Monday, 11 February 2008

How many lives do dogs have?


Because our little yellow dog has just used up some of hers. Yesterday son and friend took her for a walk, but just as they went into the woods, a low flying hot air balloon appeared. Dog is absolutely petrified of hot air balloons. She doesn't mind helicopters, is less bothered by low flying jets than we are, and doesn't mind fireworks or thunderstorms: but hot air balloons send her into a complete panic. We have met them a couple of times before, but fortunately she bolted for home.


This time, however, she went in the opposite direction. Son immediately phoned home, and OH shot off to help look while I wedged the front gate open and then went to see if she'd gone up into our field. When I got back, daughter charged out: there was someone on the phone who had Holly. Huge relief. After profuse thanks, I asked where she was. "Opposite B&Q in Wellingborough," I was told. "We found her in the middle of the road." We live a few miles outside Wellingborough, so dog had covered a lot of ground, going in completely the wrong direction, and worse still, crossing one of the nastiest roundabouts in the area.


I am so, so grateful to the three people who nobly stopped and fished her out of the road and held on to her for me until I drove down to get her. I'm sure a lot of people drove right on by, but they stopped. If they hadn't, she'd have been in the vet's by now, or worse. So thank you, thank you, thank you to Debbie and her friends. We are all so thankful that you stopped.


It does leave us with a bit of a dilemma though. The thing about hot air balloons is they're generally silent, so you don't always spot them, and the other is that they're thankfully quite rare around here so there's not a lot of opportunity to get her acclimatised to them in case there is a next time. And of course next time she might not be so lucky. I was talking this over with a friend whilst doing our twice-weekly exercise session, and she suggested getting a sound effect of a hot air balloon and getting her used to that - which we shall. (And Anne, if you're reading this, I will be on the phone soon!) The puzzling thing though is what we do about the sight of them, as she seems to mind that as much as she does the sound. And bearing in mind she's so petrified of them, how do we get her even close? Much thought needed.

4 comments:

haffyfan said...

Glad she's okay. It's one of my biggest fears, they just have no idea about self preservation....Jadey has run off on a couple of occasions chasing cats/after other dogs and has been very lucky so far but it has to give eventually......
I have no idea about doggy fears but think maybe a phone call to Victoria Stillwell is in order to sort out Jadey's obedience issues!

mutterings and meanderings said...

Oh no, what an awful thing to happen.

is there anywhere locally where they take off from, do ballon rides etc that would let you go and take her?

winnie said...

Poor dog, she must have been terrified.
I found a dog like yours once. It was in the middle of the road and people were just driving past her, round her, anything to get away from this dog. When I stopped and invited her into my car she bounded in. I couldn't believe that others had just ignored this poor dog's pleas for help. We did eventually get her back to her own people, with the help of the Police (not the RSPCA, who frankly couldn't be bothered either).
I'm wondering if a 'dog whisperer' would be a good plan? I have no-one to recommend to you I'm afraid, but an animal communicator might be able to help, if you can find one who isn't a charlatan.

Jane said...

Haffy - we used to have another lab who had recall issues too.... fortunately Holly is very good. One bit of advice we were given when we got her was to train her to come back every 2 minutes, which is apparently something gamekeepers do. As she's insecure, she prefers around 45 seconds, but it did work on improving the recall!

M&M - that's a good idea. These balloons must come from somewhere local.

Winnie - good for you. We drove past a dog on its own recently and I slowed down to see if it was with anyone. "Why?" asked my daughter. Now she knows! That dog did have an owner, though rather distant! I'll investigate dog whisperers. Hadn't thought of them (though as you say, finding a genuine one might be problematical!)