Today has been dominated by the dogs – well three of them at least. Yesterday I introduced Puppy in my blog – if he had a proper name, it is lost in the past. We rescued him and his half brother, Wellington, both long haired miniature dachshunds, several years ago and the name that came with the blue one was Puppy.
Wellie and Puppy are quiet characters, both stubborn, both greedy, both lazy and both just know that they are very beautiful. They don’t run away – in fact are more likely to turn and go home than make a bid for freedom. They are talkative dogs and grumble away to themselves, and occasionally at me. They are definitely carpet slipper dogs.
The other three dogs we have are all Jack Russells of one description or another, and it was these, in fact always is these, that made my day interesting.
Lucy is a run away. All she wants to do is run. when we first collected her from the animal shelter her back legs did not work, certainly not alternately. She would jump them along in little bunny hops. We took her swimming. Slowly but surely her legs strengthened and she began to scamper. Then she realised that she could run. And so she did. And still does. At every opportunity.
Rosie is a Jack Russell cross. From the broad spade shaped forehead and black curranty eyes, her father was possibly a Staffie. Her ears don’t know whether to stand up or flop over and she is covered in spots. No-one could call her beautiful. She is a worrier. She wants to please but just doesn’t know how. She is affectionately(!) known as the fun police. She is easily persuaded by the beautiful but naughty Lucy that running away is the one thing that will make her popular and gain her praise.
Nellie is our elderly Parsons Jack. She is 16 and in the last few months has been showing her age. She is my dog. At the age of 6 she chased a seagull off a 350 foot cliff at Birling Gap, startling a family who were eating their picnic on the shingle beach below when she landed four square on the stones beside them. Her only injury was a bitten tongue. She is wonderful, has protected K and D and myself through thick and thin. Now though, she is nearly blind, mostly deaf and her legs don’t always work when she wants them to. She sleeps a lot.
This morning was bright and sunny and full of promise. I took the dogs into the garden as usual. Attached Lucy to her running lead then started to untangle the second long rope for Rosie when whoosh – Lucy was away. I have no idea how she got free. I tied up Rosie. Lucy came tearing back and pounced about in front of Nellie, who had found a patch of really warm sun and was rolling back and forth in ecstasy, eyes half closed against the sunlight. Next moment she was off, tail waving, galloping after Lucy towards the hedge. This elderly dog, with wobbly legs, no sight and little hearing was heading off into the fields. Rosie whined. Back scampered Lucy and I swear she undid the carabiner on Rosie’s collar, because, within seconds Rosie too was away. The fuzzy boys took one look, then turned back inside, more intent on breakfast than high jinks.
Normally I would leave the two little girls to run off their energy, pretty sure that they would find their way home, but Nellie I had to find. So I tramped the fields and the roads. Once, twice…clockwise, anti clockwise, trespassed into the paint-balling fields behind our own. Nothing. Not a sight or sound of them.
Two hours later, Rosie slunk home. I decided to try the fields one more time. Nothing. Then, as I reached our back gate, I spotted Nellie, barely able to put one arthritic foot in front of the other but with her tail still wagging. Moving to the left and right a little behind was Lucy, giving a little nudge here, a gentle push there, encouraging Nell back towards the house.
Was she helping the old dog home, acting as her eyes and ears? Who knows. I didn’t have the heart to be cross with the little minx. They were all home, and my old girl was safe.
As I write, Nellie is sound asleep by my side. She is twitching and mumbling. I hope she is dreaming of running free and effortlessly, the warmth of the sun on her gleaming white coat; of a time when her muscles were strong and her joints pain free; when she could see for miles and hear the slightest interesting sound on warm summer air.
Lucy is curled up, watching closely to see if there is any chance I might feed her the breakfast she missed, or whether I really will make her wait until dinner time for her food.
I am trying to decide whether it is likely that Lucy has discovered how to undo the carabiner clips, or whether I just made pig’s ear of clipping them on in the first place.