Thursday, 15 December 2011

Dogs versus Wenlock Monster

There are a few types of dogs living up here but 90% of dogs are itsa-bitzas and they're all huge.  Everyone has a dog or 5, especially if you're into hunting.

Hunting dogs are usually trained to be bailers or luggers.  A bailer is a dog that has a good nose, is fast and 'bails' up the pigs by barking or nipping at them.  Think of a sheepdog style of rounding up and holding them in an area, waiting for you to come in and finish the job.

There there are luggers.  Luggers are dogs that can have a good nose, have to be fast but they're strong and they bite.  Luggers are dogs like our current breed - great dane, bull arab cross. Her name is Dorothy and she's the size of a small horse.  Our other dog, Dolorus, is 6 weeks old but will be stronger and taller...  They hang off the pigs ears or face to stop them running. Some, like our dog's dad, just bite over the top of the pigs neck and press them into the ground, heldfast until you come.

My first dog up here was a Golden Labrador.  She was sooo hairy you could make a jumper out of her dropped hair on a daily basis.  She was a good guard dog and kept many people from jumping our fence and helping themselves - unless you said "hey sandy" and then she'd just roll over and ask for a pat while they robbed us...  Sandy went camping with us everywhere. She wasn't just a pet but part of the family. In fact, I dont think she knew she was a dog because she just expected to be treated like a queen.  Sandy was bitten by a snake while we ran her around the lakes and now she overlooks the ocean sunset at RedBeach.

One time we were camping on the banks of the Wenlock River gold mines with friends and were enjoying a few festive drinks around the fire when, out of the darkness, came this ear-piercing scream like a T-Rex roar from just outside the light of the fire.  To say I was scared was an understatement.  Think of my face-completely drained of colour and life, lots of body movement flailing around but not actually moving, mouth-wide open to scream but only something maternal from deep that came out like a grunt. That was me.  Standing on my camp chair, like that was going to save me, pearing over towards the kids lying on their swags next to the car tossing up whether to sacrifice them or hope that their father would come to all of our rescue.   "What the hell is that?" I managed to squeak out.  I'd never heard anything as loud and ear-piercingly dangerous in my life....

Our friends dog, a great dane/arab mix, black as the ace of spades takes off up the bank in the direction of the roar.  Gone.  Our other friends dog, a cattle dog cross, took off into the pitch black also, barking and carrying on like they were going to kill whatever monster lurked beyond the shadows.  Our Sandy girl had dug a hole under my camp chair and was litterly shaking with this pittying look in her eyes like "mum, what the f%*k is that?". No one was going to move her anytime soon. 

She was not a hunter.

With the other two dogs, who at the time had never hunted before and were more like giant dopey cats, were gone. The boys had no choice but to go after them.  One of them picked up the closest thing to him - a pocket knife.  My hubby dug around in the camp box and tossed up which would be sharper - the plastic butter knife or the rusted piece-of-shite machete. He went with the machete.  The other bloke took his steak knife off his plate.  No time for shoes or protective clothing and off they ran into the bush hollering after their dogs and hoping to god they didn't come across the newly discovered, carnivorous dinosaur that had come across us on their track to water in the dark. 

A few minutes passed and my girlfriend and I, still cowering around the fire and hoping the Gobin/Human-eating Monster would eat the boys first when in ran the dogs. They'd chased whatever it was, most probably a giant boar, until they lost it in the thick scrub.  Thank God. 

What on Earth they would have done if they'd come across that man-eater will never be known but my bet would be that anything would be able to put up a decent fight against three pleb hunters weilding plastic knives, pocket knives and a rusty machete.....

Beware those that camp on the Wenlock River. That monster has not been seen since......

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