A Story from Storm the Labrador and Jackson the Golden Retriever
August 2009..... it was Monday morning, I was in a good place, preparing for Cub's and my day at the Ekka when Marn and Cub walked in. She must not have known how to tell me, so it was left to Cub...... "My dogs have gone, Grandma".
Sunday night, front gate open, dogs leave home, empty yard not discovered till Monday morning. That was the gist of the next 30 minutes of dramatics and recriminations that followed Cub's blunt announcement. For the next two days we covered all bases, shelters, BCC, Vets - we drove, rode and walked the streets. I printed lost notices and Marn and Cub stuck them on every second lamppost in Brisbane.
Tuesday morning came and still no word, no sight, no sound....In a dog friendly city, two large, easily distinguishable dogs had seemingly vanished without a trace. Marn and I went for a walk this morning. Walking clears the brain.
Question: How is it that nobody, NOBODY had seen the dogs in two days!!?
Answer: Because nobody COULD see them!!!
"Let's head to the bush, Marn" I said. At that point we were 30 minutes into a walk in the opposite direction, but the Seven Hills Bush Circuit off Richmond Road (Brisbane) was beckoning. The track goes for miles and miles and miles up hills and down dales. Perrin Creek traverses the bush. Creek is a bit of an overstatement - whilst the banks were steep and densely shrubbed, the bed was rocky with barely a trickle of water. We went off the beaten track a couple of times in order to check the creek.
Jackson is 14 year old Golden Retriever, unsteady on his feet, almost deaf, almost sightless and as recently as last week had the rest of his life measured in weeks. Storm is a one year old Labrador, extremely annoying, very excitable and with the agility of a mountain goat. We knew which dog we needed to find...
At one point we were reminded about why you wouldn't walk this track alone. In the groins of the bush we passed a man dressed in a yellow tee shirt and brown vest, dark brown slacks and short wavy brown hair (in case we ever had to point him out in a line up). Our pace quickened from this point and our bush walk came to an abrupt end. So did the creek. It trickled onto a concrete causeway and into some storm water pipes and disappeared under the road.
We have no idea what possessed Marn to climb down those cliffs and follow the creek bed back into the bush, but she did, and that"s when we heard it...the barking. It was loud and aggressive, telling us in no uncertain terms that to venture further would be at our own risk!! And then we saw him. He was boldly standing his ground, teeth bared and shackles raised to the max. Marn called his name over and over "Storm, Storm, Storm", she cried, but he was deaf to her pleas in his maniacal determination to be left alone.
Not till she was right in front of him did he lower his guard and then recognition transformed the gladiator back to the family pet we'd lost two days and two nights ago. Then Marn cried out "Jackson's here!"
Through the euphoric haze that clouded the next few moments, I can still recall Marn picking up Jackson's creek muddied and almost lifeless body and climbing back up that steep cliff face....UNBELIEVABLE!!! I remember taking off my tee shirt and using it as a lead to keep the by now highly excitable Storm under control. Marn took off home with Storm on his makeshift lead while I stayed with Jackson. We would need the car for him.
Still deep in the wonder of the moment, I didn't notice the guy with the aforementioned yellow tee shirt had walked out of the bush and was standing right in front of me. Ironically now I am wearing my pink lift and separate bra over my black tracksuit pants (my modesty was hanging off the neck of a dog halfway home by now). He smiled, said hello and proceeded to ask if I had seen a little grey dog!
WELL......he could rape and kill me later, but first he was going to hear the full and unabridged version of the miracle at Perrin Creek!!!
It was simply amazing that every step we took this morning would lead us to find those dogs so well hidden from all who would seek, but the true miracle for me in this whole episode was the fact that Storm (a dog few would have given tuppence for three days ago) not only stayed with his buddy Jackson when he could go no further, but was prepared to guard him with his life. In my book, he is a true hero......and this is a moment I will never forget.
Carole, Storm and Jackson
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