Friday, April 19, 2013


He doesn't know it yet but the love of Wolf's life is going away. She's heading off to Europe. She saved him when he was middle aged and he'd already lived through five families. They all had their own reasons for jettisoning him. They were renting and the new house didn't allow hairy folk/they divorced/they moved interstate. When Mum and Wolf found each other they clung together. He watched her every move and followed her about in case she left without him. Every ride in a car for this dog meant a possible reshuffling or extinction of his pack.

About three weeks after Wolf came to live with Mum, she staggered into my house windswept, teary and grey. "I think I've lost him," she said.
She'd been canoeing. She launched the canoe off the white sands to go around Mistaken Island, left Wolf on the beach. On her return, no dog. She thought he'd gone off into the bush after kangaroos and so she waited around for hours for him to come back. She asked a few people if they'd seen a rangy, brindle dog and they had. They had seen him slip into the water and swim after her canoe. At that point she thought he'd tried to follow her around the island and drowned.

I drove with her back to the beach. By then it was nearly dark. It was windy too and as we walked along the beach looking for this dog, I felt the desolation and emptiness. It was like looking for a lost child. You don't know what to do, which direction to head in. It was just awful. We talked to some residents and they promised to put up a notice on the chalkboard.
Out of Mum's earshot I said, 'You may find his body wash up. Sorry. But if you do, can you please ring us?'

We went home and I reckon Mum cried all night.
Late the next day we found a pamphlet in the letter box with his photograph. He'd walked back and overshot our house by a few hundred metres, ended up on a neighbour's verandah utterly exhausted, his paws worn to flesh. They gave him some water and food and tied him up.
It took him eleven hours to walk home. He must have a decent internal GPS because he'd lived with Mum for only three weeks and yet he still found his way the twenty or thirty kilometres home along the beaches.

So, she's going away. The last time I tried to take him for a walk, he stopped at every corner and made it plain to me that he would not continue another metre away from Mum. This is quite infuriating because I know he goes for a walk with her every day! He won't get in my car either. Mum's is the only car he will jump into without being dragged. My only solution to this conundrum and to save him from utter melancholy over the next few months is to record Mum's voice as she she is calling him up for a walk or a feed - a bit like that magpie that I wrote about a while ago - and play it back to him on the computer. Or maybe set up skype for him, so they can talk to each other while she is away.


  1. God, this is pretty heart wrenching. How long is your Mum going away for? Hopefully his doggy pragmatism will kick in. Dogs know who the pack leader is, it's the person that feeds them every day. He may make some allegiances to you eventually. I hope he doesn't pine away from a broken heart though.

  2. She's going for a couple of months, so he will have to get used it!

  3. You might try enticing him with some Dog Chocs or a few bones with plenty of meat on them. Dogs being pack animals nearly always befriend the hand that feeds them.

  4. Thanks Mr Heron, all of that. But I mus record Mum talking to him before she goes.

  5. Go and grab a blanket from your mums bed or something with her scent on it so that he knows where home is , poor old second hand dogs ! I'm just getting my new hound used to my place and leave an old t shirt in his kennel while I'm at work
    Amazing story , my one escaped from his lead while tied up at the shop on his second day with me , I forlornly walked home to get my van and begin searching for him and the little bastard was there waiting at the gate tail wagging