Thursday, 23 April 2009

Note to self, always put the bins out

Another of those days here.
Last night my husband Graham forgot to put the bins out.
This morning, the first thing I did was open the kitchen door to let Oscar and Tess out for their usual early morning romp around the garden. I always check, the gate looked shut, no bits of fence had blown down in the night.
Then I got busy with the morning routine, getting Kieran his breakfast, checking my email, twittering... you know all the essentials.
On walking from the office to the sitting room for some reason I glanced out of the window and as I did my blood ran cold.
The gate was now swinging open.
The bin men must have been extra efficient - they'd come into the garden to collect our bins but hadn't closed the gate properly after them. It had looked shut but it wasn't on the latch.
I shouted something incomprehensible up the stairs to Graham as I ran into the kitchen to see if the dogs were safe. Tess the Springer was there, eagerly waiting for her breakfast, but Oscar the Beardie was missing.
Tess is an accomplished escape artist, so the fact she had ignored an open gate was very surprising. Oscar was not used to being at large - and to be anywhere without his best mate and leader was very odd.
Oscar is not equipped for going native. He is very heavily coated and he has on occasions tried to follow Tess into rough terrain and got himself completely stuck in a bush. It has taken ages for us to disentangle him.
He also has a very sketchy sense of direction, he just hasn't got the outward bound skills his Springer friend has. He starts off with a top knot that gives him good vision, but if he plays rough he's running blind within minutes as it all tumbles down or becomes augmented with twigs.
He has also got used to following Tess and not concentrating on where he is going.
Graham was dressed and at the door before I could pull my boots on over my PJs and as I hadn't got my specs on I was just as blind as Oscar and pretty useless as I was panicking so much!
Graham found him very quickly. He hadn't gone far. Although from the state of him you'd assume he'd been missing for weeks.
His paws were black and there was enough of the forest in his fur to build a fire. His little heart was beating so fast when he was returned to the fold. He was like a kid lost in the supermarket - I think he'd frightened the life out of himself.
The mud, twigs and other less savoury coat adornments didn't stop everyone hugging Oscar and celebrating his safe return.
Oscar's mum went missing when she was 8 weeks pregnant, she escaped from her breeder through an open gate. She was on the run for days and the birth of the healthy litter shortly after her being found was a huge relief. But I've often worried that he might have inherited the wandering gene.
He isn't called Oscar Wild for nothing.
Bin night now ringed in red on the calendar.

8 comments:

Heather Houlahan said...

Obedience training?

It goes like this:

"Oscar, COME."

And then Oscar comes to you, wherever you happen to be.

I have it on good authority that there are professionals who can show you how to make this happen, even in Britain.

Not to mention, "Oscar, stay home." A bit more involved, but not outside the realm of possibility.

Skidge said...

LOL - Heather, do you own a Beardie?

They have selective deafness - if there is an adventure to be had, they don't hear you, and the COME command only works mega effectively is major pieces of poultry on offer when they arrive at your feet.

Beverley, I hope Oscar is OK :-)

Julia said...

Oh I know the feeling. Max, my springer, does not stray far, so I don't worry about him out of open gates and doors.

Jez, the Staffy, is another matter. The hint of an escape route and she's gone. She's very keen on exploring the road and everyone's gardens (and given the chance, houses). The only way to get her back is to catch her. It's a nightmare. Fortunately there's not much traffic in our cul de sac, but I'm always worried that she'll get as far as the road at the end.

One thing - how come your Springer doesn't get tangled in brambles etc.? Max seems to have a knack for getting them caught in his coat.

Pleased Oscar came home safe and sound :)

Beverley Cuddy said...

Oh thank you fellow Beardie owner for coming to my defence! I have to say my recall is not great with either dog, despite both being star pupils at dog training! It's a case of knowing the theory... but just not recognising it as an urgent problem. Will give myself a stiff talking to! We have had reverse training. Both dogs used to come in when you called. Then I started introducing treats to hurry them up, but now they wait to see what the treats are before the decide come in. (Pig's ear - full steam ahead. Anything less significant they'll hover a few feet away till you up the offer! Oscar has even now started seeing the treats come out and running to the gate barking as he has worked out that I'm probably getting him in because someone is arriving and wants to come in...!

And Tess's secret for slipping through the undergrowth without bringing it all home. No magic shampoo keeping her tangle free, it's just that she's a working-type Springer so she's not got much hair! She's a Springerish in many ways. Lighter than the show dogs, shorter in the ear. She's very elegant - sometimes I think she looks a bit like a small Irish Red and White Setter - true is she's a rescue dog found as a pup in Tesco car park (Tess-co). I suspect she was probably a gypsy dog. She had a hole in the top of her head when she was given over to the Dogs Trust by the dog warden at approx 8 weeks old, so who knows what that was all about. Maybe a bite from another dog? Maybe she escaped from someone who didn't know she had springs in those paws?

Anonymous said...

OMG,OMG I have become a hero and a blogger all in one day. Life is good!

Anonymous said...

Heart-stopping stuff! Glad he's home safe and well!
Claire

In the pink said...

I just long for the day when microchips also include tracking technology! [Iknow devices are available for attaching to collars] We see these implants in the Movies [James Bond & co] so technology must be lurking out there. Just think - no more lost dogs!!!No one able to remove the device and nab your dog............dream on!

Penkitty said...

So pleased he hadn't got far and you were able to find him so quickly.