I modeled Joby, Cody’s aging cattle dog in Carolina Cowboy, from our dog Bandit. When I operated the family cattle ranch, Bandit appeared in the pasture and adopted us. Although my son claimed him, Bandit became my protector. Due to his intelligence, speed, and sharp teeth, the cattle learned to cut him a wide berth. Bandit, my constant companion, moved cattle from the gate so I could ride or drive in. When I carried feed to the trough, he kept the cattle from crushing me. I often used our mini-manure spreader to hold a calf while I castrated and tagged it. Bandit stood guard in the back. In the morning, he would jump inside, eager for work. When we moved to South Carolina, Bandit became my running companion. Arthritis and finally dementia claimed his life.