Bad Dog on Good Friday (427)

by Max Akroyd

Most of the time this life is sweet completeness. But, it has to be said, when it goes wrong it can be pretty unpleasant, gory stuff.

Unforseen events today knocked my plans over like so many skittles. The last thing I want to do is taint your Easter with my small but sorry tale. I’ve typed the ugly bit in white, so if you want to feel the downside of smallholding highlight the space below, otherwise feel free to admire the harvest below that! 

Today we had a visit from a stray dog. A friendly, black, curly creature with a purple collar. She woofed at the goats and then went off to play with the dogs across the road. She looked owned so we rang around a few neighbours to see if she was known to them. She wasn’t, so I readied the car to take her down to the Mairie, where such things are dealt with in rural France. It was at this point I saw her standing in the pigs’ enclosure surrounded by the muddied, lifeless forms of our guinea fowl.

It didn’t get any better. As I went to collar her I could see that the wrecked birds were still alive and I had to dispatch them myself and quickly. Experienced keepers of animals will identify straight away that I should never have left a stray dog unguarded even if  I thought our enclosures were secure.  

I used to think that farmers who shot dogs were brutal. I don’t any more. And I couldn’t help thinking how big and heavy the birds were as I bagged them for disposal. The dog was contained in a barn to be taken away by the nice lady dog warden. Another life randomly and needlessly extinguished.


By the time all that nasty business was concluded the day had limped aimlessly to a conclusion. As garden therapy I went to the polytunnel and assembled a small salad to go with tea.



All but the lettuce (sown in October) represented an “in-year” harvest, sown on 19 January directly into the polytunnel beds. For the record: coriander, lambs lettuce, chervil, rocket, beet leaves, mizuna and leaf chicory.

Onwards and upwards.