I was thinking, if you wouldn't mind, about deviating from the wonderful world of gaming to tell you a story about something more close to home. Or close to my place of study at least. Those of you who recognize the name "Selwyn Froggit" (of which there are very few, I am certain) will know that he was a character in an obscure British comedy program aired during the 70's called "Oh No...It's Selwyn Froggit!" the role of Selwyn being played by 'Bill Maynard'. The Show featured his "Bungling exploits", as Wikipedia so gracefully puts it, whilst he wandered about a Men's Club (Don't ask, it's British) in a state of addled intoxication. For the two of you that actually remember the show, it remains a good measurement of how poor comedy was in the 1970's. Surprisingly, that really doesn't have a lot to do with the story I am about to share with you, but I hope you've learnt something.
The real story begins at around 3:00pm as I wandered out of a brain-numbing lesson only to see a mid-sized white colored Staffy, without a collar, running about like a kid at Christmas as people began to descend upon their lunchboxes and produce some well-earned food. From what I could see, the dog didn't fully understand that he would not be receiving a crumb of these items. I am what would be described as a 'Dog Person' and this may or may not be baffling to those of an opposite persuasion (or Cat People, as they are known), but I took pity on the poor bastard. I went and filled a small bucket with water and allowed him a drink, he accepted enthusiastically whilst I surveyed him, deciding whether to put my trust in this ugly, possibly rabid mammal. Not surprisingly, it took me about 4 seconds to sit down next to him and give him a scratch behind the ears. Considering the fact I was the only person on the entire campus to even acknowledge him, much less give him a drink, I was instantly his favorite person.
Looking through my own lunchbox, I was disappointed to see that I had no 'dog friendly' food in my possession. I settled on either feeding him some mandarin, or a muesli bar. On presenting the mandarin I was met with something dog owners will be familiar with, the tilt of the head followed by the "Excuse me, Wtf are you doing?" look when you feed them something clearly inadequate. It would have to be the muesli bar then, his interest piqued when I crinkled the wrapper, only to be disappointed with its oat based structure. This time, and I might just be crazy, his head tilted again only to be followed by a look of sympathy. Yes. I meant to write sympathy there. He could see that I was trying my best, and despite being surrounded by students carrying biscuits, sandwiches and cakes of ever shape and size, he took the muesli bar and he ate it. All of it. I was both impressed and thankful as well as slightly bemused at how this dog, tired, lonely, thirsty and hungry, without a collar or any distinguishable sign of identification was showing sympathy to me. But again, I might be crazy.
Now, this dog wasn't all sympathy and rainbows, I had my work cut out for me taking this stray on as my responsibility. Stopping him from rummaging in every bag, bin, classroom and any other confined space was quite a job and by now other students had gathered and were staring at him, voicing the same answer-less questions that I had been asking myself 30 minutes prior: "Where did he come from?", "Whose is he?" etc. etc. One question however made me think. "What's his name?" asked one of the blond morons with a $400 fringe. 'Good point, I better come up with one', I thought internally. All eyes were on me, considering this animal was now 'mine' according to half the college. "Selwyn Froggit...his name will be Selwyn Froggit". There was a confused pause as the twenty-or-so onlookers processed this. Choruses of "What?" and "Nah, that's a shit name" soon flooded from every direction. Not that it mattered, the presence of this dog, now accompanied by a name, became the latest news around the campus.
'Selwyn' spread like wildfire. People who had no idea who I even was, knew that lovable Staffy as 'Selwyn'. For a short time, I was a king, or rather, living vicariously as king through the dog which by now had become more popular than I could ever hope of being. I again mused over the fact that this dog seemed to own me rather than the opposite. Regardless, Selwyn was growing on me, and we formed quite the team. I'd managed to make him sit on command and on infrequent occasions offer a paw for a 'shake'. Everyone found this exceptionally cute, even some of the more attractive girls stirred from their phone-texting induced daze to say hello, not to me unfortunately, but Selwyn was loving it. In less than an hour and a half he had gone from being ragged, hungry and avoided into royalty. I was happy just to go along for the ride.
The saying "All good things must come to an end" couldn't be truer in this circumstance. The next class was looming, and the responsibility of keeping him safe descended. There was a veterinary clinic about 400m up the road and it was clear that he would have to be taken there, to see if he was micro-chipped and if his owners were in a database somewhere. With much chagrin I took the unknowing Selwyn out of the college grounds and began the 400 meter journey, trying desperately to keep Selwyn, who had discovered by this time an affinity for anything dangerous and life-threatening, off the road and away from oncoming traffic. Upon entering a small, but cozy air conditioned clinic it dawned on me how much I would miss Selwyn. The next five minutes were a blur as he was passed over, scanned and a match was found for his owners. He certainly didn't live here; he had come from miles and miles away. 'That sounds like him' I was about to say out loud before I realized how insane that would sound to the nice lady behind the front desk, who, for all she was concerned, knew he had a family somewhere and I was just some stranger who had brought him in off the street. He was attached to a lead, and forgive me for this cliché, but without a word of a lie, he looked back over his shoulder, just before he went through the doors into the back room to be eventually returned to who I assume were a nice family in the suburbs, and ran back towards me to say goodbye. I went down on my knees, and looked him in the eye, scratched behind his ears and for a second there lost my presence of mind and said simply "I'm gonna’ miss you Selwyn". I rose up to greet the baffled face of the lady behind the counter eying me strangely, and with that, I turned and left.
I didn't cry, but I felt like it, I couldn't look back and I walked the entire way back to class with my head down. He was a good dog, and I'll always remember him fondly.
Oh yeah, his real name was 'Ace', not that I'll ever call him that. Even now I chuckle thinking about his real family, watching him totally non-responsive to their calls. Not knowing that the only way he would ever respond is if they called him by the name of a British comedy character from the 1970's.
God bless him. read