Dog gone

September 18, 2016 at 9:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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In harm’s way.


In remembering my dead father, one incident continues to trouble me daily.

I hope that writing it down will free me from it.

Note that I use the lower-case ‘dad’ to try to take the sting out.

Basil was our first (and last) dog.

dad described Basil as a ‘Heinz’ (i.e. a mongrel comprising 57 varieties).

I seem to recall Basil was a stray who simply hung around long enough to be admitted to our yard.

I have few memories of Basil other than this:

dad was proud of his garden and lawn.

He didn’t want holes in either.

Basil, being a dog, had other ideas.

But no idea of Dutch discipline.

When Basil dug his third hole, dad became suddenly apoplectic.

He strode to the tool shed and returned with a three-foot (90 cm) length of two-inch (52 mm) orange plastic pipe.

It was so thick, it barely bent.

dad then grabbed Basil by the ears, hoisted him aloft and beat the shit out of him.

I sat aghast near the Alder tree (pictured in the slide).

Basil’s screams still resound, half a century on.

The scene, dark against the summer sun, burnt into my brain.

I felt terror, then.

As did Basil.

I believe he left us soon after.

Hopefully of his own volition.

And under his own steam.

Henceforth, dad had only to look at me to strike fear and avert wrongdoing.

Mum summed up his behaviour several times over the decades as,

‘He gets wild sometimes … ‘

Being passive aggressive myself, I know about bottling things till they explode.

But I used to vent on ‘inanimates’.

Or myself.

And I’ve sought a lot of help.

Sometimes, I find myself praying to no-one in particular

that mum’s blood flows stronger

and I am not

my father’s


Brought to you by The Feisty Empire and Imagine Day.





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  1. Boy, but you write them raw, Paul. As always, I’m in awe.

    • I wasn’t at all sure about this one, Ad. Never speak ill of the dead, they say. But I felt compelled. And, after weeks of dithering, I bit the bullet. The fact you’re still here gives me faith that I may not have made the wrong call. Kind regards and thank you. P.

  2. Trying to add a comment to this with no luck but what I want to say is…

    I know exactly how you felt then and now Paul… my father dished out instant discipline to my dog, Crumbles, when I was about 12. I can hear the cries of both dogs and feel your pain.

    Have a f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c day… Winno

    • Hi, Winno. Your trials with the comment system made me revisit my security setttings (which were on ‘paranoid’). I’m so glad that lowering the bar let you over. Thank you for sticking with it – especially as it seems we have yet another facet in common. I feel like I’m in very good company. Best regards, P.

  3. Paul, your prayers are answered. You are a kind man with great compassion for animals and all living things. As a child, you were powerless to defend Basil. You do so now with your words and advocacy. I salute you!

    • What a beautiful comment, Lorraine! I’ve been away from my desk and only just spotted it. You really have uplifted me with your generous words. Thank you so much! P.

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