By Francis Forrest, Earby
Traditionally all dogs hate postmen, it is a well known fact, or is it? Just now and again the exception crops up and a canine companion accompanies the postman on his round. Such is the case with we who tramp the streets of Earby, for our four-legged friend is an extra large sheep dog complete with curly tail, name of Tippy. One of our number has given him the nick name of Old Master, because he masters all the other dogs who harass us on our walks. It is uncanny how he knows when and where we start on our walks and once he latches on to one of us, there is no shaking him off. Any attempt to do so is met by protestations and bionic type leaps over garden gates. Possessing a devastating bark which can be heard miles away, he gives chase to cars, bikes, cats and indeed anything that moves. One day, much to the dismay of his current postie friend, he flew hell for leather at a police motorcyclist and was promptly and frantically disowned by one worried postman.
Tippy will just not comply with the Post Office rule which states ‘no unauthorised persons in Post Office vehicles’ and in order to exercise his right to sit on the warm engine, he protrudes the less savoury parts of his anatomy in our faces. Once he spots the mail van it is no good trying to out-pace him; he once chased us for one and a quarter miles to our next stop, and demanded his position as shotgun once more. Even over the roar of the engine, he barks at all and sundry and makes old ladies quake and tremble with fear.
Possessing a prodigious appetite, he will snaffle anything edible. In a back yard one day, an unfortunate cat lost its breakfast milk and all in a fancy bowl, when Tippy’s super sensitive snitch sniffed it all out from under a low bench. Later, he tried to add the cat to his diet but was foiled by its feline speed and a large, prickly bush, so he turned his attention to a wire-haired terrier, here on holiday from Scotland. He was just giving the poor animal a real pasting when its owner arrived to break up the scrap. He was most understanding about it all. One of our number has made the fatal mistake of giving Old Master the occasional biscuit and for his kindness, he has been roused from his slumbers by a booming bark so persistent that the only answer is to chauffeur drive one large dog to the porch of his regular home.
His maniacal dashes at cars have caused us real worry from time to time. One day, he was a bit slow and was badly clobbered by a van. This put him by the fireside for about a week, but then he was back in action again as anti-car as ever. Yes, Tippy still rules supreme with us posties and long may he bless us with his dominant and all-consuming personality.
PS: Sadly, Tippy is no longer with us. This all happened years ago, when I was a postie in Earby.