Well, it’s that time of the year again…branded umbrella mayhem. No sooner have we all finished our EOFY sales than we need to tool up for the winter ahead. And boy has the season it provided us with more than enough drama over the past week!
The problem we face as humans is our failure to plan…and that foible came back to bite me a couple of nights ago….
I live on a rural property outside Melbourne and occassionally our quiet, country idle is broken by fires, droughts and floods. A bit like everywhere else in Australia! We also have the occassional threat of wild or roaming dogs.
Such a threat materialised around 8pm in the evening during one of the wildest and wettest storms of the past few years.
By chance, I heard a dog barking outside, then a goat bleating in our paddock – sure enough, a dog had one of our goats bailed up against the fence, ripping her to shreds!
Living rurally, you plan for these moments – reaching for the garden shovel, dispensing with said dog, burying it quietly in the dead of night. Problem solved.
Those well planned manoevers were, in effect utterly useless in the pitch dark, in the rain, on a slope, on mud, in a flap… the reality was a lot of hairy shouting, mostly by my wife with “get off her you f&@#ing mongrel!!!”, falling, getting stabbed by a goat’s horn, avoiding the dog’s teeth while trying to grab it’s collar, feeling useless over the course of 5 minutes of futility against a light footed quadra-ped.
Eventually the beast was roped off in another field and we set about assessing the damage to two of our goats.
That’s where the awkwardness of our situation hit home – on a hillside, in the dark, in pouring rain, in near freezing temperatures with lame goats unable to move or be moved to safer ground – ….you could easily lose an eye or take a 7 inch horn in the side.
If only we had an umbrella I kept thinking to myself, one of those promotional umbrellas we’re currently selling. And where were they? in the office, several kms away.
My wife and I spent two hours bandaging up goats and wrapping them in fleeces (our clothes) and a reversed picnic blanket. It was a job that could’ve been made all the easier with some shelter.
Roll call: Two goats with savaged hind quarters – cuts a lacerations to each. One goat, Daisy lost half her ear and half her nose, and Susan isn’t yet walking. They’re old friends of ours, having bought them as therapy pets when my wife’s grandparents were killed in a road accident. They’re on daily medication now which hurts when injected but they’ll be fine in time.
“you can’t tame what’s meant to be wild”
As to the dog…well I got the shovel…..no, I didn’t. That was a little touch of dark fantasy.
My initial reaction was to tie it to the fence and let the remainder of our animals finish it off (one kick from a horse I thought…) but when I looked into it’s eyes, I was reminded of a line from The Howling – “you can’t tame what’s meant to be wild”. We called it’s owners who collected it and are paying our Vet bills – they’re shocked by what their dog did.”We thought he was in his kennel…”
It’s a stark reminder to anyone with a dog (me included) that even the mildest mutt is a few strands of DNA from their wild cousins. Just consider that when contemplating buying a powerful dog.