mad about the boy

My folks are the only people I know who bought a dog and got their house free.

The deal was clinched when the then-owners announced that if they couldn’t sell Mick with the house he’d be put down, because he was “too old” to be rehoused.

The $225,000 dog we called him and he went on to live for another four years – the happiest, I believe, of his 17-year life.

After I returned from the vets with an empty collar on the seat where a dog should be, it took six months to tempt Dad to the pound.

We called the Jack Russell who stole his heart Boy, because it was the only thing he seemed to recognise – that … and Dad.

He was a stray and had a long-expired registration tag from Albany, WA.

There’s no way of knowing how he got to the Victorian Goldfields, but I’ve always fancied he walked – doggedly following the railway track in search of his lost owner, crossing a whole continent before finally giving up and bestowing all that loyalty on Dad.

But, like old Mick, Dad, 86, is wearing out.

In fact, he’s in the hospital.

I took him there three days ago, and Boy is beside himself.

The break-in by police probably didn’t help.

Really though, what was the cleaner meant to think when she arrived at the house at 8am for her fortnightly visit only to find Dad’s car in the drive with the windows down, the house locked and the dog nutty?

Boy is inconsolable. Even cheese won’t tempt him.

And when I took him for a walk yesterday he stopped at the railway line and looked west for the longest time.


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