Photograph of one footballer and his dog was inspiration for me to write the life story of a very famous Claret | Dave Thomas
For 14 years we had a beautiful retriever and for some years after that we said we wouldn’t have another dog.
And then one lunchtime, as I was sitting in the kitchen at home, I’d finished headmastering by then, I
saw Mrs T come into the back yard pulling something along on the end of a lead.
It was some kind of black, hairy thing on four legs, clearly a dog but there was no way of telling what kind it was, it was so unkempt.
It belonged to the school secretary where Mrs T worked and, on account of her two kids being asthmatic, had been advised by the doctor to give the hairy dog away. It stood there looking bemused and bewildered; and then hopped into the washing basket, looked at us, wagged its tail and curled up. It was called Scamper.
Having decided to adopt us, we took it to be groomed and a classic Scottish Terrier emerged from under the matted thatch. it stayed for the next ten years, an unruly, disobedient thing, quite the opposite of the elegant and dignified retriever. It was stubborn, unco-operative, never chased a stick in its life, snuffled every inch of every gutter, and became one of the characters in It’s Burnley Not Barcelona.
Walking him on a lead was like dragging a large lump of wood around, the sight of another dog set him off into paroxysms of snarling fury, the only time he ran was if he saw a squirrel.
But then, after 10 years, he began to go downhill and it was clear that the end was nigh. Putting a dog to sleep is painless for the dog, but heart-breaking for an owner. It’s over in seconds and all you hear is your own muffled sniffling.
Since then, we’ve always looked at other scotties and can’t help but smile. If I see one sniffing lamp posts I always stop to chat and commiserate with the owner.
So, it was when I saw a picture of Jimmy Adamson with his Scottie, Sandy, my eyes popped wide open and I laughed out loud. I wondered if it was, like ours, heedless, did it run off at every chance, did it lick the gravy tin after Sunday dinner?
Anyway: I saw that picture and thought how can I not write the Jimmy Adamson book? He had a scottie, just like me.
I’d like to think that Jimmy would have approved of the book; a story of three men, Jimmy, Harry Potts and Bob Lord, once so close, but eventually estranged and by the end never spoke to each other.
And above all I’d like to think that he’d be chuffed to know that I had a scottie as well, and that we could chat and compare scottie horror stories. Mine once arrived in the doorway, wagging its tail proudly, carrying a dead hen.
The lass next door kept poultry and this one must have got out.
If you too have a Scottie, I send you my best wishes.