between his platoon members – asking “Who Cried when Old Yeller got Shot?” Everyone raised their hand and in this way, the platoon members realized they are all similar despite their differences! ”

About the Author:

“With Old Yeller, Fred Gipson secured his place as one of the finest novelists in America. The book was published to instant acclaim and has become one of the most beloved children’s classics ever written. Since its publication in 1956, Old Yeller has won countless awards, including the 1957 Newbery Honor. Mr. Gipson’s other works include both fiction and non-fiction. He grew up in the Texas hill country and died in 1973.”

(Intro. by E. Thorp)
(Notable Info. from Wikipedia)
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