Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

As the Tail Wags

Life and a Dog

I Ioved, when mom and dad told stories, of growing up in the Netherlands. The ones that intrigued me the most, were the stories of surviving the war years as kids, then teenagers. Because this is International Dog Day, I’m going to tell two stories in a row, one of my mother and her little dachshund, then one of my dad and his black lab.
At the beginning of the war, many of the German soldiers occupying Holland, were older men. They missed their own kids and grandkids, and it was clear they really wished they could go home. It wasn’t very long, before these were being replaced with young men, many little more than teenagers, and they were a far different sort of soldier. They were eager to fight, to control, and many had a mean streak, a mile wide. No one had much use for, and were extremely wary of them.
My mother’s family, had it extra hard during the war. Her father had been killed in a car accident, but he wasn’t driving a car. He was driving a team of horses and wagon. This was way back when there weren’t very many motorized vehicles, and still many horses used in everyday life. A car came over a rise in the road towards the team and wagon, the big horses spooked, and there was a horrible runaway. My mother’s father, my grandfather, died when he was thrown forward over the front of the wagon, where he was trapped between thrashing hooves and the wagon itself. I vividly remember mom telling the story, and how a dark bruise, shaped like a perfect hoofprint appeared on his chest, as he lay in state before the funeral.
My mother had a little dog, a dachshund she adored. In typical, small dog bravado, it was her mighty protector. Her noisy, yappy, little protector. There were three German soldiers, posted very close to the family home. Two were very young, overzealous teens, who were itching to prove what great soldiers they were for Hitler’s army. The third was a much older fellow, missing his family back home. He certainly didn’t want to be part of the war. Well, my mother’s little dachshund took exception to the young soldiers. Maybe it was their threatening posturing, maybe he sensed something about them. Whatever the reason or trigger, he got away from my mom’s hold, and went at those teen boys. They may have had guns in their hands, yet they were still boys, not men at all. That spunky, little dog charged right up to them, barking his fool head off. The teens responded, by swiftly pointing their guns at him. Quick as could be, my mother, probably about twelve years old or so at the time, ran after and scooped her angry dachshund into her arms, then yelled at the young soldiers to leave him alone. Without hesitation, the guns now pointed at her, and she bravely faced them down.
Now, my mother was incredibly shy for most of my childhood, and only really came into her own, when she and dad opened up greenhouses. To imagine her looking down the barrels of rifles and standing her ground to save her dog, is barely imaginable, yet that’s what she did.
My guess is she would’ve lost her life that day, if it wasn’t for the old soldier. That old fellow who wished for home and no war, spoke up. It was his voice of reason that controlled the two hotheads. He told them to not be so ridiculous, to lower their guns, as she was but a little girl. It took a bit of convincing, but they finally listened. The old man nodded for her to go, and she did, though not without glaring at those, who had threatened her little dog. When it came to animals, she was always fiercely protective.
Tomorrow, dad’s dog story.

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB