4 years ago I was working at home one day in May. As usual I worked in the dining room, because it looks out to the garden and the wild outside. The willow tree almost exactly opposite me had branches shaking. Annoyed at the thought that some prowlers were spying out the place, I went zooming upstairs to the balcony to see if I could see them better.
There was the spy, but in a rather odd position, on all fours, and making the tree shake a lot.
I grabbed the binoculars that were there for bird watching, and realised that the person was a dog. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I never really thought of dogs as fond of climbing trees. And the shaking going on seemed to prove my belief correct.
I went off and phoned the SPCA.
“Good morning, I do hope you can help, but please don’t laugh.”
“No I won’t laugh, how can we help”
“Well I have a dog stuck up a tree…………”
“ha ha ha ha … Really, a dog up a tree”
“Yes I think it must have been chasing some small animal on the spruit and run up the sloping branches. I guess it doesn’t know how to turn around and come back down”.
“Where are you?”
I replied with my address.
“Sorry, that’s not our area; you need to phone our branch in xxxxx”
So I looked up the next number and dialled
“SPCA, good morning”
“Good morning. Please promise you won’t laugh”
“OK” (puzzled sounding)
“I have a dog stuck up a tree and I don’t know how to get him down”
“hahahah hahahah hahahaha, you’re joking, aren’t you?”
“No really, I think it chased something up the tree and now doesn’t know how to get down, he does seem rather agitated”.
“We’ll get to you later this morning, please give me your address. Please will you have a ladder, we don’t have one”
OOPs – then I remembered I don’t own a ladder (since remedied).
I went back upstairs. The dog seemed to have its paw trapped in a fork of the branch. Then I realised there was movement below. A similar dog, largish, brown, tramping round and round at the base of the tree, whimpering, and the dog in the tree was also whimpering.
I went out and called out to them, but my unfamiliar voice didn’t soothe them at all.
Worried, I made some coffee and tried to settle back down to work. But I kept wondering if maybe the gate intercom wasn’t working (irrational but then who says I’m rational all the time), I went out the front door. I heard a vehicle at the gate and opened the gate with the remote control in my hand.
A bakkie (small truck for the foreigners) came in, so I waved it over to park in front of my garage. (I live in a complex and there are a few houses together on our side, all sharing a common entrance and parking area.)
“Hello, are you the SPCA?” I asked, noting that the bakkie had no markings to identify it. “NO I’m the plumber, here for number 6” he replied.
“Oops! Sorry I was waiting for the SPCA”
“What’s wrong?”, asked the obviously well-brought up young man?
“I have a dog stuck up a tree” I replied, somewhat defiantly in case he thought I’d done it deliberately.
His immediate concern meant we all (he, his two assistants and I) all went round to the other side and so they could see.
They realised they couldn’t climb over our wall, (the electric fence is a deterrent for normal people).
So we went round the side and he climbed the fence separating the road from the spruit (stream for the foreigners). Once he’d climbed the tree he called back, and the younger one of his assistants also climbed over and went to help. The older one and I (we senior supervisor types) stood and watched as the pair of them gentled the dog and released his paw, then half carried, half helped the dog down. They came along, each leading one of the dogs by holding onto the collar.
They had a bit of a walk around the complex over the road, until they could all 4 walk out of the spruit area.
I was ready with a bucket of water for the dogs, and some rope to tie them together.
Meanwhile the plumber had phoned the number sensibly on the dogs collar-tags and found the owner. Into the bakkie went he and the dogs, and the plumbers mates went to get started at number 6.
He promised to send me the photos he’d taken. He never did.
That weekend I kept thinking that it was too good a story not to share with others.
The next Monday morning, almost ready to start work, thinking about the little adventure the previous week, I decided to start a blog, in a place associated with one of the news feeds I used to read. That was 4 years ago today.
No one read the post. Nor any for a while. After I’d been reading and posting for a while, the first comment came, but not on my first post. That had to wait for Poppiekreer in April of 2010.