Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Late last night I went out to get the old ladies in. It had begun to rain heavily and they were keen to come. But somewhere in the distance I could hear a plaintive "woof". That slow repeated "woof" that usually means "I got stuck in here - do something!".

I did a quick head count. No Fenella. The others wagged their tails brightly - no information there.

Fenella is the mother of Marcus the Sex God, and Florian The Climbing Dog. She is given to wandering. If there is a small hole in the fence, she is off. I once had to reclaim her from three fields away, where she was verbally abusing an innocent guy mending a fence. How dared he make all that hammering noise! She could hear it from where she lived! I had to aplologise and trail the barking fury away.

This time the "woof" sounded very plaintive. I tried to triangulate on where it was coming from. It was now pitch dark and very wet.

The plaintive sounds were coming from a huge 7 foot high tangle of brambles, nettles and wild plum trees that stretches from the dog run to the burn and the property boundary. They were coming from right at the back. They would be.

It was pitch dark, but I could only carry a small torch through all that tangle. I had a protective jacket, but no such trousers. I had wellies and rigger gloves and secateurs, as I supposed she was caught in the brambles. I sailed straight in.

It was indescribably awful in there. Head high nettles and brambles arching above that. And wild plum is thorny. I suspect that if I could have seen what I was heading into I would have been appalled. As it was I pushed on by brute force, cutting myself free every few feet. I could only see a few inches in front of me. My trousers (and then my legs) were slashed and cut. Every time Fenella fell silent, I got lost.

After two hours of this I found her, right at the march fence on the other side of the burn. My bad neighbour had laid barbed wire at ground level - a nasty trick, designed to catch small animals. And it had caught her by the ear. Her ear was wound round it.

My heart sank. I hadn`t come equipped for that. The wire had to be cut. I would have to go all the way back for the big bolt cutters.

It was a terrible struggle to get back, and it took some mental effort to plunge in there again. I was very tired now and the big cutters are heavy and awkward. And I would have to get out again carrying them and the bitch.

Getting her free was easy - getting her out was desperate. I had a lot of attempts before I could get up the slippery bank, and then had to put her down in order to climb the fence.

And then she vanished. Cue for a lot of searching up and down in the nettles and brambles. Eventually I gave up and cut my way out to civilisation - and there she stood on the doorstep, wagging her tail and wondering what took me so long.

And she is perfectly well.

I, on the other hand got to bed at 3 and slept till 9, to wake a mass of bruises and cuts, fit for nothing. The whole expedition had taken over four hours.

If you are planning to explore uncharted rainforest in the near future, feel free to call on me for advice.

Thank God for a securely fenced and chicken wire covered boundary. I don't think I could survive that kind of expedition Elizabeth. I hope you gave her a severe talking to. Mind, with Paps, what use would that be!!
Good Lord!

I'm glad everything worked out, but what a nightmare.
You are amazing! Ive always thought you were a brilliant owner and crawling through that lot in the dark proves it!Well Done!
She probably thought it was a great adventure! Sorry to hear it was so horrid for you! (Bit of a nasty neighbour there or does he not care that you have wee doggies?)

Wow, all that in the dark rainy night as well... I hope Fenella is properly sorry!
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