1 August 2014

An Introduction to Tommy.

The 6th of June 2005 was a bight sunny morning. Me and Tippy had already been round and checked the cows and were off up to Moor Farm to check some sheep we had there. As I whizzed down the lane on the quad bike, Tippy riding behind me as usual out of the corner of my eye I noticed a big black dog lying under the barrier to the forestry entrance. My first thought was that it belonged to a dog walker but I was wary of the fact that there was no car to be seen which was a little unusual as we weren't really in walking distance of anywhere. So I thought the matter worthy of more investigation and braked to a halt very aggressively. Tippy crashed in to the back of me but didn't fall off the bike, she was well used to all kinds of erratic maneuvers being involved in all manner of hot pursuits after various cows, sheep and people on an almost daily basis.

Fallon on the quad bike, Tippy usually rode behind the driver.

I reversed as fast as the bike would allow back up the lane to the pull in where the dog was still lying, it didn't move so I switched off the bike and dismounted on the opposite to the dog and circled round behind the bike all the time talking to the dog. As I moved in closer it suddenly jumped up and flew at the bike barking, Tippy stood her ground, the bike was her domain, raging cows had tried many times to dislodge her from that perch and failed so this dog was on a hiding to nothing before he even started and I think he knew it because he turned round and went back and laid down under the wooden rail again.

This is where Tommy was found. It's a made up picture as I didn't have one from the day but it's more or less as he was when I first saw him.

There was obviously no point in trying to do anything while I had the bike and Tippy so I got back on the bike, turned it round and headed off back to the farm which was just a short way back down the lane. I put Tippy in the house, grabbed some dried dog food and a horses lead rope that was hanging up in the dairy and set off at a good pace on foot across the fields.

The lane heading back to the farm which can just be made out through the trees.

I arrived back at the entrance to the forest to find the dog where I had left it. Remembering what had happened a few minutes earlier I approach very cautiously, I had kept my heavy parka coat and leather bike gloves on for a little protection should things get out of hand. The dog never moved though so I sat down on the rail by the side of him and introduced myself and inquired as to what he was doing there but he didn't reply.

The scene as I returned, I sat on the rail just in front of him and had a little talk before offering food.

I removed a glove and reached in to my pocket and brought out a hand full of the dog food and reached down with my gloved hand to offer him some of the food, he looked at me now and snarled, I dropped it on the ground in front of him and he took it. He looked at me for more so again I offered him some in my gloved hand and he showed his teeth but before I had chance to drop it he put his teeth away and took it ever so gently from my hand. It must have been about five times I offered him the food before he took it without showing his teeth. By now we were getting on much better so I tried to put the horse rope around him but he wasn't ready for that and so not wanting to undo all the good work I decided to see if he would just follow me back to the farm. At first although he was happy to get up and follow me a short way he was reluctant to leave the entrance to the forest but after a certain amount of coaxing he did come with me and we made it back to the farm without further ado.

His defensive look and the look he gave me when I first tried to coax him with food.
There I offered him more food and some water and he even let me put the rope on him, he didn't have a collar so I did a makeshift one with a bit of string. I fussed him a bit and introduced him to my workmate and then fastened him to a hook in the yard while I went and got a drink of tea. I looked out of the kitchen window to see if the dog was settled but all that was there was half the rope fastened to the hook, there was no sign of the other half or the dog so I quickly rushed out to see where he was, I needn't have worried because he was only outside the back door waiting for me, the cut through the rope was so clean it could have been cut with a sharp knife. I drank my tea with him out in the yard. Because it was obvious that he wasn't going to be tied up I shut him in a shed while Tippy and I went to check the sheep at Moor Farm, before leaving I instructed my workmate to not go in the shed where the dog was because I wasn't sure if he could be trusted not to bite. Even though he had been friendly enough while in the yard I thought the had made a lung at me when shutting him in the shed. I left him barking behind the shed door.