I can't take the pressure of watching the wagging tail disappear and imagining losing a dog, a beloved pet, a family member.
When we walked with the homeowners on the day they left, they identified the badger holes in the ground. The working spaniel always stuck her nose in them, as if pointing them out to her siblings, a 13-year-old short-haired dachshund and a six-month old wire-haired dachshund. The older dachshund showed much interest, while the younger preferred running after his sister and pulling on her leash.
This morning, as Maud the older dog, stuck her head in the hole, I blew on the whistle, which calls the dogs to come to me for a treat. Maud backed out of the hole and stood for a treat. As soon as she gobbled it up, she headed back to the hole.
"Maud," I called as her head and long torso started to disappear.
"Grab her tail," Earl yelled.
I didn't really think she would keep going and I didn't want to hurt her.
"I can't grab her tail; you do it." I reached for the leash of the spaniel that Earl held but by the time he got to the hole, Maud and her tail had vanished.
|A badger hole along the walking path - |
note there is no dog tail wagging from the end.
"Maud," I called. "Treats, Maud. Biscuits, Maud." I wasn't sure what the British call dog treats, but I hoped food would cause her to come back. I returned to the whistle, blowing over and over.
The homeowners had warned us that they had lost one of their dogs down a badger hole for a few hours on a walk along the hills. I couldn't imagine anxiously standing outside this hole, wondering where or when Maud might come out. She could follow the underground tunnels and end up anywhere.
I put Spud on the leash. We had been keeping the other dog, Minnow, on a leash because she is deaf and the owners worried she might not recognize us and come to us. The dachshunds had been allowed off leash once we walked past the horse fields because they responded to the whistle. Well, no more.
After a few anxious moments for us as we debated our next step, Maud resurfaced, blinking her one eye in the sunlight, he face dotted with chalky mud.
|Maud spotted with chalky mud after coming out of the badger hole.|
|Oh, no, Maud. We're wise to you now.|
The dogs, especially Maud, walk much more slowly when on the leash.
|We persevered and were rewarded with this view from the top of the hill.|
Poor Maud was paying for that badger adventure by walking extra.
Finally we made it back to familiar land.
|Earl extra happy that all three dogs made it home with us.|