It was the summer of 1991 I think. I had graduated from Liverpool Polytechnic the previous August and was still living in Liverpool and signing on there whilst studying part-time towards a Masters Degree in Education. At the time, I was living in Toxteth with my girlfriend who, later, became my wife and who, much, much later, became my ex-wife.
I remember it was a hot day and we were walking hand in hand along what I think is called Prince’s Avenue to sign on at the DSS office on High Park St. about half a mile or so away as I recall. As usual, I was smoking a cigarette as I ambled along and when we reached the point where we had to cross the road, I saw that it was almost finished and casually flicked the still-lit remains down to the ground in front of me. Unfortunately, I happened to do this at the very moment an old woman with an even older Yorkshire Terrier, neither of whom I’d seen, passed beside me on my right.
I watched in horror as the glowing cigarette end tumbled through the air in a shallow arc and nestled gently into the long fur on this poor pooch’s back where it immediately began smoldering heavily leaving an increasingly thick wisp of smoke trailing behind it. It was a oddly fascinating thing to watch for a few seconds and I do recall I was temporarily transfixed by it. Sadly, before I could do anything about it, my girlfriend, still holding my hand and having spotted a gap in the traffic, pulled me across the road.
Now focused entirely on not getting run over, my attention was elsewhere for a few crucial seconds and when I looked back the old woman and the burning dog had gone around a corner and out of sight. To this day, I’ve absolutely no idea what happened next. I expect there was a yelp at some point but there was far too much traffic to hear it.
Anyway, this was nearly thirty years ago so the poor dog and, most likely its owner too, will be both long gone by now but this is a confession so I would just like to say I am really, really sorry. I love dogs and I would never deliberately hurt one unless it was actually trying to eat me.