Dog Day Done
The final day of 2011 is one I shall remember for a long time. And not because I won Lotto (still waiting for that call).
We have visitors at the moment – a wonderful family whose husband is busy making our house WAY more livable (got to love builder friends), whose wife is one of my dearest friends, whose kids (ages 6 and 2.5) adore mine and who play hours on end without incident… and who own an ageing Boxer dog named Juke-Box.
So not only did our kids had friends sleeping over, for the first time our Great Dane Axel did too. He was BEYOND excited. I was worried our energetic BOUNCY three-year-old might give the slightly greying 7-year-old a heart attack actually, with his bounding-and-drooling welcome. Juke appeared to take it in his stride however, and they soon settled to some gentle frolicing before being fed and sent to their respective beds.
After catching up with our friends and then heading to bed ourselves, our daughter Violet came a-visiting. She had caught something which caused her to develop a low-grade temperature and feel the need to climb into our bed. Now I adore my kids, and happily share my cuddles whenever they need them, but co-sleeping and I have never been comfortable (ahem) bedfellows. So she slept and I… dozed intermittently. Therefore I woke up like the proverbial wrung-out rag.
It was warm day – the kind of sticky hot day we are getting used to in our Summer of 2011.
We THEN discovered that the dogs were missing. Since at least 5am and possibly since we had tucked them into their beds the night before. We decided they had gone sight-seeing together out of our houseyard (which is not exactly dog-proof at the moment) and would be home soon. Seeing as how Axel gets fed at breakfast AND dinner (hey, he is a BIG boy) I was surprised when 9am came and went with no sign of either pooch.
We called on the two-way to see if anyone had spotted a giant black-and-white dog with a smaller brindle and white buddy anywhere within a five kilometre radius. No luck. We drove to see my cousins, camping on the river nearby to see if they had noticed this pair of rascals. Nada.
Getting slightly alarmed, I decided to go for a look on foot in a paddock near the house. As I trudged south along the fenceline in the escalating heat, I imagined the scenarios.
Axel coaxes Juke to go pretend-hunting (which Axel is expert at) and Juke actually catches something. Gives himself a huge fright. Has a heart attack. Axel watches on dumbly and doesn’t know what to do.
Juke coaxes Axel to show him the local hotspots. Axel agrees and leads Juke straight through barbed wire fence on which Duke’s fancy-schmancy collar gets caught. Axel watches on dumbly and doesn’t know what to do.
Axel promises Juke a huge night on the tiles. Axel steps on taipans in the dark… Juke (not knowing which way is home) sits waiting for someone to find them before it’s too late.
Juke offers to show Axel how the old folk did it in his day… and they promptly run across a herd of wild pigs who mistake the two for pig-hunting dogs …
And… wasn’t there some old Roman tradition where they would sacrifice a brown dog to appease the summer gods… something to do with ‘Dog Days‘…
As you can see, I am best when not left to my own thoughts. I failed to catch sight of any dogs tangled in barbed wire. Or prostrate pooches in their death throes from taipan venom. Or gored by maniac pigs. NOT finding anything was only mildly reasurring. I was imagining how my city friends would enjoy the rest of their visit with us, sans pet pooch. Not so much, I concluded.
I climbed aboard the four-wheel bike and went further afield, scouting more fencelines, gullies, dams and ridges in an effort to locate the two wayward canines.
I have to say that throughout this increasingly panicked search, both my husband and our builder friend remained firm. Mr Incredible maintained the two would ‘eventually come home when they were bloody hungry enough’ while Bel’s hubby appeared mildly relieved at the potential saving in dogfood bills.
We all agreed that there was no more stupid combination of dog breeds than Great Danes and Boxers. What had we been thinking? It was inevitable that our very lovable but completely daft pair of dogs were BOUND to get themselves into trouble once in partnership. I even tweeted something to that effect.
“Two dogs missing. If anyone sees a Great Dane and a Boxer in their travels, pls send them home.
We pulled ourselves together and resolved to put our concerns (well, mine and Bel’s) aside for a few hours. Mid-afternoon I heard our work dogs barking furiously from their enclosures. We called and called… and finally… about 14 hours after disappearing, a giant, muddy black head emerged from a gully with a very sheepish expression.
AXEL!! We yelled out in relief.
But no Duke. Our hearts sank immediately. We noted which way he had come and made plans to set out to search for his older companion – who had clearly not made it unscathed. Then, a flash of brown fur from the opposite direction…
JUKE!! A very subdued Boxer crept into the houseyard without so much as looking at his partner-in-crime.
We studied them both – half reprimanding them for their terrible tardiness, half smothering them in relieved affection.
Their paws were red and sore.
Occasionally their eyes would flicker open from their stupor and we began to wonder…
What this pair had REALLY been up to…
What stories could they tell us of their enormous adventures? You know. If dogs could speak. Although we suspected that with this pair, a lot if ‘DUH’s’ would have been involved…
As we scrubbed layers of mud from their coats and they licked their feedbowls clean like they hadn’t eaten for a week…
We wondered at the ‘hangover’ like behaviour of the pair… the red-rimmed eyes, the staggering gaits, the ‘munchies’, the constant napping.
And pondered the alternate lives of our generally-useless pet dogs.
Two things we know for sure:
1. This pair are staying tied-up tonight.
2. They are so busy snoring they couldn’t care less.
Over and out (in exhaustion) from Granite Glen.
Looking forward to a much more boring 2012.