Those people who know me are aware that I love animals. In particular I have a real passion for dogs. With that in mind I thought I would tell you of the first dog in my life.
Skipper James was our family dog when I was a child. His name came about because we, the James family, lived on a yacht. He loved it. The wonderful golden Labrador used to rest on the deck when he wasn’t racing around like the crazy animal he was.
Skipper was very long-suffering too. My brother and I used to play pirates, and we dressed the poor dog up as well. He was so good-natured. We have a photo of him with our Mother at the wheel of the yacht, living up to his name.
Later we moved to a house with a large garden. He loved it there too, exploring the plot and often returning with an unharmed hedgehog in his mouth, the fleas from said creature running along his nose. He had to be prevented from bringing it into the house. We didn’t want to be infested. The hedgehog was returned to the wild part of the garden.
In those days it was not unusual to see dogs out on their own, without an owner or a lead in sight. Traffic was nothing like it is today. Skipper frequently took himself for a walk, having discovered the butcher’s shop where our Mother bought her meat. He was often given a bone, and carried it home, having crossed the main road at a pedestrian crossing. The only trouble was that he considered neighbours’ kitchens to be open to him and one day brought home a string of sausages from a lady over the road. She was not best pleased, but forgave him when they were replaced promptly with fresh ones.
Skipper lived until he was 15 and I was about to leave school. Knowing now the grief and pain caused by losing a family pet, my poor Mother must have been devastated. She spent so much time with the lovely animal and was so upset that she never had another dog. For me though, it was the start of a lifetime’s love affair with dogs, although it was to be many years before I realised just how much I cared for them. But that’s another story.
Incidentally, I have fairly recently updated my ‘Jottings’ page, if you would care to have a look.