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Spike and the Pub Dog


We used to live in a remote village in eastern England. Spike was about 5 years old at the time of this story, and well-established as a leading canine character there. His two main chums, villainous-looking lurchers both, and his "sweetheart" an Old English sheepdog called Emma, would regularly hold dog "summits" and put the world to rights. Although Spike had the feisty nature typical of a Kerry, he had no enemies roundabout and life was passing easily for us.

Into this rural idyll, however, came a problem. The local pub changed hands and the owners' dog, a GSD/Rottweiler cross was left often to roam the streets and terrorise the local dogs.

The list of casualties began to rise- a Samoyed with a ripped ear and a Springer with a slashed neck. Even one of the lurchers came off worst but at least was fast enough to run away.

The village was worried. Complaints had been made to the owner but he was unconcerned. Some were talking of a complaint to the local police, but nothing much seemed to happen.

Spike had not yet met the beast, but it was only a matter of time. I knew he wouldn't back down, but this dog outweighed him by at least 25 pounds, so it did not look good, and I ws worried about what might happen.

Having said all that, we couldn't stay indoors the whole time and eventually they met.

I remember it well to this day. We were about 200 yards away from the pub gates, walking away, when the gates rattled. The dog had been locked in that day, but he leapt the gates, and accelerated towards us. Spike turned to face him, and I heard that low, rumbling growl he always used when he meant business. He was still on his lead, and ,since I am a much greater coward than my dog was, I unclipped it to give him some space or let him run back home if he wanted to.

He didn't move, but stood still, wagging his tail gently to and fro in anticipation. The other dog came closer. I remember the puzzled look on its face as it realised that this dog was standing its ground.

I can draw a veil over the subsequent minute. Suffice it to say that the pub dog was by then in full retreat, and managed again to jump the pub gates- this time to escape Spike. He was never so much trouble again, and Spike always used to lift his leg against the pub gates when the dog was inside, without further incident.

I was reminded of the conversation I had with an old Irishman when Spike was a puppy. "Son" he said, " Never wait for that dog if he gets into a fight. He'll catch you up when he's finished ." He did.

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