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22 January 2021

Devil Dog

Tommy with palisade in the background
I grew up in a small village in rural NSW, Australia. Sometimes I would hear a strange howling through the night, it would set off the dogs in the village and they would all bark frantically at whatever was howling. It was a spooky sound and really freaked me out. It was not a dog, not a fox, or a dingo. 

Fast forward to 2000. I was a married woman living in the same house with my husband and kids. We had two dogs and four cats. In the early a.m. hours I was woken by a frantic cat fight outside our bedroom window on the veranda. 

The veranda was enclosed by a waist high palisade. Sometimes our cats would sleep on the old couch out there. I thought nothing of the cat fight but my husband jumped out of bed and raced outside. He saw a huge dog trotting off down the road with our cat Tommy hanging from its mouth. Tommy looked to be dead. He wasn't moving. 

He ran after the dog, throwing stones and rocks at it. Lucky he was a good shot, what would I have done if it were me trying to save Tommy. The dog dropped the cat and trotted away unconcerned. It was a big animal with spots on its rear end, but it wasn't a Dalmatian or any recognizable breed. We asked around, no one in the town knew of a dog matching that description. It appeared to have simply entered town from one direction and left town by the other direction, passing our house in the night , and looking over the palisade to see a sleeping cat, probably an easy dinner.

How big does a dog need to be to pick up a good size male cat, have it fight for its life while gripped in its mouth and then jump the fence with ease? Typical dogs will shake a cat and kill it within seconds. This was not a typical dog.

My husband sadly approached the body of Tommy. Thankfully he was alive, he was breathing. He was OK. Suffering shock and very afraid. No blood,  he wasn't injured. 

I never again ignored the sound of a cat fight. And after that the cats were safely kept inside at night. Only for my husband we would have woken the  next day to find one of our cats inexplicably missing. 

We never saw the devil dog again. 

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