Spalding area's John Ward: 'Whiskey in the car, oh'
I was in town recently and I became entwined with a small dog as it ran round my legs. His owner tried to unravel his lead - but all was sorted as the lady offered assorted apologies but there was no harm done.
She explained that she was just getting used to ‘his little ways’ and that he was an adopted rescue dog - an explanation which brought back a family memory.
In the mid 1980s my mum - of the people for the people - lost her dog through old age and said she would ‘not have another one’. Dad and I quietly decided to reverse that decision as it was company for them plus dad didn’t have an excuse to ‘go walkies’ in the evening that took him past the local pub.
I made a few inquiries to find where the council and the police took any stray animals but it quickly emerged that I was not the only one to do this.
I obtained the telephone number of the kennels and was invited to go for a look round one afternoon.
I was asked what I was looking for and explained nothing too big but for a couple of a ‘certain age’ to which the kennel lady showed me a few.
I would have liked to have taken all four I saw but I opted for a small terrier that I was told had been ‘quite docile and timid’ in the time he was brought there and ‘very affectionate’.
I paid a fee that included a vet’s portion for him being looked over and assorted injections - plus his keep at the kennels etc - then I put him on my car’s back seat. He looked so placid as he sat there.
It was a cold, wet afternoon, teatime to be precise, as the nightmare began to unfold.
The ‘quite docile and timid’ dog suddenly went into frenzy mode as he ran up and over the inside of the car roof and ended up in my lap beside the steering wheel. Thankfully I was not moving.
I then pushed him into the back as we moved off but, as we went down the road, it happened again as he did a somersault of the car roof as we passed a white car.
I carried on going and all was relatively well as, from thereon in, we reached our destination with no more drama.
Once there, and his arrival was announced, mum was taken by him straight away as I showed dad the faint paw marks on the roof lining where he had done his Olympic standard freestyle panic racing.
We worked it out he had perhaps been mistreated by somebody in a white car, who knew?
Mum asked what his name was but that was the one thing I didn’t know. It was not mentioned at the kennels, so I rang them but they had no idea as he was just a ‘dumped doggy’.
So began weeks of trying to get him to respond to assorted doggy type names but with no success. He did, however, respond very well to the throwing of a wooden stick and then promptly found it, went off and buried it never to be seen or found again!
Time went by as he improved: not only did he chase after the stick, he could now bring it back.
About this time a neighbour popped in to show off a pub raffle raffle and announced with pride he had ‘won a bottle of whiskey’ - at which point our small dog suddenly burst into life and did a few cartwheels around mum’s lounge.
So they found his name by accident – he didn’t respond much to the word ‘bottle’ but it was a paws up for ‘Whiskey’.
Dad took him to the vets a few months later for a check over and any injections as required – a simple enough thing to do.
He booked in with the receptionist, then was told to sit down amid those also waiting with their pets to be seen.
The vet eventually stuck his head round the door and asked: ‘Can Whiskey and his owner come through please?’ It was at this point that dad found out this is a common name as not only did his Whiskey jump down on command but so did two others at the same time with the same name.
While dad explained the scene went from a waiting room to a raving nuthouse in mere seconds.
All went well over time as Whiskey went on for another nearly 15 years ‘as good as gold’ until he peacefully passed away but dad never did manage to find any of those sticks he buried – large size splinter remains yes, sticks no.