Questions about the Country Song "Old Red" (Not Café Society material)

There’s this Top-40 country song, Old Red, by Kenny Azar or something. In it, a man is sentenced to prison and eventually becomes a trustee whose job it is to take care of Old Red, the prison’s tracking dog. The prisoner works out a scheme where he takes Old Red every night to see a nearby bitch, penned up about a mile south of the prison. The con then keeps Old Red away for a few days and escapes, going north. Then, when the guards turn Old Red loose to find the escaped con, Old Red instead heads south to his bitch.

Clever song, but it got me to wondering…

First, I’m thinking that a male dog would have no interest in a bitch unless she was in heat. IOW, taking Old Red for his walk each night was, to Old Red, just that: a walk (as opposed to a bootie call). Do dogs develop something akin to friendships? (As an aside, if Old Red’s bitch was in heat, would he have been able to smell it from a mile away?)

Secondly, don’t working dogs “know” when they’re working? IOW, Old Red would know that his job was to track the escaped con, not go booty-huntin’, when the guards came a-callin’ with their guns & flashlights & whatnot.

Any dog trainers care to chime in?

It’s a song. Take the lyrics with a grain of salt.

IANA dog trainer but…

Right, I think we’re all kind of assuming that this is what’s going on in the song, that the “lady friend” was in fact in heat. I think the songwriter knows that we know this basic fact about dogs. No, I don’t think Old Red was “just visiting a friend” (I’m flashing on the dogs in Lady and the Tramp for some reason. Ah, Disney…)

21 day heat cycle–7 days to “come into heat”, 7 days to be “in heat”, 7 days to “go out”. So yeah, it’s feasible. And yes, he could have smelled her from a mile away. And yes, he’d have made a beeline for her 'stead of getting down to work. Working dogs do know when they’re working, but then again, they’re only human. Or something.

So yeah, you give Old Red a choice between nookie and work, and nookie wins, every time.

Actually, it’s Blake Shelton who sings the song.


Having had hunting dogs that could tear thru a shed wall when motivated, I don’t doubt it a bit. They don’t much listen to humans for 2-3 weeks.

“Now there’s red-haired Blue Ticks all over the South,
Love got me in here and love got me out.”

Another question which I’ve been mulling over since I heard that song this weekend is why, if the guy can arrange for his cousin to get a hound to the prison, why he didn’t just arrange for a fast horse? Or a fast car, for favorites.

You can cobble up some lame explanation involving the extra time bought while Old Red is off hareing after the female, but on the whole, I think you’d be wise not to examine the logic of the song too carefully.