The day Toby was put to sleep.It was bound to happen one day. He was such a sweet little puppy. His mum, was partJack Russell and part something big and black. His dad could have been any one of thefarm dogs. He was black and tan and quite lovely.The farmer’s wife took to him straight away and he became her special favourite. Fedwith extra special snacks and treats he grew bigger than his brothers and sisters. Hiscoat was sleek and shiny and muscles bulged in all the right places. It was just a shamethat he had short stubby legs, Somehow his grand entrance was always let down by hiscomical look and waddling walk.He loved the freedom of the farm and he hunted every one of the 300 acres. He was agood ratter, being both brave and strong. People never quite understood how hemanaged to catch all the rabbits that he did. Somehow those legs propelled him fastenough to catch the bunnies! Or, more likely, it was his not inconsiderable intelligencethat kept the rabbit population under control.What a perfect life Toby led. Loved unconditionally by the farmer’s wife, free to explorewherever and whenever he wanted and all the rats and rabbits he needef to amusehimself with.As always life wasn't quite that perfect. One of the farmer's sons liked nothing better than to tease. He would tease people until they cried and animals until they broke. Thatwas to be Toby's fate. Right from the time he could open his eyes the farmer’s sonmade his life hell. He poked him with sticks. He shouted at him and his favourite trickwas to drive poor Toby into a corner and laugh as he whimpered and shook. He wouldpull himself into a tiny ball and frantically try and hide in any nook and cranny he couldfind.The farmer's son was of course an angel when anybody else was around, The farmer’swife would wonder why Toby would tremble when he heard voices outside but she put itdown to his unknown breeding and loved him all the more as she tried to calm himdown.Usually the victims remained quivering wrecks all their lives. Toby didn't. He was smallbut strong. He knew how to fight and he knew how to kill. He was frightened of only onething. One day that fear left him.The farmer's son came into the kitchen carrying some milk fresh from that morningsmilking. He saw Toby and placed the jug on the table. Picking up a tea towel he deftlytwisted it into a knotted terror tool, one of his favourites. He swaggered towards Tobycasually swinging the towel from side to side. Toby knew what was coming and hestarted to tremble. He frantically searched for somewhere to run as had done so manytimes before.