Two things were almost always around when I was a child: Dogs and shotguns.
Even though I am fairly certain the guns actually belonged to Pop, Granny threatened to use them more than he did, if that was possible.
Granny's preferred weapon of choice has always been a double-ought shotgun.
The dogs were usually strays that took up, delivering a half a dozen puppies weeks later, but always well-loved.
My earliest instructions from Pop were clear and simple: Don't ever touch the guns, and never trust someone who doesn't like dogs.
Right before Pop passed away in 1996, we had a puppy show up at the door. A German Shepherd/Chow mix that Granny named Billy and declared Heaven sent to her to comfort and protect her when Pop passed away.
The adorable little puppy quickly grew into a massive ball of fur that was devoted to Granny.
He was fiercely protective of her and Granny doted on her dog, feeding him everything from ham hocks to cornbread, which resulted in an emergency vet visit.
Just a few months ago, Billy passed away at 15 years of age.
"Granny wants a Jack Russell terrier," Mama informed me one day.
"They are too hyper for her," I said. "They are high energy dogs."
"That's what she wants. She needs a dog. We've never not had a dog."
I know it must be weird not having a dog around. Their constant companionship, unconditional love, loyalty ... as much as I fuss about my four fur balls, I'd give any of them a kidney if they needed it.
But Granny changed her mind last week.
Instead of a dog, she's getting a pistol.
"Her hands are too arthritic to clean her shotguns, so she's going to a pawn shop and find herself a good pistol and get a carry permit," Mama explained. "She said she can't bear to bury another pet, and a pistol would be cheaper in the end."
"Except for the bail on an aggravated assault charge," I said. "Mama, she's 90 - she does not need a pistol."
"She's serious about this. She said she needs it for protection."
"Who's going to protect us?" I asked.
But Granny is determined she's getting herself a pistol along with the permit to carry it on her person when she leaves the house. I can only imagine my white-haired grandmother, bent over her walker, packing heat under some pale pink sweatshirt with kittens on it, wondering if she's going to have to draw her gun on some young punk like Clint Eastwood.
Even more disturbing, I can actually see that happening. She's got a quick-temper and good aim, so this has the potential to end rather badly.
Given the fact a gun could end up with Granny incarcerated and someone shot, maybe a Jack Russell wouldn't have been a bad idea after all.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist and certified life coach. She lives in the north Georgia mountains with her family and four insane, but fairly well behaved dogs.