Graham's True Stories
Number 20, The Rat
Maggie has a dog. It's a Norwich Terrier that thinks its a Rottweiler and it answers, when it wants to, to the name of Dizzy. I call it The Rat.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love dogs. Some of my best friends are dogs. The problem I have with The Rat is that it doesn't take kindly to being on a leash. Maggie handles this discipline problem by letting it off the leash at every opportunity. And this is where the trouble started.
We were at the East of England Antique Show two years ago and had just entered through the main gate when Maggie paused by the sign saying that all dogs must be kept on a leash to remove The Rat's leash.
All went well for half an hour until The Rat met The Domino.
Now the Domino is a 125-pound Dalmatian with a mean streak as wide as his owner's IQ is narrow. Maggie saw the salivating Domino bearing down dragging its owner and, about 30 minutes late, decided to put The Rat on its leash. Given the choice of the leash or three rounds with Domino, The Rat chose the fight and launched into his enemy - oblivious of a 100-pound disadvantage.
Seconds later, The Rat was firmly clamped in Domino's mouth and was steadily being shaken to death. Maggie, never at a loss in an emergency, re-acted immediately --- "Do something", she screamed at me.
Realising that this was all my fault and that I had to make amends, I launched into the fray and managed to prise the Dalmatian's mouth open. The Rat fell like a stone. I stepped back in relief. The Rat rolled over, shook himself, re-launched at Domino and settled back to being shaken to death.
I gently suggested to Maggie that she grab The Rat next time and we went through the same performance again, albeit more successfully, if at the expense of a little more of my blood and skin. As this contest was going on, a small crowd had gathered.
The owner of the Dalmatian just stood there looking stupid, but one onlooker had obviously read the book. You know, the one where it says to throw a bucket of water over fighting dogs. Only she didn't have a bucket of water - only a king-size carton of orange juice.
This she threw at the dogs. She missed The Rat. She missed the Dalmatian. She got me in the center of the chest with the full contents.
The Rat spent the rest of the day on the leash. I spent the rest of the day smelling of Florida's finest - made from concentrate, 100 per-cent juice.