Dog Training Part 2
I had a new bus route. This one took me from the South Belgrave road, through the Belgrave reservoir and out onto the main road by the Trestle bridge. I had had quite a few different routes now, but this one was different from all the others. Memories of fishing expeditions with my two older brothers came flooding back. We would walk from Upwey and then spend two or three hours here. I canít ever remember catching any fish, but just sloshing through the mud flats was great, and watching the little Dab Chicks running around on very soft mud was intriguing for me. I had no rubber boots, so I had a loan of my mothers. A wad of paper in the toes made them fit. Also, I filled them up with mud. That was interesting but not for my mother.
All my reminiscing was rudely interrupted one day when this big white Labrador burst out of the scrub and ran alongside barking, trying his hardest to rip the skid rail off the bus. From then on he was there morning and night. He was driving me crazy. I tried pushing him off the road into the scrub when he ran up the side of the bus, but he would just drop behind and then run up the other side. I could not drive fast on this road; it was too narrow with a very narrow entrance to the Auto Camp where I had to slow right down and go through with only inches to spare on both sides. All this suited him very well, but it was not my idea of a beautiful, quiet spot. Now 49 had just been fitted with a seat in what was the parcels area, just across the engine canopy from me. Three girls sat in this seat with one I picked up in the Auto Camp. I asked this girl if she knew this dog.
ďOh yes. Everyone in the Auto Camp knows him. His name is Oscar, Mrs. Jones dog. He is a very friendly, lovely dog. We play with Oscar every night, he joins in any game. He started chasing cars about six months ago, and we are all worried that he will get run over, but how do you stop something like that? It would not be nice to keep him chained up all the time, would it?Ē
Now this girl was looking at me as though she thought I might do something. Hang on a minute here, I thought, I am just a bus driver. But something started ticking over in my brain box. I had been tormenting the other drivers for quite a while now. I had the distance and timing ratio worked out very well. As a matter of fact, I was very good. It would only be a matter of training for Oscar to run up the right hand side of the bus only. If I kept at a steady speed, then Oscar would just lope along. I could judge the distance better this way.
So now it was a waiting game just for him to get in the right position. The time came one afternoon. I was driving past the reservoir and Oscar looked to be just right. This took a lot of concentration you realise, because I had to watch where I was going too. No good ending up in the reservoir and that would take some explaining. I switched off, tension plus as I counted to ten. He galloped up past the back wheels and was striding out alongside the exhaust pipe. Ten, I turned on the ignition. A huge explosion and a big orange flame shot straight under his middle. Oscar disappeared in a big black, rolling cloud of smoke, with a good tinge of orange. Then in quick succession a pair of ears appeared at the top of the black and orange cloud. They were followed by the most terrified pair of eyes I have ever seen. The dog disappeared again. I was getting close to the entrance to the Auto Camp. I had to pull over and stop, I was laughing so much. I couldnít control the bus. I looked into the mirror and all eyes were looking inquiringly at me. They did not have a clue what had just happened.
Three weeks past and I had not seen even a hair of this dog. I had to find out, so I asked the girl. Where is Oscar, I have not seen him for a while? She got quite animated. A strange thing happened about three weeks ago. We were out playing, but Oscar wasnít around, so we went looking for him. We found him in his kennel, shaking as though he was scared stiff. We pulled him out; he was covered in a black sooty stuff. We cleaned him up, put his lead on and dragged him out on the street. It took a while to get him playing, but he was soon back to his old self. But there is one big change, when a car comes by, Oscar heads for his kennel and we have to coax him out again. We donít mind this because he wonít be run over, will he? And Mrs. Jones is thrilled to bits how good it is.
He must be a very smart dog, I thought, he only needed one lesson.