Old Ted The Dog

March 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Bush Poetry, Old Ted The Dog


For graziers and sheep handlers, “the dog” often is their best friend, and they usually know the bloodline right back to Noah. Look out, however if the parents and grandparents were all perfect dogs and the end product isn’t. You have an animal that is too valuable to get rid of and too expensive to keep.


Because this story could end up true,
And I’d hate to be the one to blame.
I think the best thing I can do,
To protect the innocent is change the names.
And so this tale is not a prediction,
But has its foundation firmly in fiction.

The scene is the most romantic of places,
A country house with a wide verandah.
It could be the day after the Louth races,
And we’ll call this fictional property ‘Yanda’.
And we need two hosts of reputed good will,
So we’ll call this couple, Marissa and Bill.

Now Yanda, as far as bush venues go,
Was the partygoers dream discovery.
So everyone who was in the know,
Had gathered there for a races recovery.
To drink and talk the time away 
And face their hangover another day.

Bill was a well-respected grazier,
And a hard worker (by most peoples thinking).
But the truth was he couldn’t be lazier,
And was extremely fond of drinking.
And so at the party their roles were quite clear,
Marissa got organised, Bill drank beer.

The party was going exceptionally well,
Though Marissa was pregnant, as everyone knew.
But the secret that she didn’t tell,
Was that she was three weeks overdue!
But Bill kept doing what he thought he should,
Drinking as much as he possibly could.
Now at country affairs it is widely known,
After consuming the correct amount of grog.
The ladies will speak of the things they have sown,
While the men will argue the best working dog.
So this was the line of conversation,
That accompanied Bill’s inebriation.

And every bloke present said they had the most,
And the best ‘country canine cavaliers’.
But it seemed as though Bill was reluctant to boast,
And they found him nearly reduced to tears
‘I’ve made a horrible mistake’ he said,
‘I’ve put all of my faith in that useless dog, Ted’

‘I’ve tried to train him but each time I fail,
Being stuck with old Ted is a cruel twist of fate’
So they all looked at Ted, sitting, wagging his tail,
Eating a sausage he’d pinched off a plate.
Then Bill swung his foot in a savage attack
And said ‘Go on Ted, get down the back!’

Bill started drinking then, three times as hard.
As old Ted quietly skulked away.
And found a warm place at the back of the yard,
Where he could quietly pass the day.
And when Marissa went down there to turn off the taps,
No-one at the party heard her collapse.

With a shock she realised the baby was coming,
So she shouted out but no one could hear.
Unable to move, she had to do something,
Then old Ted gave her a lick on the ear.
‘Go and get Bill, boy’, she desperately said,
But this wasn’t Lassie, this was useless old Ted.

‘That useless old Ted, I should have him shot’
Wailed Bill, he was reaching the maudlin stage.
‘He’s by far the worst working dog that I’ve got,
I’m surprised I’ve allowed him to reach this old age.’
Then he told a joke to his friends and his staff,
And they all had a drink and another good laugh.
Meanwhile, down at the back of the yard,
Laughing was far from Marissa’s mind.
She had Ted by the collar and was twisting so hard,
That he couldn’t escape, he just stood there and whined.
But she got some comfort from this simple reaction,
As she worked her way through each contraction.

Then she realised that maybe she could make it through,
With old Ted beside her, taking Bill’s place.
She just needed something to curse and swear to,
And occasionally give her a lick on the face.
And Ted’s breathing was perfect, with no bark or bite,
Bill never could get that panting thing right.

Then the guests started asking ‘where was Bills wife?’
‘As its time they were gone and they wanted to kiss her’.
But Bill was the drunkest he’d been in his life,
And he had forgotten all about poor Marissa.
Then every one gasped and looked in surprise,
As she gracefully returned to say her good-byes.

Few people know what these moments are worth,
The fleeting and inimitable charm.
And beauty of a woman who has just given birth,
With her healthy boy cradled soft in her arms.
The expanse of gardens completed the story,
As the roses burst open in all of their glory.

And wagging his tail there proudly was Ted,
Unaware of the amount of time that elapsed.
‘He looks more like the father’ (a less prudent guest said),
“Than that drunk over there on the verge of collapse!’
And when Bill finally choked at the end of the keg,
Ted found a good place to cock his leg.

So now at this fictional place we call Yanda,
Things are pretty much the same as before.
Baby Edward now plays on the sunlit verandah,
And Bill has promised to drink nevermore.
But Marissa’s alone in the big double bed,
And Bill sleeps out back, with his new equal, Ted.