The third thing…
You know how some people are superstitious? Umbrellas inside, walking under ladders, etc.
Heard the one about bad things happening in threes? It’s big in my family. We usually manage to keep going til we have some sort of multiple of three fulfilled for the Gods of Superstition anyway.
So it was last week, as I recovered my equilibrium after being away for three-day break and losing (then finding) both my phone and my camera bag. I should have known that a THIRD thing was on its way, right?
Nope. Not me.
As I organised and anticipated the arrival of my wayward camera bag on Monday, I was blissfully ignorant of what was about to take place.
The kids arrived home from school, did homework and romped around as normal. And, as darkness began to fall, I called out for them to make sure their chores were done…
Are you lunchboxes out of your school bags? Yes Mum!
Are the ducks fed? Yes Mum!
Are the puppies put away in their kennel for the night? Insert long silence…
They aren’t here Mum….
What do you MEAN they aren’t here?
We haven’t seen them all afternoon – since we got home.
Well what about Axel?
Haven’t seen him either!
And all three were gone.
Cal looked all around the horse paddock. Nothing.
Mr I checked the AI paddock and river. Nothing.
I took the ute down the river, along an old road stopping every 50 metres or so to call out. Nothing.
‘They’ll come back – remember Axel did the same thing with Juke Box,” he said.
I tried not to worry. Not to think of what trouble one huge (but aging ) pooch and two little ruffians could get into around here. In the dark.
Wild pigs. Brown snakes. Dingoes. Yes, that not-thinking-about-it was working well for me…
After the kids were in bed I took our 4WD and began my another search – along roadsides (in case one of them had been hit by a passing vehicle), around nearby dams (maybe one was bogged in the very muddy edges of half-empty waterholes), where the creek meets the river (again wondering if the muddy edges of our fast-dropping river had hung onto a weary giant dog). Sweeping the headlights over paddocks to see if three sets of beady eyes were looking my way – wondering which way home was.
I gave up and went home. I left all the lights on and slept fitfully, waking at every noise in case (by some miracel) one or all had returned…
At 5.15am we started again. Mr I took the ute to search further downstream, convinced they had wandered further away than we guessed. I called and called from the houseyard, hoping they might hear from wherever they might be and just COME HOME.
As I gave up, climbed the stairs and walked down hallway to wake the kids to get ready for school, Cal called out.
“Hey Amanda – check this out.”
I hurried back to the deck. To see this…
Oh. Em. Gee. Axel. Muddy, exhausted but in one piece. He could hardly stand up and his toes were red and swollen… if only he could talk!
No sign of puppies though. *sigh* That would have been too much to ask for…
I put some breakfast out for the big guy with a half-happy, half-heavy heart.
Then, around the corner, scampered these…
The relief was a bit dizzying. 14 hours gone – and who knows HOW far they ventured…
None were talking.
Or explaining that dried mud caked on their undersides.
They were just eating, hobbling, and then (for about two days) SLEEPING…
As for me? I slept well too.
I also got some painkillers from the vet for the big fella, and some chains from the hardware store. We won’t tie them up all the time, but by heaven’s, if they are out while I cannot watch them, they are gonna be secure.
My heart cannot take the excitement.