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.