Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Carter Pocket Terrier

The Carter Pocket Terrier was created by Johnny Cash in the 1970s when Johnny acquired a very small black terrier cross from a Pigeon Forge, Tennessee animal shelter. The dog was a gift to June Carter Cash, Johnny's wife, partner and soul mate, and was designed to be a "love sponge" for June while Johnny and June were touring.

The young dog was given the name "Husky," as both a joke about the dog's diminutive size (barely 8 pounds), but also as a homage to Johnny Cash's old friend (and country music great), Ferlin Husky.

The pint-sized Husky insinuated his way into June and Johnny's heart. Soon a look-alike female was located near Hendersonville, North Carolina, and five years later a litter of pups was born. The puppies were placed with eager friends, and the start of the Carter Pocket Terrier, as we know it today, began.

It was Husky who saved Johnny Cash's life after Johnny was kicked in the stomach and nearly gutted by a pet ostrich he kept on his farm near Hendersonville. It was Husky's barking that not only drove the Ostrich back to the barn, but also alerted the family that Johnny was in trouble. In fact Johnny nearly bled to death before he got to the hospital. If it wasn't for his belt buckle and the little dog, he might have died. As it was, it was months of recovery, and it was the pain medications that he took after this injury that drove Johnny back down the road of addiction that he had left some 15 year earlier.

After Husky died, June and Johnny were gifted his great grandson, Ozzy, by the daughter of W.S. Holland. Ozzy was named after Ozzy Osbourne, the former lead singer for Black Sabbath, whom Johnny had met at the Betty Ford clinic in the 1980s, and who Johnny credited (along with God) for his second round of sobriety. It was Ozzy, the dog, that comforted Johnny after June's death following heart surgery in 2003.

Today, with Johnny and June's passing, the Carter Pocket Terrier has become a very rare breed, and remains the only breed with a special (small) display in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The 2-year old Carter Pocket Terrier, seen above, was recently photographed at the annual meeting of the International Association of Canine Professionals, and is considered an excellent example of the type, with large prick ears, a pure black coat ("the rat in black" as Johnny sometimes joked) and a weight that never exceeds 9 pounds.


Ruadh495 said...

Brilliant. I'd read the blog just for these shaggy dog stories. Have you considered putting a book of them together?


PBurns said...

I'd write the book, but only if they put it in the "self help" section.