Skip to main content

Where's Lassie?

Dean Traylor is a freelance writer and teacher who writes about various subjects, including education and creative writing.


When danger lurked
That collie was there
To save the day
And make things fair.

Even in my darkest days
Sitting in the ogre's house
I took solace watching Lassie on TV
Save the kids from
Burning buildings
Roaring rapids
And danger everywhere.

Amazing what that dog could do
A protector of children
A doer of good.


And so I hoped
Lassie would
Jump through that screen
Pull me off that couch
Before that lady's hand
Came down upon me.
Or better yet
Arrive in time
To snatch that broken
Tonka toy
That lady, the ogre,
Always gave me
Before the wheels fell off
And she had an excuse
To hit me across
The face.


Every blow
Every slap
I took it better
Than any five-year-old could take
But I always held hope
That dog on TV
Would come to save the day.

But it never happened
That dog never showed
Beaten and bruised
I kept thinking
Where's Lassie
When you need help
The most?
So I curled up
In the deepest corner of my mind
Where it was safe
And where I'd wait
Until something like Lassie
Could pull me
Out of this ogre's house.
And then,
I'd feel safe
For once in my life.

Who was the Ogre?

This particular poem is one in a series that revolved around an abusive babysitter. I've nicknamed her the "ogre". I really have nothing nice to say about her: She was physically abusive and physically ugly.

Also, she was a sadist. My unsuspecting parents had no idea what happened when they dropped my sister and I off at her house. She placed me on a couch in a dark and reeking living room and stuck my sister in a dangerous crib in the kitchen (near household appliances).

I was not allowed to get off the couch - except for bathroom breaks. With the exception of the black-and-white TV and a few broken toys to play with, there was little for me to do but sit on that couch for seven hours everyday.

To top it off, she was a sadist. If my sister made the slightest sound, she was slapped on the hand or face. If one of the Tonka trucks lost their wheels while I was playing with it (and playing was just turning it around and around on my lap), she slapped me. Often, it was on the hand, but every so often it was to the face or top of the head.

The abuse was not something dramatic, but one wonders if she had the chance she could've taken it further. She had a teenage son, who appeared to be scared of her. What was equally disturbing was that she seemed a little for relieved and elated after her form of discipline.

To this day, I believe that she was a sadist who really enjoyed inflicting pain. Also, I believe that she deliberately gave me toys with loose parts that would fall apart the moment I started playing with them. She'd see a wheel missing or coming off and she would start her brand of entertainment.

What was my escape? The TV was continuously on. And, often, reruns of Lassie played.

Eventually, my parents got wind of what was happening, and we were immediately removed from that environment.

One final note: The ogre's home would eventually be torn down to make way from a strip mall. Many people complain (justifiably so) about eminent domain laws. In this case, the law granted me some revenge.

© 2014 Dean Traylor

Related Articles