Mike should not have been my dog.
Sue and I had six dogs on our farm in Africa. My two large ones, her two medium-sized and an ankle snapper each. Named after my father’s favourite dog – an English Bull Terrier – I had always liked big dogs.
Having our older dogs put down and finding homes for two when we left Africa because of political chaos was heart-wrenching. We were never going to risk the emotional cost of sharing our lives with dogs again.
We were conned into taking Mike after arriving in Canada.
A neighbour showed me his Border Collie cross bitch with three pups ready for weaning. Dad was a Springer Spaniel.
Bill had found homes for the female pup and one of the males. He could not keep the other. Bill had visited our part of Africa some years before and knew I would be a soft touch.
Putting on his poker face he said the pup would be put down. Would I recommend drowning or shooting?
Mike came home with me.
Our farmhouse was set back from the road. Most times, Mike ran free.
In 12 years, Mike only crossed the road twice.
Mike saw an elderly man cycling up the road and took off like a rabbit. I ran after him across the field, my boots picking up layers of mud with every step, the more I shouted at Mike, the faster the cyclist pedalled. I thought we would both have heart attacks. Mike didn’t catch him.
The second was when he spotted two neighbours riding horses. He loved coming with us when we rode our horses. He shot across the road in front of a car, circled the horses and came back in front of another car. One horse objected and threw her rider.
No injuries to humans, animals or cars.
In late 2016, Mike got sick and had to be put down. He is buried near our house, I see his grave every time I go out.
– Peter J. Wright