Animal Stories from

By T. Stokes
February 2012

A small gem of good news was swallowed up today by the large swathe bad news headlines about yet more wars in the British newspapers.

But this good news story is based in 2004 in the north of England and tells of a struggling farmer John Macdonald, who was troubled by a band of traveling foreign gypsies camping on his land, caravans don't have dustbins so the site was rapidly becoming a sea of litter and rubbish.

It was John's habit to walk round his small farm daily to anxiously see if anything had happened during the night, and as it was getting light he saw a man acting suspiciously standing on the bridge over the river which adjoined his farm. He then saw a man from the gypsy camp furtively throw a bundle into the river and quickly disappear.

John saw the bundle moving and barking, and acting on impulse he stripped his outer clothes and dived in to the river, and pulled out the bag.

Reaching home he realised that of the four large cross breed puppies one had died, and over the next few weeks he found homes for them all except for Sam, the puppy who just would not leave his side. When John would sit in his armchair Sam would sleep over his feet and would wait outside the bathroom while John was inside.

Eventually the gypsies moved on and time passed and like many British farmers who felt betrayed by government policies, John struggled to make a living and it was during the freezing cold spell in Feb 2012 that as John made his nightly check on his farm before turning in that he slipped on an icy wooden style he was climbing over and knocked himself unconscious.

John's wife kept looking at the clock, his nightly check of the farm took 15 - 20 minutes but he had been gone over an hour. Whatever could have happened? As the clock showed 2 hours missing she got on her coat, took a powerful torch and woke her eldest son to come and make a check.

She was calling her husband's name and could hear Sam barking. It was difficult to tell where the barking came from as the sound from the new motorway nearby interfered with Sam's barks, but they followed the barking to find John laying unconscious by the wooden style with Sam stretched out on top of him.

Getting John back to the warm farm house they called the doctor, who said that for John to lay out on the ground in this freezing weather he was lucky not to have caught hyperthermia, and for this he said you need to thank Sam who had been found laying stretched out over John's body.

Fate is a strange thing. Little did John think when he waded into the river to rescue the puppies that one would one day rescue him too.

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