Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Dog I Once Knew

Reading Silverback's highly enjoyable post about the long-haired dachshund Pixie, I thought of a dog I knew years ago.

I was teaching at a secondary school at the time. There were two PE teachers: a man with all the sadistic qualities of Sports Teacher from Hell, and a young woman who was very pleasant.

Sadistic Sports Teacher was one of those who liked everyone neatly lined up all the time. If they weren't lined up then they had to be running about in the rain or - even better - the snow. I think that he felt that shouting at a line of shivering eleven-year-olds proved his masculinity or some such. I wasn't impressed. I think he knew this. We avoided each other as much as possible.

However, his colleague, Sally, was much nicer. She did blow a whistle a bit but I think that goes with the territory for PE teachers. She didn't shout though. I'm sure that Sadistic Sports Teacher didn't like her either.

One day she came into school with a tiny puppy. It was brown and squarish in shape with tiny little legs and a little tail. She had rescued it from someone who had found it and didn't want it.

Very cute, we all agreed, though hard to identify. Mongrel of some kind. Perhaps a bit of terrier? Perhaps part Labrador? Nobody knew. Sally called it Spot, because it didn't have any.

Sally didn't want to leave Spot at home all day so hit on the idea of bringing it to school with her. It could stay in her car when she wasn't teaching. When she was teaching, however, Spot could run round the hockey pitch and generally enjoy itself in a doggy way.

You couldn't do this nowadays, I know. Health and Safety. What if one of the teenagers tripped over the dog, and sustained a dog-related injury? What if anyone was allergic to dogs? What if it bit someone? What if it gave anyone fleas? Or rabies?

However, by an amazing stroke of good fortune, none of these things happened. All that happened was that the puppy had a great time running round the sports pitches, and the teenagers said "Awwww" a lot and were a bit less sulky than usual.

Because Spot was so small, it found it hard to keep up with its owner as she hurtled round the pitch taking an interest in bully-offs and other strange properties of hockey. By lunchtime, the poor thing was exhausted. Sally would sneak it into the staffroom, where it would flop down on the floor, barely able to move. Without any thought for their personal safety re: allergies, rabies, bites etc - the staff would feed it broken biscuits and drinks of water until the bell went and it was time for the poor little thing to start dashing about again.

But never mind. Soon Spot would start to grow, and then it would find the dashing-about far easier.

Except it didn't grow. Well, it didn't grow any higher, anyway. It stayed resolutely at about the height of Sally's ankles. But its body grew longer, and longer, and longer.

People took to looking it and saying, knowledgeably, "Ahhh: it must be part dachshund."

After a few weeks they would look puzzled and say "Have Spot's legs grown at all?"

The answer appeared to be NO. Spot's body got longer and longer and its legs stayed exactly the same. They weren't so much legs as feet attached to its body. It was not a dog that was made for running.

But Spot was happy, oh yes. He had the soul of a Border Collie and didn't know he looked like a speeded-up caterpillar when he ran. When I left the school, some months later, Spot was fully grown and bore a close resemblance to those dogs made out of balloons. Still rushing round the sports pitch. Still collapsing, exhausted, at lunchtime. I hope he had a long and happy life.Link


Anonymous Jay at The Depp Effect said...

Utterly amazing that nobody got bitten or caught fleas or rabies - good grief, if the nail-biting nitpickers of today were to hear about this, they'd probably have a heart attack on the spot and claim industrial (dog related) injury just from hearing about it!

Actually, one of the teachers in my school used to bring her dog in to work most of the time, too. It was just a middle-aged brown thing of indeterminate breed and didn't really do much except follow her about and lie under desks, but it just goes to show. You could DO something like that in those days.

Sounds as if the little dog belonging to Sally had a great life!

10:41 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

.....certainly a long one anyway.

1:53 am  
Blogger Jennyta said...

That story has just reminded me of one of our maths teachers who also used to bring his dog (a collie) into school with him. It used to lie under the teacher's desk during lessons as good as gold.

1:41 pm  

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