When four of my cousins were kids we often got banished to my aunt Francis' home in the tiny town of Gretna Manitoba for a couple of weeks. There was nothing to do there but visit the corner store, swing on her giant bench swing, eat strawberries and avoid the devil dog that was Tippy.
Tippy had a grudge against the world and all the creatures in it and was ancient before we were born. We never teased him or threw things at him but that didn't matter. Tippy was pure spite. He would chase us on our bikes and through the yards despite the fact that with his little pudgy legs he couldn't catch much.
Woe be it to anyone who fell in Tippy's path, however. He had a grip that wouldn't let up until you used a broom as a wedge or a club. He terrorized both our days and our nights.
One day we were doing our usual running from Tippy after our aunt had told us to take him for a walk. We tried to run ahead of him so that he would get lost. I think he suspected our intentions all along and was extra determined to draw blood. In total fear for our lives from this toaster sized dog, we ran into the green house thinking we were safe.
Soon Tippy was scratching on the door. It was like something out of a horror movie. I remember a lot of screaming going on with most of it coming from me. In total panic, we looked for another escape route and saw an open window on the other side of the greenhouse. From there it was easy to go over the yard fence to freedom. We could leave Tippy trapped in the greenhouse all day.
Here is where the truth and legend diverge. My sister and cousins will say they had no idea what happened next but I know. I saw it and so did they. Tippy, trying to get through the window, got his collar wrapped around the window latch and started to choke himself. Even as he made that gurgling sound he still fought to get at us.
At anytime (as we watched him struggle) anyone of us could have went in the greenhouse to help him but at that moment of truth we all looked at each other and ran as fast as we could away from the house.
That night we were sat down for some sad news...Tippy had indeed strangled himself to death. It was a terrible accident (one we could not deny nor prevent). We even had to attend his funeral all the while trying not to break into laughter. Our demon was gone and through our inaction we were rewarded with one of the best summers ever.
To anyone that asks, I tell them that Tippy was depressed and wanted to commit suicide. I don't have any reason to believe that wasn't the case.
Burn in Hell Tippy, burn in Hell.