Sunday, 19 October 2008


Hi, Today at Backhouse Park, a man asked John about little Spot, John said he has gone to a new foster home with children, so we know if he can be placed with a family with kids.
The same chap had said to John on watching Sam sit gazing into his eyes I bet you can not let that dog go.
How can you let them go, I would want to keep them, John had said as long as you know it’s a good home, the dog will be loved and cared for it makes it a lot less painful. There is always another needing help, and you can not keep them all.
He told me of when he was a child he so much wanted a dog, but his mother would not let him have one. Then one night his older sister was baby sitting for the lady just across the way, she shouted John over and in the back yard was this little puppy its name was Rex.
John had sat on the ground with the puppy and it tucked into his jacket and licked his face, at that moment his heart had filled with love for this skinny little pup. In a corner was an orange box made into a kennel that offered no real shelter and a saucer with some mouldy peas on it.
He persuaded his sister to give him the money for some dog food, and ran and got some from the corner shop. Luckily his sister realised that you must only give it small amounts, John would have given it the full tin in one go.
The next day being the start of the six week school holiday, John had gone over and knocked at her door and asked could he take Rex for a walk, terrified she might say no, of course he need not have worried she was just to happy to see it go.
So Rex got fed a bit more food, John spent his pocket money on food and if it was not enough he always managed to persuade his sister to buy some, sometimes taking the odd tin of corned beef or spam out of his mother's cupboard.
Every morning through the six weeks he would sit looking out of the front room window until their light came on then go straight over for Rex.
Until in the end she said just come and open the back gate and take him, you can keep him if you want.
This led John to beg and plead with his mother, but the answer was still no, so things went on like this and by the end of the school holiday Rex and John were both smitten with each other, they had explored every bit of beach and the parks and the hills. Rex was delivered back to his yard and orange box every night, the peas were now just a green mark on a dirty saucer.
When John had gone back to school he could not think about anything but getting out and going for Rex, every afternoon as he turned the bottom of the street, he whistled and the lady would let Rex out of the yard to fly down and throw himself all over John who would roll on the ground and play with him. Rex was now allowed to wait in John’s yard while he had to have his tea before he could go out. John always managed to take most of his tea out for Rex; he had also got friendly with the butcher who used to give him scraps.
It was at a tram stop one day when a kid dropped his tram fare and it rolled down a sink, and people at the stop gave the child some copper for the fare.
John said that was a great idea for dog food money, and became adept at turning the tears on saying he had lost his tram fare. So moving to different stops he could make quite a bit of money in this way and it amazed him how kind some people were as his fare was ½ old penny but they usually gave him a threepenny bit, and not just one person if there was a few people at the stop he would get money off each all saying here are pet don’t cry.
Sometimes he could sneak away, others he had to get on the tram but he said that was ok because he and Rex would get off at the park or weekends he would go right over to Roker beach.
As the nights got darker John was supposed to be in early but he would be up at Tunstal hill in the rock cave with a little fire and Rex tucked in his coat and he would talk away to this little dog, and go on about all the if only, s that mostly involved a way he could keep Rex.
John and Rex were not always on there own but nearly all his friends had dogs so they went home with their dogs, but John had to leave Rex in the yard across the way. It was nothing like taking him home with him so when his friends went, John would hang about to be with Rex as long as he could,
Often in trouble for staying out so late.
Every now and again begging and pleading but still to no avail, his mother would not give in.
So this went on, the time went by and the next summer came and little Rex was with John all day again with their friends, and their dogs loads of exploring went on and walking for miles John said he did not have to call him he just stayed with him.
Rex was being well fed now as John could just pretend to put the collection money in the church plate, and sell balloons at school for a penny, running to school instead of getting the tram and his crying scam + pocket money. Rex even got a red collar and lead, although he said he can not remember using the lead. But he said then if you saw one car a day pass every one would stare at it.
Another winter went by and heading for the summer holiday again, John was so happy all those days every day for six weeks with his Rex although he was not really John’s dog. John was Ten this year in the July so he always got some birthday money and he and Rex would walk over to the pet shop in Roker Avenue to look at the dog kennels. If I get enough I will get you one he promised Rex.
Just before the summer holidays John came around the corner and whistled as usual, but she did not let rex out and the back gate was bolted so John banged on it. The lady opened the door and said O I took him to be put down today, I did ask your mam if she wanted him before I took him, staring in the yard in total disbelief there was still the dirty saucer.
A heart was broken that day Rex was about 18 months old and the lump that came into John’s throat, stayed for weeks he did not want to speak to anybody, but could not if he had wanted too.
Today we went to Tunstal Hill there is still the little cave where John and Rex used to go, John said he can still feel Rex‘s little tongue licking his scraped knee or a cut he had or the tears from his cheeks as he had cried because he wanted him so much.
The dogs he has had since have lived their lives through so although it hurts you know you have given them a good life and cared for and loved them, he said nothing has hurt like that because it was a Childs love with no hang ups just pure love. Now 57 years later he still says he can see little Rex looking up at him when he was sat on the step, his mam shouting him in and he not wanting to take Rex back to his yard, the lump in his throat is still there a hurt in his heart and the tears still fill his eyes when he thinks of Rex and the life he did not have.

7 comments:

lebdale said...

ive got a lump in my throat the size of a tennis ball reading that. tell john he will never know but there may have been a chance if the dog was a nice one and it would have been if john had been with it that he may have not been pts and the guy at the pound may have gotten him a home.

Anonymous said...

god bless you john xxxx auntie liz xxx

Anonymous said...

YOU SOD I WISH I HAD NOT ASKED HOW YOU COULD FOSTER DOGS AND LET THEM GO. I WAS READING YOUR BLOG AND MY WIFE SAID WHY ARE YOU CRYING I SAID READ THIS WE WERE BOTH CRYING READING IT.
I KNOW NOW WHY YOU ARE TRYING TO GET DOGS A BETTER LIFE.
BACKHOUSE

The Girl said...

The Girl is leaking, Bobby. Her heart is breaking at the thought of John as a boy with Rex. Tell him, please, that at least Rex knew love in his short life, all because of John.

And tell John that he has made countless other dogs happy through fostering and finding them forever homes. Your John is a very good man, Bobby.

Brown dog kisses,
Dannan

BenTheRotti said...

and that sums up why I call all those that foster dogs and work in rescue Angels.
Mum is wailing like a baby, she will be taking the kids to school with bloodshot eyes! That will teach her to read blogs before the school run!
Thank you for sharing John's story with us Bobby. I better go give Mum a cuddle now!

love and tailwags,

Ben xxx

Anonymous said...

Makes memories flood back, BLESS YOU JOHN.I remember our dog(tip) when i ran away and was found by the police. I was about 5 and they had to bribe him wi chocs,so they could take me home. He died when i was 12. he was a (rescue) dog that i will never forget. But well meet again one day

catsmother said...

I was reading this at work and started laughing out loud. My boss asked what was tickling my fancy. That was the first part, then I was moved to tears at the end. John and Brenda do such wonderful work and I love reading the blog. I've just rehomed a rescue cat thru Cats Protection having lost two within a year 21 and 17. Keep up the good work. Bless you.

Catsmother (Pat Watson) Heddon