by Leo Doucet

On January 28,1944 I joined the Canadian Army’s wartime "Active Force". Before long I was stationed on the Provincial Experimental Farm grounds located about three miles South of downtown Fredericton. There were about 150 boys between the ages of 17 and 18 there, all in the Army’s "Canadian Technical Training Corps".

We were going to the Fredericton High School and taking one hour of military training each day after school and all morning on Saturdays. We were allowed out two nights a week and would try to get the bus into town as soon as we could after supper on those evenings.

I was on the bus with a few of the other boys one evening in March when two young girls, one carrying a small puppy dog got on. The girl carrying the pup sat on the empty seat next to me. We got talking about the cute puppy and I managed to get her name before the bus got to town.

About three weeks later I happened to meet the same two young ladies in town and of course I asked about the dog. The dog was doing fine but the girl’s mother had had enough of the pup. They lived on the third floor of a large house and the mother could not take the pup out every time it needed to go out while her daughter was in school. She told me she was going to place an add in the paper as she had to get rid of the dog.

That interested me and I was invited over to her house. It so happened that Easter was about a week away and we all had been granted a 96 hour pass. I had my railway ticket and told Sadie that I would buy her dog and come for it on Thursdy afternoon before taking the train home at 6:30 PM. The cost was $5.00 and included a collar, lead line and a box of dogfood. The first commercial dog food I had ever seen.

The train was packed, it was the same every time a holiday came up and the troops were given passes. This night every seat was occupied. Where the seats came together there was someone sitting on top. In the inverted V formed by the seats being back to back there was another serviceman crouched under. The isles were so full the Conductor and the Military Police could hardly get through.

I had been fortunate and had gotten a seat. There were four “CWAC” (Canadian Women’s Army Corps) ladies and a young lady attending Normal School (Teacher’s College) sitting with me in the two facing seats. In those days every person in uniform on every train had to show a leave pass to the Military Police who patrolled every train. One of the CWAC’s did not have a pass and was therefore AWOL (Away without official leave), And I knew that animals were not allowed in the coaches.

When the Conductor and the MP’s got close, the young lady from the Normal School put on her coat and placing the Puppy inside her blouse closed her coat over it. We all showed our tickets to the Conductor who passed on. The MP asked for my pass and after killing as much time as I could I handed it to him. The next girl did the same thing. The third girl couldn’t find hers and was about to be arrested when she looked into her purse once more and produced it. The last girl who did not have a pass was frightened and in tears and told the MP she didn’t know where she had put it. The Conductor and the other MP were now several seats further on and while our MP was not pleased, he told the CWAC that he understood how sometime a pass could be mislaid. He then left. When he was a little distance away we all laughed at our good fortune, all that is except the young lady with the dog. She opened her coat and took the dog out from inside her blouse. She said she had almost given away the secret for as she was handing her ticket to the Conductor she had suddenly felt her stomach get warm and wet.

I arrived at my home in Dalhousie around 5 AM the next morning and Mom woke my young brother Albert up. When he came downstairs and saw the dog he was the happiest little boy in town. He was then four an a half years old. Albert kept that dog for many years and I suppose he had as much fun with him as I had had with another dog named Sport some years before. He also called his dog Sport. This dog had a peculiar shaped lower jaw. He had once chased a car and had bitten into the spinning tire. As a result the front lower right side of his jaw was a little out of line.

And the girls whom I had met with the puppy?. Well I got to know them well. One evening when it was my turn to be in town again one of them, Mary Ann Scully, introduced me to another young lady who was with her. Her name was Opal, now my wife of 51 years. We still occasionally see Sadie Fawcett, she is married and lives but a short distance from us here in Fredericton.

The End

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