Saturday, 25 February 2017

Arthur's Escapade Lands Him In The Doghouse

21st February 2017 - Arthur's Unauthorised Adventure
Today was going swimmingly well. I had a very productive morning cleaning out the chickens, tending to the sheep and finishing off the final fedge.

I finished erecting the blackberry poles. The blackberries (to include various tayberries, loganberries, wineberries etc) have never really taken off, which has been a bit of a disappointment. But one plant, a thornless - thank goodness - loganberry has suddenly taken off with eight strong stems up to about ten foot long.

Weaving and tying these stems into their supports was quite a therapeutic job, not too dissimilar to constructing the fedges. It was only just early afternoon and I had plenty of time for a few more jobs. Next up was to build a living willow bench next to the future pond. I looked around for Arthur, who had been mooching around the veg patch for most of the morning, but there was no sign.
No worries. He had probably gone back inside to cuddle up with Boris, who had in no uncertain terms decided to stay in and have a lazy day.
But there was no sign of him in the house either.
😟 I opened every door in case he had got himself stuck in somewhere. I checked all his favourite sleeping places. But there was no sign. Another sweep of the garden and still nothing.
This was getting a little worrying.
😥 Sue had mentioned that he seemed to be showing a lot of interest in one of the stretches of dyke along his regular walk, so I called Boris out and we headed up the land, over the Lambert Drain dyke and along his favourite dyke. But ten minutes later we had reached the end of the dyke and still no sign. So back to the farm, more and more desperate calling of Arthur's name. I checked all the stables and the garage - he has got himself locked in the garage before and didn't even think to bark.
😦But there was still absolutely no sign of him. He would have appeared by now, even if he had been on the scent of a rabbit.
I got in the car and headed round to the river. The landscape is dead flat and the fields are bare, so I could see everywhere apart from down in the dykes. A woman had just walked the whole length of the Main Drain but she had not seen him. By now I was becoming really desperate. How far could he have wandered? Could he have fallen down somewhere or got himself hurt?
😢 I decided to call into the neighbours just to alert them to be on the look out for him. The last time I had seen him he had been whimpering at the fence, unusually keen to be friendly with their whippets and ridgebacks. I began to wonder if he might have decided to go off following them.

Iain kindly started up his multiterrain vehicle and we headed off along the Main Drain. Meanwhile Carol Ann took the dogs back out to repeat the circuit she had walked earlier.
It was now well over two hours since Arthur had last been seen and I was contemplating calling Sue to come home from work as early as possible and help in the search.
😓 There was no sign of Arthur along the Main Drain, nor along any of the dykes or in any of the strips of woodland planted for game cover. We were just walking through a game crop when a phone call came through from Carol Ann back along the Main Drain. Arthur was over there, alive and well!

😁 I was so relieved. We drove round to be informed that he had headed back along the dyke towards home. Back onto the vehicle and back onto the farm. We strode through the veg patch and there, looking slightly worried and very guilty, was Arthur, nose pressed to the orchard gate. 🙊

I felt like the parent who had just found their runaway child. I wanted to pick him up and hug him at the same time as firmly chastising him. Instead, I opened the gate and ignored him. He followed me back to the house like butter wouldn't melt.

I was so relieved.

Arthur is now grounded. The gates round the veg patch will be kept closed and his free-ranging will be kept under strict control.

I really didn't feel like doing anything else today. I was mentally drained. Arthur was exhausted too!!!

Arthur trying to creep up to me after his escapade
It just remains for me to thank the neighbours again. Without them I might still be out searching for a little dog in a big landscape.

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