When I was 4, I had a pony. His name was Peter Pony and he was as old as the day was long.

He was a gentle old man, who would let us clamber all over him and brush his gritty, grey coat while feeding him handfuls of Mum’s flowers.

One day I woke up to find Peter the Pony had disappeared. Mum and Dad told me that he went to Heaven and was not coming back. It was not until later, when I learnt that Heaven was not a place a couple of suburbs over, that I knew that indeed Peter had perished on that cold winter’s night.

Then I had some questions.

 width= (The famous Mr Ed)

What transpired was thus. Peter was not well and took a turn for the worse. My parents called the vet and by the time the vet arrived, all he could do was call the time of death. Which was midnight. This dramatic turn of events left my parents with a bit of a situation on their hands. They needed to dispose of the body before dawn’s break.

After tossing about several ideas, Dad called a mate who had a ute and together with Mum, the mate and the vet, they hauled poor Peter onto the tray and carted him off the to dump. Which apparently was entirely kosher.

Then they paid the vet.

Thanks for nothing.

(Although to be honest, if I had to get out of bed at midnight to visit a dead pony, I would like a bit of cash for my trouble too. Remember, this was before the invention of mobile telephone devices).

And so began my foray into heartbreak regarding pet ownership. But back then, I didn’t know the real reason my parents were weeping.

Which was over the bill.

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