The Big White Dog
Several years ago, my daughter and I were at our ranch for the weekend with some friends. Now in order for this story to make sense, I need to explain our situation at the time. Back then, the ranch did not have any neighbors nearby, we did not have internet service and the nearest cell phone tower was broken. This meant that we had no phone service, no wifi and no internet. We were not bothered by this at all and in fact; my daughter and I planned to stay on for several weeks after our guests went home on Sunday. Well, like any typical weekend in the Kiamichi wilderness, I ended up with a flat tire on my truck. We are talking GIANT HOLE in the side of my tire! Ok, no phone, no internet, no neighbors and now NO CAR.
My friend was very concerned and really did not want to leave us on that Sunday, but I knew that my father was planning on arriving by Wednesday and Bryant Rickman would be stopping by to feed the horses, so we would be fine. On the very day that we discovered my blown out tire; a great big white dog appeared. Just like that, out of no where, there was this dog. The girls loved him immediately and begged my friend to drive them into town to get dog food and dog toys. The girls thought it would be cute to call him "white dog" and because he was a white dog on the Choctaw Horse Ranch (Chahta Isuba), my daughter named him Tohbi (which is the Choctaw word for white according to our little Choctaw/English dictionary.) It was a fun day, but our time with our friends (very reluctantly) had come to an end. They would have stayed longer but they were going back to Texas to pack up and move to Georgia so it was a very sad goodbye. We shed some tears and watched them drive away and then my daughter and I were all alone with the white dog, the wild horses and our broken hearts.The dog slept on the front porch right underneath my bedroom window. A few times during the night he woke me up with his growling which actually vibrated the floorboards. A few other times he woke me up with his booming bark. Otherwise, everything seemed peaceful. During the day, he followed my daughter everywhere and then at night he was perfectly happy to sleep on the front porch.
Wednesday, my father arrived and just seemed generally put out with the fact that we had somehow acquired a stray dog. He grumbled and complained because no one lives at the ranch and none of us have room for a dog like that at home. I said "hey, we were all alone here and this dog just showed up and maybe there was a good reason, you should not question fate". He was not convinced and of course my husband wouldn't be either, he threatened divorce if we brought home any more animals from Oklahoma! (we did bring home more animals but that's another story) As usual, when my father is in residence at the cabin, we had a large number of friends and family over for dinner. That evening, as our cozy crowd enjoyed the food, wine and company; a man showed up at the door. This in itself is a very strange thing since the cabin is on private property and a good distance from the gate. The stranger, who seemed heavily under the influence of "something", stated that he had driven through a few nights ago and did not see any cars but upon driving through tonight he saw all the cars and decided to stop. He wanted to know what kind of this place was and if we were hiring. (This is a very edited version of the incoherent way he addressed us.) There simply is no "driving through" it just meant that he was driving around private property, high as a kite I might add, while my daughter and I were there alone. The man was escorted from the property and the gate LOCKED, which would remain so forever more. After this shocking incident, my father conceded that the dog had indeed arrived at a very convenient time.
BUT WAIT -THERE'S MORE!
The next morning, my father and researcher/historian Francine Locke Bray traveled to the Chickasaw Cultural Center with a family from Sweden that were interested in learning more about the Native Americans and their horses. While looking at the exhibits, they came across the story of the white dog (Ofi Tohbi). They were surprised to learn about the legendary white dog who protected the Chickasaw and Choctaw people many years ago when they were searching for their new homeland. The legend states that the great white dog (Ofi Tohbi) showed up on the day they departed, he ran ahead of the group to scout for danger and when people were bit by snakes, he licked their wounds and healed them. When they finally reached the mighty Mississippi River and determined that they had found their new home, the dog vanished. There are a few different versions of what exactly happened to the dog, but nevertheless, at the end of the journey the dog disappeared. (In 2015, the Chickasaw Nation Cultural Center featured an Ofi Tohbi exhibit, for more information about them please go to their website at www.chickasawculturalcenter.com) Now, back to my story... That evening when my father and Francine returned to the cabin, they both saw our big white dog with new eyes. ( The dog we ironically named "white dog" in the Choctaw language without knowing anything about the legend!) Francine and her husband had recently purchased the house at the end of the lane leading to our gate and were moving into it by the end of summer. She decided right then and there to keep the dog. She is the descendant of a Choctaw Chief, so she was not only impressed by the story, but her Aunt Dollie (who had lived in Antlers) had a big white dog that followed her everywhere. My daughter and I were pleased, not only would Tohbi have a good home but would also still be at the ranch whenever we visited! The rest of the summer went by all too quickly. My niece stayed with us for awhile and Tohbi followed the girls everywhere. At the time, we had no idea that we would never experience another summer like that again. My daughter would soon be too involved in cheer and dance to ever have another summer off and a new cell tower was built near the ranch allowing a phone and internet connection. It was indeed a very special summer and even though we did not realize how special at the time; saying goodbye to Oklahoma and Tohbi was just a little heartbreaking. When it finally came time for us to leave, Francine was all moved into her house and had a comfortable place for Tohbi where her would be loved and have everything he wanted. It is important to establish the fact that Tohbi had a wonderful, loving home and he adored Francine, otherwise the next part of our story will not be so significant. The day my daughter and I packed up, said our goodbyes and went back home, was the last day anyone ever saw Tohbi. The next morning, he was gone without a trace. Simply vanished. Now, some "naysayers" have their own theories such as, there are plenty of Great Pyrenees all over that area of Oklahoma and he just wandered off or went back to his original home. We do not believe it because we lived it. There was always a strange and inexplicable ghostliness about Tohbi, he appeared out of nowhere when we needed him, he protected us and connected with us on an other worldly level. Then he disappeared when he was no longer needed. We just cannot explain it, which is why I am putting this very personal and touching story on Chahta Unexplained. Thank you for reading!
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Cathie Wilson and family needed a place to tell personal stories of strange and unexplained things that occurred during our time at the ranch.