“C’mon Duncan, bedtime,” I said to my Cairn Terrier as I opened the back door and turned on the light.  Then I turned and started to wash a few dishes.

Now if you don’t know what a Cairn Terrier is think Toto in the Wizard of Oz.

Originally bred in Scotland as a farm dog to kill vermin such as otters, badgers and foxes they generally are not vicious and are gentle and loving with people but as an old Scot who was judging a dog show said they’re, “A wee bunch of murderers”.  Not quick to pick a fight with another dog I’ve never seen one back away from a brawl.  Well terrier people will know what I mean.

Highly intelligent but very independent and headstrong little guys who will dominate a person if allowed.

I had just turned from the door when I heard snarling and growling such as I had never heard before.  I lived in a semi-rural area with a lot of wild animals around and I was afraid that Duncan had tangled with one.

I grabbed my cane and hobbled outside and saw Duncan fighting with..what?

All I could see was that he was on top of something that was silvery gray and I feared it was a cat.

The animals were jammed against the fence and fighting fiercely when I saw that Duncan was on top of a ‘possum and a big one at that.

There was no way to separate them as Duncan was in for the kill and paid no attention to me.

Finally he “killed” the ‘possum and oh! the strutting and swaggering but then the ‘possum moved and the fight started again.  Again Duncan killed it and was extremely proud of himself until again the ‘possum moved.

Well, Duncan “killed” the same ‘possum three times that night showing that he was a true terrier, a vicious and fearless fighter and killer of anything that came into HIS yard.

Now everyone knows that ‘possums won’t fight and everyone is wrong, they can be, and are, quite vicious with a huge mouth full of teeth but that night the ‘possum had met his match.

After the last “kill” I managed to get Duncan into the house, after a last sniff of the “dead” possum and a contemptuous sneeze.  Of course the ‘possum left during the night a bit the worse for wear but Duncan was one proud little guy.  Almost as proud as I was of him.

Now Duncan is no longer with me and I am too ancient and decrepit to get another dog but I’ll always remember the many Cairns and other dogs I shared my life with and their adventures.

I lived and loved dogs for many years and found that many people miss out on one of life’s greatest pleasures if they don’t have a dog to love.

— Tom from Solomons, MD