Wen I started The Dad Effect I wrote that it would be about the adventures and misadventures that I have with my family. I was very explicit in including our dog Nala both because she is a legitimate family member and also because she has many adventures of her own. This post is the story of her latest adventure.
In The Beginning:
In the beginning Nala was a puppy, like most dogs (surprisingly). In fact she was a cute and fluffy labrador x golden retriever x kelpie (her mother was a labrador x kelpie and her father was a purebred retriever). As a result, Nala looks like a short haired retriever or a floppy eared dingo* (take your pick) which I, and everyone I run into around the streets while walking her, seems to think is the cutest. We bought Nala from a local farmer back in 2014 and she has been a key and valuable family member ever since (security guard, baby sitter, court jester, etc). The one bad thing about Nala is that she is a bit of an escape artist. She can dig or chew or squirm her way out of most things and is smart enough to work out the best escape routes too.
Fast forward three years and eight months and we have just moved into our new house, we have just had our baby boy (read the story in “IT’S A BOY!!!“) and we had just brought Nala to the new house (she had previously been staying with family). There was just two problems: firstly, we had no grass so for Nala the grass really was greener on the other side; secondly, our fence has a 200mm gap under it to allow for the yard level to be built up with top soil during the landscaping. Together these are not conducive conditions for keeping a dog in your yard, especially one who likes to escape. After letting her loose in the yard, it took less than 12 hours for her to find her way out despite my efforts to keep her in. Luckily we were already out the front getting something out of the car and she came straight over to us….A near miss, but nothing catastrophic. We put Nala back in the yard and borrowed some heavy concrete garden edging and wooden boards to plug the gaps. Job done, high fives, crack the beers. There is no way that a mid size dog will be able to shift a meter long plank of concrete, or so we thought. Content with a job well done, we settled in for the night sleeping soundly in the knowledge that our beloved furbaby was safely and effectively enclosed in the yard.
When I awoke yesterday morning however, a surprise was waiting for me. No Nala had not escaped, rather Missy Moo had decided that her toys needed to be laundered (see above). This was most annoying, especially because she not only tipped out an entire box of laundry powder (not the first time, she once managed to get it in her eye and needed to go to the emergency room but that’s another story entirely) but then managed to spread it through the entire house: the master suite; the media room; the kitchen; the bathroom; everywhere. This was a challenge to clean because we didn’t have a dustpan readily accessible because ours was in one of the boxes spread between Wodonga and Canberra still to be unpacked and we only had a second hand Roomba iRobot vacuum cleaner for vacuuming tasks.. This was ok though, I’d just get the kids ready and pop on down to the supermarket, grab a new one and get it cleaned in a flash, while taking the Roomba around the house doing a whole heap of tedious but effective spot cleans.
It wouldn’t prove to be quite so simple. When I went outside to get their clothes off the line I noticed it was ominously quiet.
Sure enough, just as a toddler’s silence is cause for concern a dog’s lack of an enthusiastic morning greeting is similarly concerning. I quickly scoured the yard and confirmed Nala was gone. She had managed to move the heavy concrete barrier I mentioned earlier. This was bad, she escaped a few weeks back at my wife’s parents’ house and the kids went into instant meltdown at the loss of their beloved “wah wah” (as Missy Moo pronounces it). This would require no small degree of tact and subtlety. I quietly went into the main bedroom and informed my wife before deciding to head off around the neighbourhood for a search. It didn’t matter, the kids had also noticed the lack of enthusiastic tail wagging and were asking where Nala was.
Thankfully, while searching the neighbourhood I ran into a lady walking her dogs who informed me that someone had posted on the community page that they had her. Excellent I thought, I’ll just pop over and get her. Wrong again.
The neighbour, who had picked her up had taken her straight to the vet in the next suburb over. No worries, we thought. This is just a simple matter of calling the vet, explaining the situation showing some photos of us with Nala and getting her back. Wrong again.
Since Nala was unregistered (I know, terrible, irresponsible pet owners we are) they had to report it to the local ranger but they should be able to release her to us. Sit tight and they’ll call us back after speaking to the ranger. An hour passes and we hear nothing. So we call the vet back and are duly informed that Nala has already been handed over to the ranger to be impounded. It was at this point that we realised that our town no longer runs its own pound and has instead outsourced it to the next town over. I now had about a 40km round trip to get our dog back. It was also at this point that we were informed of the $317 fine for having an unregistered dog. Today was progressing nicely.
Upon arriving at the pound I find Nala in one of the temporary holding cages out the front (see left hand picture above). I head inside and am informed that not only is it a $317 fine for having an unregistered dog but there is also another $300 fine for your dog escaping. As if this wasn’t enough, I then had to get Nala registered and microchipped before I could get her back (fair enough) as well as pay for a full day kennelling (she had been there less than an hour) and the pound fee. This added up to an extra $155. All up Nala’s adventure will cost around $750 (by the time we’re sent the fines). That’s we get for running the dog registration gauntlet I guess.
When I got her home, the kids were stoked to see her. Missy Moo ran over and hugged her and Spud jumped around with glee. The most annoying things about the entire episode and my amazing day of good fortune is that if we had of just had her registered and microchipped on time rather than constantly putting it off for another day, today wouldn’t have been as bad although she probably still would have escaped though.
Have you had any amazing adventures to the pound, leave a comment with your story below. Also you can find me over on twitter here or on Instagram here. Lastly if you found this post entertaining you can subscribe for updates when new content is posted using the follow button.
* For any non-Australian readers, a Dingo is our native wild dog species. Check them out on Wiki here