The Biter Bit

May 2, 2012


Captain Andrew McDougall was the Adjutant of the Unit and the epitome of a prissy, prim, puritan old lady from uptown Edinburgh. Rightly proud of his Scottish heritage but extremely ostentatious and pompous about it, he would wear full highland dress to go shopping on Saturday morning. Andrew professed-frequently- a liking for all things Scottish such as haggis, skirley, porridge and white puddings.

He had a Corgi which was the nastiest, most bad-tempered, bloodyminded,fattest, porcine, little canine I have ever known. I hated that dog with an unnatural passion. By and large, Corgis are not blessed with good nature but lacking exercise, and overly spoiled by their owners, they can be positively vicious. This rogue, pampered unmercifully, could hardly walk due to lack of activity. It was drowning in a bottomless pit of misguided love.

The mutt had a highly developed sense of meanness. It also seemed to believe, with apparent good reason, that there was no misdemeanour for which Andrew would chastise it. This coincided with my own opinion. The dog was on to good thing because his master would invariably speak out in support of its attacks on unwary visitors or at least justify its efforts at unprovoked assaults as “just doing his job, the wee darling!” As far as the owner was concerned the dog could do no wrong.

As Chief Clerk, I would have to go into Andrew’s office several times a day to deliver and collect documents and correspondence. The dog would snap and bite at my ankles, even when Andrew was present, but as I always wore heavy boots and anklets it did not draw blood. When the dog actually bit the Padre I was determined that it would get its comeuppance.

The members of Church of Scotland did not have a military chaplain but were administered to by the Reverend McPherson, a mild, sweet old gentlemen in his seventies. He was not infirm but I can remember how translucent the skin on his hands was and I wondered at the time if I would ever live to be that old.

One day he came to visit the Adjutant. He knocked, then opened the door – but Andrew was not there. The Corgi was.

It leapt up and badly gnashed his hand and wrist. We had a fretful few minutes trying to stem the flow of blood without stitches.

Earlier that day, while Andrew was still on the premises, Corporal Leitch had returned from a course in the north of Scotland bringing back, at Andrew’s request, three white puddings. The Adjutant waxed lyrical about the culinary excellence of the “wee, white, timorous puddings” that he would have for supper that evening. However, until he had time to take them to the Officer’s Mess later, the puddings would remain on a side table in his office.

As soon as the Padre had left to get medical attention I went into Andrew’s office to set the scene. I thought that his passion for white puddings just might override the dogmatic assertions that the Corgi could do no wrong. It was worth a shot.

After shaking the dog free from my trouser leg I placed a chair conveniently against the side table, took out the three puddings, ripped the bag, and savaged each of the puddings beyond redemption. I threw a couple of scraps to the Corgi who gulped them down and looked for more. It took only a few seconds for the beast to realise that from the chair it could reach the table and the puddings. I closed the door of the office and went back to my own.

What happened after Andrew’s return was not too clear, since his shouting had a hysterical quality about it, but the Corgi never appeared in the building again.

2 Responses to “The Biter Bit”


  1. So…a talented stage manager as well. A man for all seasons, as it were.

  2. Robert Davidson Says:

    Keep stroking! I love it. Thank you.


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