When I was young, I delivered the Hamilton Spectator in my neighbourhood. By far and away the most memorable customer of mine was a family that lived three or four doors up the road at the end of a long, long lane.
If you turned left at the end of the lane, you ended up at the Cedarvale Horseradish Factory, but if you turned right you ended up at Burf’s house.
Burf was the archetypical wiry evil dog. All those stories that have been written about kids breaking into the local junkyard and being chased by a mangy, barky, ferocious dog were based on Burf.
Never has there been a more onomatopoeiac dog than Burf.
Delivering the paper to his house involved dismounting from my bicycle at the end of the lane, positioning the bike for optimum rentry should Burf appear. Next I had to creep, silently, along Burf’s driveway, ending up at a breezeway separating the garage from the house proper; in the breezeway was a section of furnace pipe that was the final destination for the newspaper.
The breezeway was also Burf’s favourite hiding place, so the actual paper drop-off process involved a complicated dash, shove, and run. And if Burf was around, awake, and ornery — about 10% of the time — the “run” was a mad dash back to the bicycle, and a frantic ride back to the road, with Burf running along beside threatening to jump up and devour me whole all the while.
I imagine that Burf is dead now, either due to old age (he would be in his thirties now, I presume) or because he was put down after eating subsequent paper carriers. He will not be missed.