By: Natalie Gane
It started out like any other day... early wake up at 5am. No love from dad – he’s just not up for playing ball at that hour, and sometimes I’m sure he only tolerates us because mum makes him. It was raining, so we were giving our best sad eyes at the back door. It didn’t work - not allowed in the house today - apparently wet dog smell is NOT the new black. Mum fed us and dashed off to the car for work again, late as usual. She had set us back a good 13 minutes.
From the side gate, Archie and I did our “yesss, we’ll be on our best behaviour” pose as she left. Gets her every time. As soon as the car was out of sight we got straight to work, we had time to make up. I jumped up on top of the chicken wire to push it down and get a good, even positioning with my front paws up on the gate. My back legs provided the solid foundation that only I could bring to this party. I sucked in my core to present a beautiful straight back that even the most narcissistic of pilates teachers would be proud of. Then, as lined out with twigs in last night’s covert garden bunker session, Archie paced back 10 steps. He slowed his heart rate and fixed his Bagger Vance gaze on the target. It was go time… down he bounded, took his running jump and did a triple-somersault-double-pike off my back right into the fence, just near the latch of the gate.
With the beautiful collision of aerodynamic grace, and raw, emotion charged grunt came the sweet, sweet scent of freedom! At last…
As the sun serendipitously came out, and the warm autumn breeze drifted over our coats, we bounded down Malvern Street, took a left round Lawler and moseyed south along Picnic Point Road. We knew the route – this was our turf.
Venturing on, we left the security of our standard ‘walk around the block’ and dared to go where no free-labrador had gone before – Henry Lawson Drive.
Big cars whirled past us, but we didn’t care, we were in our happy place. We winked at the kids walking past on their way to school, and met a lovely fellow on a bike who played with us for a bit (hey, don’t judge, even the world’s greatest explorers would halt their quests for some love and affection) but then he got distracted with his phone so we pushed on, garden after garden, leaving behind us a trail of barking dogs, jealous of their own sad confinement.
I don’t know how long into our neighbourhood frolic it was but suddenly, out of nowhere, a crazy lady started chasing us down the road. So we ran. And we kept running and running, darting around trees - well I went round them, Archie whizzed on them. It was his fault in the end, he squatted too long and she caught up.
With the lady doing manic hand signals towards her car, and me feeling just a tad out of breath (must have packed on a few extra kilos in the last week) I thought a quick rest would do the trick. I jumped (ever-so-not-gracefully) up onto her back seat and settled in. Archie on the other hand kept whinging at me “stranger danger ... stranger danger”. Little good it did him, she picked him up and threw him in.
Sweet – road trip!!!
Suddenly we stopped and she opened the car door. Archie jumped out first, probably needed to whizz again, and slammed straight into mum. Uh oh ... we were home. And she was not happy...
Wonder how she’ll be next week when we make it to The Shire!?!
(A special thank you to Nathan, the nice man who called mum at work to dob us in, and Helen, mum’s friend’s mum, who made an appearance here as the crazy lady)
Epilogue- Mum: Aaargh!!!
About the "Author": Bella is a 5yr old yellow labrador living a chilled life in Sydney suburbia. She lives with her adopted mum, dad and the family's 3 year old kid who rides her like a horse. Her partner in crime is Archie, a black lab, who is her second shadow. Together, they are well known in the neighbourhood and have cost their family countless bottles of wine in "return" fees...
In her dream world, Nat gets to spend her days lounging by the fireplace drinking hot chocolates and alternating between reading and writing (for fun of course - she's already a millionaire). In the real world, she has a 3yr old son, a hubby and two labradors who have led to three garden make-overs already. The only time for lounging is if she sets her alarm and gets up at 5am, whilst the majestically cool fireplace is still her hot water bottle...Nat is also the founder of the hot new Moo Mummy, a site dedicated to helping mums celebrate their ME. You can read more of her stuff at www.moomummy.com