A Story: Ashley
Ashley is an English Setter. Hes handsome, lovable, gentle with never a grumble for anyone. We kept two brothers and they were always together. They loved to run in the big paddock and rough and tumble the way young English Setters do. They were in the house because the man had come with a big tractor to empty the septic tank and that was in the exercise paddock. The boys at that time were about two years old.
I had a new litter of setters in the spare bedroom which meant I could keep an eye on the babies and out of the window, an eye on the paddock. The man was gone and the gate closed, so I popped downstairs and let the two boys out to run and went back to the pups. Everything was peaceful. It was a lovely sunny day and then I heard some cries.
Looking out of the window, there was nothing to be seen and then, with horror, I saw two light coloured paws clinging on to the edges of the septic tank and frightened calls coming from the same spot. I grabbed a leather slip leash as I almost slid down the stair and raced at top speed t the paddock. Ashley was clinging on to the edge for dear life whilst the dirty sludge tried to pull him back under. I leant in and caught the leash around his neck, pulled back on my heels and hauled with every ounce I could muster. It might have hurt his neck but the leather was strong as well as soft and it did the trick and he slid over the edge and onto safe ground with a slurpy squelch. I wrapped my arms around him despite the mess. The top of the tank was lying some distance away and had not been replaced. A well made leather collar and leash last a very long time and are a pleasure to use. In this case it also proved to be the right item in an emergency as a cord or nylon one would have cut badly into his neck.
It was a mercy that the tank was faulty and the level was high enough for me to reach the dog. Had it been a foot lower I would not have been able to reach him. As it was, he was safe- covered in the awful stuff but safe and then I had hysterics. Now I am not a person given to hysterics but in this case I just lost it. Ashley, bless his heart, tried to comfort me and stop the sobbing. He is such a good boy. I dragged out the phone and babbled to my friend who was two miles away. She could not understand a word I said but knew it was me, leaped in the car and found the two of us covered in the unspeakable gunge and cuddled together on the grass.
Towels, washes and a vet visit later normality was restored but it leaves you caring even more for the precious creature that could so easily have been lost. Ashley and his brother, Briar are still here and they are eight years old now. I love them both dearly and thank whichever god was watching that day that the septic tank was faulty.