Red Dog

Louis De Bernieres


From Tally Ho to Red Dog

'Strewth!' said Jack Collins. 'He's done it again. It's a terrible smell - a real stink! How can that dog live with himself? When he breaks wind, I want to run out of the room.'

'Everyone likes their own smells,' said Mrs Collins.

'Oh yes?' said her husband. 'Well, it's too much for me, Maureen. Tally will have to live outside the house.'

'It's because of what he eats,' said Maureen. 'It's going to make smells. And he eats so fast too.'

'You know what?' Jack said. 'We'll give him to the army. They can send him to the enemy, and they'll all run, to get away from the stink.'

'Oh, he's done it again,' said Maureen, holding her nose. 'Tally, you're a bad dog.'

Tally Ho looked up at her with one yellow eye, and wagged his tail a few times. Her voice was friendly, and he thought that she was saying nice things about him. He closed his eye again, and went on thinking about food.

Tally Ho was only a year old, but already he was famous for eating. He ate everything. People gave him all kinds of things to eat - paper bags, sticks, small dead animals, apples, eggshells - and Tally Ho tried it all. He didn't like sticks much, but eggshells were all right, if they still had bits of egg inside. He ate the same food as the family ate too - meat and potatoes and vegetables.

'I'm going to take him out,' said Jack. 'He can have a run, and get some of that wind out.' He stood up and went to the door. 'Run time, Tally,' he said.

Tally began to jump up and down excitedly. The floor shook under his feet.

'Get him out before he shakes the place down,' said Maureen. Jack opened the door. Tally ran outside, and began to jump up and down by the car.

Jack opened the back door, and said, 'Jump in.'

Tally Ho jumped onto the back seat, then at once jumped over and sat in the front seat.

Jack opened the front passenger door. 'Out!' he said.

Tally looked at him, then looked away, and found something very interesting to watch down the street.

Jack didn't like this. He was an army man, and an order was an order. He picked Tally up, and moved him onto the back seat. 'Stay!' he said.