My First Dog

Our first dog was called Mickey.

My first dog was called Bunty.

After Mickey had been put to sleep the vet told us that it was a good idea not to have a dog in the house for over six to nine months as the virus took that long to vacate the area and could be in the ground as well.

So time went by and eventually we heard of someone, not far from us, who was actually giving away some puppies. This lady had three and only two were left.

We collected Bunty a few days later.  She was short in the leg, long in the body and brown and white.

In those days people did not put their dogs on a lead.  There was little traffic about anyway, not like today where you cannot even find a parking space and it took me about one hour to drive one mile after getting off the motorway recently.

Bunty went everywhere with me.  I went off with my friends and Bunty came along as well.

We had friends.  They lived in a cul-de-sac at the top of the road where Mickey had been to the toilet.  We went to school with these friends and played with them at school, however we were forbidden to play with them when at home.  The families were very poor.  My best friend came from a family of eleven children.  They had newspaper for their table cloth and my friend used the type of iron that you place on the gas cooker.  Her mother would often call on my mother and beg for a bucket full of coal on a freezing winter's night.  Probably my mother did not want us mixing with such people in case we too became poor.

One evening I went off with my friends and Bunty and we all climbed the school gates and then onto the school roof and played for hours chasing each other along the flat part of the roof and even climbing down into the grass quadrangle in the centre of the school.

When we had had enough fun, and thought it about time we all went home, we climbed back over the school gates once more and it was then that I realised that Bunty was not with me.  I called her and looked up and down the empty, dimly lit road.

My eyes peered through the orange glow emitted by the occasional lamp post, down the long, straight road once more, and then focused on a stationary car at the brow of the hill and a little bundle by the side of the road.  I just knew, there and then it was Bunty.

My friends and I hurriedly and yet hesitantly walked closer  and closer.  We stopped moving when we reached the bottom of the short hill, which was also the end of the street where I lived.    I asked my best friend to run to my house and get my mother. My best friend ran off and a few minutes later came back and told me that my mother had opened the front door, looked at her and shut it again.  This happened twice more and I told my best friend she must tell my mum it was urgent.

Mum came down the road and asked me what was wrong.  I opened my mouth but no words would come out.  I tried again.  No words came out the second time.  We ran back to the corner of the street at the bottom of the hill and I pointed to the scene at the top.

I recall seeing my mother and the car in the dim lamplight.  In the distance I could see the man putting something in a dark sack and then we all went home.  I do not recall what happened to Bunty after that.  Whether the man took her off or not I do not know.  I do not think we buried her in the garden.

In those days a dog had to have a licence and anyone who ran a dog over had to inform the police.  I think this was done.

©Barbara Burgess 2014