Okay, I know we shouldn’t moan about the weather – after all, it’s Spain, and it’s supposed to be hot, but 40 degrees? That’s 104 in English money, or fahrenheit, or whatever you want to call it. That’s just too hot for early July, and poor Paddy has had more trouble coping with it than we have. After all, he’s got a thick black fur coat, and he can’t take it off. So, like a good Puppy Mummy, I’ve been trying to come up with walkies that won’t frazzle the pair of us within minutes.
I really thought I’d come up with a solution, too. On the road out of Algorfa towards Benejuzar is La Ermita. That’s a palace and a church, with an adjacent pine forest, albeit a small one. Anyway, it’s good enough for Paddy, because he can run in the shade, and there are plenty of trees to elevate legs against, and unlimited smells to investigate. What more could a dog want?
Well, today, he wanted to play with the rabbit in the orange grove across the road. He wanted to play with him so much that he zoomed across the road, zig-zagging his way between the cars coming in both directions at at least 120 kilometres an hour. Thank goodness they were on a go slow, or I might have been scraping Paddy off the tarmac with a dustpan and brush.
Like all members of the male species, Paddy knows where his bread is buttered, so I stood by the car, confidently expecting him to join me at any minute. After about 10 minutes, the confidence evaporated in the heat, and I fired up the ‘Paddy, come!’ mantra, gaining in annoyance and intensity as the minutes ticked by. After another 10 minutes, I thought I’d better go and look for the little bugger.
I headed across the road, into the orange grove, calling ‘Paddy, come’ with increasing intensity. A Spanish guy in a car headed along the drive at the same time as me, and when I caught up with him, as he opened the gates to drive through, I asked in my best Spanish if he’d seen a dog. And no, you’re not getting the actual words here – do what I had to do and look it up.
Anyway, his reply was, ‘Is that your dog in the water?’ Again, in Spanish, and again, I’m not telling. I mean, how many times do you need that phrase? Unless your dog is called Paddy, because yes, dear reader, that was my dog in the water. We’re not talking swimming pools or salt lakes here – nothing so picturesque. Paddy had managed to get himself into a steep, concrete sided drainage ditch. And he’d obviously been trying to get himself out ever since, because he was frightened, panicky and exhausted. Pretty much like me, really.
So, my Spanish guy is suggesting I turn one of the sluice wheels to lift the panel so Paddy can climb through. He still has to negotiate the concrete, but there’s not so much of it. Good plan, if somebody had kept the sluice wheels oiled, but they hadn’t. Like Goldilocks, I tried everything going, and the first two were absolutely no use, but the third sluice wheel actually moved. It had obviously been oiled recently. Very recently, because the stuff was all over my hands. Still, it worked, and I managed to raise the panel enough for Paddy to get through it to dry land and the welcoming arms of his Mummy – who was waiting to kill the little sod.
Like Romeo and Juliet, fate kept us apart, or rather the mud in the bottom of the ditch did, because every time Paddy tried to mount the great escape, he slid right back into the water. What next then? Well, I thought if maybe I got on my hands and knees, in the mud, and rocked the ‘Paddy, come’ thing one more time, maybe he’d be so overwhelmed that he’d get that extra spring in his paw and get the flipping heck out of the ditch. Well, flipping heck wasn’t entirely my original thought, but you get the picture, I’m sure. Obviously, the sight of me, dehydrated, on my knees in mud, did something for the poor boy, because finally, he managed to scramble out. He smelled like something that could be used in chemical warfare, but at least he was here, with me, and very wet, wet, wet.
So now we need another walking route. Any ideas gratefully received. Better still – anybody want to adopt a dog? New condition, low mileage, good fuel economy, one careful but very stressed out owner.