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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Taking an embarrassing tumble

Currently, my mobility is seriously impaired and any sort of forward progress is slow and painful. Madam Dog is to blame.

Attaching her to the short lead, the one with the over-the-nose restraint would have prevented the problem. But she was on the long lead, which I chose because it gives her the ability to hoon around a bit while still being restrained.

Unfortunately, past history has taught us that she is a dog who cannot be let off the lead. One of the historical incidents involved a four-hour rescue operation by a team of firemen. And media coverage.

This day was warm and sunny so I thought I would treat Madam to a bit of a splash around in the river, a change from her more usual venue, the beach.

We found a spot we had never been to before, I parked the car as close to the water as the terrain would allow and I attached the long lead for the downhill 50 metres or so to the river. We probably covered 25 metres before it happened. And all so suddenly.

She spotted a creature – possibly a rabbit or a pukeko – and took off with the sort of initial momentum made famous by drag cars and rockets.

When the slack of the lead was taken up she jerked me over so that I was flat on the ground with my head pointing down towards the water. My phone was propelled from my top pocket into the long grass ahead and was joined by my bucket hat.

But those items were the least of my worries. Sliding down the hill had dragged down my loose-fitting shorts. And underwear. If there had been a drone hovering above it could have filmed directly down on a bare bottom beaming at the heavens.

Perhaps the only positive was that there were no bystanders.

No, on second thoughts, there was another positive: my reasonably new titanium hip had not been displaced.

Spreadeagled on the grass with a central body part exposed to the elements was a position I maintained for some time. The sudden shock and the pain meant I was too stunned and knocked about to do anything at once.

When I did regain my senses, I felt my first priority was to hitch up my shorts above see-level, a task I had to perform one-handed as my other hand was still clinging to the loop at the end of the lead. I had held on to Madam Dog for grim death.

Struggling to lift my middle region about a millimetre at a time, I jerked up my shorts with the available hand. This might have taken six or seven jerks to reach decency rather than full height. Full height could wait.

Madam Dog did not get her swim. No. I struggled with her back up the incline to the car. Destination home. Naughty dog! I knew I would wake up feeling the aftershocks the next day, and I did.

So, why have I shared this in a newspaper column?

Well, first, I thought you might like to have a bit of a cackle at my misfortune.

It also might serve as forewarning to aspiring dog owners that there will be rough and tumble.

More importantly, it emphasises an important theme: the power of the relationship between dog and human. No anger could taint our relationship; she was, after all, only doing what dogs naturally do. My wounds will heal.

Here I am the day after, in pain but patting her affectionately. I believe it’s fitting to end with a line from a song I once wrote:

“It’s not such a dog’s life with a dog in life to love.”

Wyn Drabble is a teacher of English, a writer, musician and public speaker.

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