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Nana and Taffy

posted 16 Jun 2015, 00:21 by Tony Kirby   [ updated 16 Jun 2015, 16:07 ]
We always had a cat, because of mice etc,  but after Nan and my father
got married and Sheena was the youngest member of the family she
wanted a dog. So for her birthday in 1942 she and Nan went in and
picked a dog in one of the big department stores.

T. So you could go to a department store and buy a dog.

Yep. Taffy was a lovely dog, very gentle, very intelligent. It was a
Welsh Collie. It wasn't too big. It needed a lot of walking.

Taffy got ill at one time while the war was on. I don't know what was
wrong with it. Rationing was on and alcohol was very scarce but the
vet, who was very nice and we knew him well, it was a small place we
lived in, said, aka think what we should give that dog is some whisky
in its milk. My father was not a drinker. he only drank for medical
purposes but Taffy got whisky in his milk. He was barely eating. We
thought he was going to die but anyway the vet came in the next day to
see him and said, you know I could get down and lick that milk because
of the whisky in it. He's a lucky dog! (Laughs). He actually improved.

Taffy was super intelligent. We had him over a good number of years.
When Sheena and I were working and we got hoe just after 12 o'clock
for lunch and then went back to work. But no matter what the weather
was like the dog was there waiting for the bus to come and watch us
come up.

We didn't think anything much about it but one of the neighbours said
that dog lies there quite happily from ten to 12. If we didn't get the
same bus he go in with us and then go back and wait for the other one
to come on the next bus.

He was lovely but he had one little fault. He liked to herd cattle and
he wasn't allowed to. You would take him for a walk and of course
you'd let him off the lead.  You wouldn't see any cows or sheep but
suddenly you would hear yapping and this would be him, and the farmers
did not like it! We didn't get any warnings but the farmers would go
into my fathers shop and say, That dog was after my sheep again and it
could hurt them. It didn't, I mean we never saw him do anything like

He was a lovely pet and although my father professed not to like
him....when the grandchildren arrived my father used to sit in his
armchair and his feet on the mantel piece,  and when the grandchildren
came in Taffy would run under my fathers feet because it knew that was
the safest place in the house.

T. What did he look like?

He was sort of black and white, sort of grey and white. A bit smaller
than Lily (standard schnauzer). He was just beyond the puppy stage
when we got him

T. Can you think of any naughty things he might have done?

Yes. He would steal things off the table which he was not allowed. But
I mean in those days you only fed them the scraps there was no such
thing as dog food and if he was hungry... He was like Sarah (Nana and
Papas Shetland Sheep dog) was, when it was bedtime he would get up. He
slept on my fathers chair, which technically my father pretended he
didn't know,  But when it was getting towards bedtime Taffy would go
and look at my father as if to say, this is my turn now. But he was
clever enough in the morning to jump off when he heard my father
coming down the stairs. As soon as he heard that first creak on the
stair he was down at the door wagging his tail.

T. How far away was the shop from the house?

It was a good twenty minutes walk. The dog would come with us.
Wednesday was the half day and the shop shut at one and my father had
a paper delivered to the shop so on a Wednesday when I got home I
walked the dog to the shop to collect the paper and he insisted on
carrying it! Bit he wpould wait, just far enough ahead of me even if I
was running to get it off him and he would rip the paper to bits!

It drove my father nuts! And he would say, Don't give the dog the
paper!. But you know Taffy wpuld look at you with his big eyes and
you'd think, Oh well, he's not doing any harm.

T. So he'd carry it carefully til he'd pretty much got home.

There was a lamp post. We lived in a street that was a circle (6
Sunnyside Street) and there was a little street coming off it. In that street
there was the lamp post  where he lay when we
were coming off the bus. He galloped up to that and even though I
tried to take the paper off him....he was highly intelligent....much
more intelligent than the rest of us were....he ripped that paper to shreds.