Archive for November, 2011


Annie the Labrador


When Annie disappeared that fateful first day, it was thanks to the buckle on her new collar exploding at the first hint of pressure.  Collarless and terrified she bolted into the night and so began our three days of hell searching for her.

That experience taught me many things; one of the most sobering is that you don’t forget moments of real fear.  That night will live with me forever I think.  Watching impotently as our new charge, terrified and in a blind panic sprinted into the road… I get sick just thinking about it.

I carried her old collar with me  as we searched in vain. It stank to high heaven and it was slick with oil from her grubby coat, but it was my only connection to her and as such it was never far from my hand.

When we at last found her, three agonising days later, the first thing we did was pop on a new sturdy collar and a harness (belt and braces!)

Neither Annie nor Little Bear are ever walked on a collar.  Humans are flawed (didn’t we just know it!) and even the gentlest of souls is prone to yanking on a lead if startled or frustrated or just plain not concentrating and I’d rather not have my dog’s neck on the receiving end. Had this not been my view before losing Annie, it sure as heck would have been afterwards.  Hence, their collars are more decorative rather than truly functional.

When we were searching for her people would ask what she looked like and if she had ID on her collar. “She doesn’t even have a collar on?” was a common response to our answer, as if this made it all the worse.  And to me it did.  This poor little soul didn’t have the most basic symbol of belonging. Somehow without a collar she seemed even more lost.  Silly perhaps, but it mattered to me. Today, I was reminded that it probably mattered to Annie too.

You’re not listening!

After her bath today we couldn’t understand why she was being such a nag.  We’d been out on a long walk in the woods (hence the bath); she’d had her lunch and she’d refused all offers of a loo break in the garden.  But still she wagged and woofed and pawed at my leg until frustration got the better of her and she let out a high-pitched woof that made me slop my tea in my lap.

I checked with OH that she had indeed had her lunch, as unlike LB, she’s not big on letting misdemeanours in her routine go unchallenged.  Yes came the reply, 2pm on the dot in her Kong Wobbler as was the norm.

“What?” I asked her exasperated. She stared at me wide-eyed, still wagging wildly. Then it hit me. I ran upstairs and retrieved her collar from the bathroom and she started bouncing just at the sight of it.

Still done up, I held the leather circle out in front of me.  “Is this what you want?” I asked her.  She wagged and stuck first her nose, then her whole head through the collar. Once back in place, she turned on her tail and wandered into the lounge to take up residence on the sofa for her delayed afternoon nap.  Seems like us humans don’t have the monopoly on security symbols after all.

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