I can totally relate to my mother now. Whenever I ran off or got lost in a crowd as a small child, she'd always say she aged 10 years through worry.
Last night, whilst walking the mutts, Phoenix went off after a rabbit. This is a pretty normal occurrance, and he normally wanders back panting and drooling when he's had his little gallop. This time, 5 minutes passed, and there was no sign of him. Not even the sound of him crashing through the undergrowth could be heard. I started to worry. 15 minutes of searching and yelling, and calling and whistling and looking in all the thickets and still no sign. 30 minutes passed, Sahara tracking frantically like a deranged Springer Spaniel, and I started to really panic. My mother had called not a day ago to mention all the Tiger snake bites local dogs had received. I knew from the amount of rabbits around there would be traps about. There were cows in adjoining paddocks, and I know how happy farmers are to shoot any trespassing creature disturbing their herd. I also know Phoenix is a lunatic, and doesn't display much intelligence when it comes to getting in sticky situations. I've had to cut him from blackberry bushes many times, when there's a perfectly good path not 3 feet away.
As the realization hit there was only around 20 minutes of light left, I really started worrying. There were very busy roads not far, and we had no way of knowing which direction he had headed in. D and I split up, Sahara running madly between us both, clearly upset she couldn't find her brother. We eventually met up, and decided to head back to the car, both wondering what we could do if we didn't spot him on the way back. By this stage, we'd covered around 6 or 7 kilometers, and both questioned his common sense to return to where we'd started. As I was about to admit defeat and sit howling in the bushes for my lost little man, I heard a yell from D. As I craned my neck to see if I could see Phoenix, I noticed a shadow on the other side of the river. The Yarra river. As in, around 50 metres wide, gushing from the 2 days of rain we'd just received. He heard my frantic yell (Phoenix, I mean) and started lunging towards the bank we were on, which was about 15 metres above him, and all that way away - and boy, the dog who can't stand getting his feet wet and wont even go in the bath swam his little heart out. As he started gaining on us, he hit the current from the river, and was rapidly being taken downstream. As D scrambled down the bank, I ran further down, through the brambles and prickles and loose earth, and slid down the hill to meet him. The poor boy was so tired he couldn't manage the climb up the hill, so I half dragged, half carried him, sobbing into his soaking wet fur. I'm such a sook.
We didn't know whether to smack him for running off, or hug him for being safe, so we compromised on cuddling him and yelling at the same time. Idiot dog. As we slowly started our way back to the car, I wondered how he'd got to the other side of the river - surely he hadn't crossed the massive suspension bridge, run through the car park, and down the bank to wait for us? As I reached the car, it soon became evident he'd done just that - there was masses of white foamy drool all over my door handle, where he'd clearly been asking to climb in.
He really is an absolute idiotic mix of common sense and insanity. But boy, did he sleep well last night. So did I, with him cuddled up in a headlock under the blankets with me. I swore I'd wake up with perfectly white hair after our little adventure.
I can't think why people say I'm too attached my dogs.
Tin Tin Liston: August 1998 – 15 May 2014 - Yesterday my beautiful boy left us; he didn't quite make 16 years here. This photo from just five days ago is the story of an old dog's goodbye to his lo...
4 years ago