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Having an Off Day

by Beverley, Napier, New Zealand


Reading David Ys story about his childhood experience with cats reminds me of my childhood experience with a dog. We lived in a country area without a milk delivery at one time and had to visit a man with a few cows to get our milk in a small pail. The man had a black dog called Moses. I was terrified of this enormous dog, he looked evil and spent a lot of time barking and showing a set of huge teeth. When I biked past I did a big circle around the high gate in case he escaped.

My big brother (he was about 20 to my 10) laughed at me and said Moses had a bark worse than his bite. "Harry, (Moses's owner) said his dog wouldn't hurt a fly," my brother Ivan told me.

To prove it Ivan took me to collect the milk with him. I was petrified. I cowered behind Ivan while Harry filled the milk pail and Moses snarled at us menacingly. Even Ivan looked a bit unnerved.

Harry laughed. "Moses is all talk," said Harry, "come on, take no notice of his snarling, pat him, he won't bite, that dog is a real softie."

I shook my head. I was a coward and didn't care who knew it. Ivan was determined to show me up. He took up Harry's invitation and carefully patted Moses on the head.

Moses let out a scream of rage at such a violation. He grabbed Ivan's hand and sank in all his teeth, up to the gums. Milk went everywhere.

The noise was frightful, I was screaming in tandem with Ivan and Harry was yelling at Moses. The men and the dog were all rolling around in the mud and milk together.

Ivan needed ten stitches in his hand and couldn't work for weeks. Harry was terribly sorry, "don't know what came over that dog," he mused, "he must have been having an off day!"

We had free milk for weeks delivered by a contrite Harry who begged Ivan not to report Moses to the authorities. He didn't, being too soft-hearted. But it was later rumoured that Moses had met a sticky end because he had bitten the wrong person!


Editor's note:

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