' I want this one, Daddy ' - her voice was firm,
The tiny pup began to squirm and covered her rosy face with
' Love, one of the others would be much better,
This little chap's the runt of the litter,
his head's too big for
those legs - they look like sticks! '
' But you promised, Dad, and I like him best,
Much, much better than all the rest ' - two pair of eyes fixed
pleadingly on my own,
Well, I may be tough but I'm not that tough,
The ragged ball of tawny fluff lay sound asleep in her arms the
long way home.
His looks didn't improve and constantly
Caused ill-concealed hilarity - but he and that child were seldom
And though he chased the chooks off their new laid eggs,
Dodged under the milker's startled legs - two pair of eyes
would soften the hardest heart.
Wet towels were pulled from the washing line,
Holes chewed in brand new boots of mine and he dug the garden
faster than things could grow,
When he tugged the plug of the freezer out
Sheer exasperation made me shout, ' That so and so mongrel dog
has got to go! '
As usual, my anger soon was gone,
Forgotten as the day wore on, until my wife arrived to collect
'The Terrible Two',
' Haven't seen hide nor hair, ' I said,
Head down, tail up in the tractor shed,
' I really thought they
were down at the house with you! '
Her shocked face mirrored my alarm,
We searched the house and scoured the farm - they'd been missing
now for more than half a day,
Found her blackboard propped by One - eyed Ted,
The chalk smudged message starkly read, ' From me and Rex,
G'bye, we've run away! '
'At least Rex is with her.' my wife cheered up,
But I had no faith in that no-good pup and recalled with dread the
mad mutt's love for water,
The creek swung in behind the ridge,
Where the track led down to the narrow bridge - there were deep
holes there - oh, please, no - not my daughter!
Scuffled footprints marked the reedy ledge,
Boot heel slides down the slick mud edge,
my blood ran cold with a
flood of instant chill,
But up on the road my wife was calling,
Pointing ahead to cattle bawling as they milled around two specks
on my neighbour's hill.
I rammed through the mob, engine roaring,
Couldn't distract the young bull pawing, tossing dust with his
powerful horn- stubbed head,
The pup stood between them, hackles raised,
Lips pulled back as he snarled half crazed,
the child so still for a
moment I thought her dead.
Hearing the truck she tried to stand,
I signalled ' Down! ' with a desperate hand,
she dropped to earth
in a pitiful heap and froze,
The motor stalled, I screamed despair,
Rex launched himself into the air and swung in blood as he gripped
the huge beast's nose.
I grabbed the chance, scooped her up and tore
Back to the 'ute and slammed the door as Rex was thrown
and the baffled bull stood heaving,
Then meekly turned to trail the herd,
With that jaunty tailed, quite absurd, triumphant scrap to
supervise his leaving.
Confidingly, on my knee that night,
She pouted ' Rex is naughty, Dad, you're right! I was hot and
wanted to swim but when I tried
He pulled my shirt and wouldn't let it go,
Such a bad, bad dog, I told him so.' - I hugged that pup
and she wondered why I cried.