That Dirty Dog and Other Naughty Stories for Good Boys and Girls

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Authors: Christopher Milne
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My dad's tough. Really tough. He drives a big Mack truck and he reckons he's never cried in his life.
    For breakfast, he has cornflakes, but always in a dirty bowl. And if he’s got a lot of heavy lifting to do that day, he sprinkles crushed bricks on top. Or that’s what he tells me, anyway – I’m usually asleep when he leaves.

    Except for Saturdays. Dad starts late on Saturdays and if I’ve been good, he lets me come with him on his trip to the brickworks. We always go along exactly the same road and each time we pass the park, we see a dog. The same dog, in exactly the same spot.
    â€˜There’s that stupid dog again,’ said Dad one day. ‘What a useless, dirty-looking mutt. What a scumbag.’
    â€˜Looks a bit hungry,’ I said.
    â€˜So what?’ said Dad. ‘Should get off its lazy butt and rip into a couple of rubbish bins.’
    I wouldn’t have minded stopping to give it a cuddle, but I’d never say so, of course. Dad would call me a wuss. A big sooky-baby.
    Dad reckoned everyone was a wuss. Unless they drove a truck and drank beer like him.
    The next Saturday, that poor, dirty old dog was there again, with its big sad eyes, looking as hungry as any dog I’d ever seen.
    â€˜What a filth bag!’ yelled Dad. ‘What a loser. Pity someone hasn’t run it over.’
    I didn’t say anything. Sometimes I didn’t like my dad very much.
    And so it was. Every Saturday, Jack – that’s what I decided to call him – would be sitting there, almost like he was waiting for us to come. Until one day, when he wasn’t there at all.
    I looked everywhere, my face pressed up against the window, but I found nothing.
    â€˜Wonder where he is?’ I said as we kept driving.
    â€˜Who cares?’ said Dad. ‘The mutt’s better off dead, anyway.’
    On the way back past the park that day, I asked, ‘Couldn’t I have a quick look?’
    â€˜For that rotten mongrel?’ asked Dad. ‘You’ve got to be joking.’
    â€˜Please, Dad,’ I said. ‘He might be lying hurt somewhere. I’ll clean the truck for you. All of it. I promise! Inside, too.’
    Now, it so happened that Dad’s footy team was playing on TV that night, and he knew that if he washed the truck himself he’d miss the first half.
    â€˜Oh, all right,’ he said. ‘Make it quick or I’ll leave you here.’
    Sure enough, Jack was hurt. Badly. Hit by a car, probably. I found him lying behind a tree, bleeding from the mouth.
    â€˜Dad!’ I screamed. ‘You’ve got to help me. Jack’s been hurt!’
    â€˜Leave the useless thing to die,’ yelled Dad.
    I leant down to cuddle poor Jack and he tried to lick me. But he was too sore to move.
    I started to cry.
    â€˜Hell’s bells!’ grumbled Dad. He’d come over to have a look by now. ‘If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s a bloke crying. Get out of the way and give me a look.’
    Dad felt around Jack’s tummy and said, ‘Yep, he’s hurt all right. So now what?’
    I just looked up at Dad, trying not to cry again.
    Dad sighed, shook his head and said, ‘All right. Anything to stop your blubbering.’ And with that, Dad picked Jack up and put him in the back of the truck. ‘I’ll drop him at the vet, but if it’s going to cost anything to fix him, we’ll have to put him down.’
    â€˜Put him down?’ I asked.
    â€˜Yep. Knock him off. Put him to sleep. He’s probably going to cark it anyway.’
    Sure enough, the vet said Jack looked really bad. But he couldn’t be sure how bad until he’d taken an X-ray.
    As the vet carried him out, Jack looked up and his big sad eyes said, ‘I understand if you decide not to help me. Who’d want an old dog like me anyway?’
    Dad and I sat in the waiting room in silence. My mouth was dry and I had a sick

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