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U3A Writing: A Bleeding Dog

Douglas Smithson tells of a small incident involving a dog which occurred while he was teaching at an approved school for boys.

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Devon & Exeter Boy's School
An Approved School in Exeter. 1954/55

The carpenter's shop, the builder's workshop and the schoolroom were all completed and in use. On the opposite side of the path we were halfway through building a new block of six garages. The ten boys of the building department of this approved school in Exeter, were all busily at work on their separate jobs. Some were bricklaying, some concreting and some fetching the necessary materials.

On our arrival at the site, soon after the morning parade, some of the boys had pointed out to me a small, black-and-white terrier wandering around the site. They had tried to make a pet of it, but the dog did not reciprocate and had wandered away.

Time passed, when about an hour later one of the boys near the mixer called out for me to join them quickly. The cry was duplicated by others. So I stopped what I was doing and rushed over to them, followed by all the other boys of the department.

There on the ground, gasping, was the terrier. Blood was covering one of its back legs and could be seen pumping out of the inside of the leg. What had to be done?

One boy ran to the headmaster; another to Mr. Levesley (the deputy head). I slid some sacking under the dog and as carefully as I possibly could carried the animal to the sick bay, at the same time keeping my thumb on the place where I could see the blood pumping out. This seemed to stop the flow of blood. At the sick bay the head phoned a local vet, and he told us we had to get the dog to the surgery as quickly as possible.

Using the head's car, with the deputy driving, we were soon at the surgery. There the vet took the dog from me and disappeared into the surgery. We waited outside for only about five minutes. Then he told us to come in.

There on his table was the dog, fast asleep. The vet pointed out to us a very tiny puncture on the inside of the dog's back leg. This was the spot on which I had kept pressure in order to stop the bleeding. He went on to say that the puncture was caused by some form of wire no more than an eighth of an inch in diameter. By some extraordinary chance the wire had also punctured an artery at the same time. If the boy had not spotted the dog and we not able to stop the blood flowing, the dog would have died in a very short time.
During the evening the dog's owner came to the school to thank us for saving their pet's life. The boys of the department were immensely chuffed.


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