DOLLY by Rick Haynes
It’s not often I shed a tear or three, but when our old dog, Buster passed away, I sat in my study and wept until I could cry no more.
My wife felt the same but I guess more so, as, being at home, she walked him and looked after him more than I did.
Memories were all we had then, well, apart from a few photographs displayed on the sideboard.
As the months passed, we vowed we’d never have another pooch; it wouldn’t be the same, we always said. But our life was soon to change.
One very early sunny morning we awoke to the sounds of a human voice, the howls of a dog in distress, and the slamming of our garden gate. But all we could see was a man, wearing a bright red jacket and green trousers running down the back path.
Without waiting to dress, I ran down the stairs, entered the kitchen, and threw the back door open.
Seeing me naked didn’t register with the golden-haired dog standing before me. I could see the remains of a chain around its neck and a sad look on its face. It didn’t bark, hardly moved its tail and was shaking like the leaves in autumn.
Being a dog lover through and through, I knew something was wrong but my better half brushed me aside and cuddled the shaking pooch. There were sores on her back, her tail had been cut, and she was so thin for a large dog. A labrador, we thought. Nevertheless, we saw hope. Her wonky tail was wagging and she seemed happy to meet us.
As my wife disappeared to find food, water, and stuff you can give to dogs in pain; I was so glad we had never got around to disposing of them; I patted the poor pooch and looked at a small disc attached to the chain.
She was called Dolly, and it suited her.
The food soon arrived. Dolly devoured some of it in one go, but my wife, Della, made sure the dog wouldn’t eat too much too soon as regurgitation would occur and that wouldn’t help her.
And all the while, Dolly wagged her damaged tail.
We called the RSPCA for assistance but in reality, Dolly wasn’t going anywhere. And when we offered to keep her, they agreed to give her the once over for free.
Within the week she was back with us and the old routine was in full swing once more.
Our melancholy days were soon behind us as Dolly had put fresh blood into tired old bones. No matter where we travelled, our Dolly went with us.
We decided to take a walk in a park, the biggest in the town, and the one farthest from our home, as we had never ventured into that area. Dolly was running free as she was not on the lead but we knew she’d never stray too far from us.
A soft growl, a bark, and we saw her hackles rising. A single snarl over bared teeth and she was off like a greyhound.
Running up to a man who was frantically trying to escape her sharp teeth made us suddenly realise who she had attacked.
He was wearing the same red jacket when he dumped Dolly in our garden all those months ago.
He was begging, wanting to give us money, anything to get Dolly away, but instead, we simply shrugged.
With a nice juicy leg to gnaw on, we let her enjoy herself.
We guessed it was.