Sunday, 18 July 2010

A feather's-breadth from disaster

I wasn't there to witness it, but we nearly lost Walter this afternoon.

My brother David and nephew Jamie called at the island on their way home from a fishing expedition, and in fact left Lynn two mackerel from a catch of ten. David had with him his two spaniels, Islay and Briar, and another two belonging to friends of ours who are away for the weekend.

Lynn didn't have time to warn Walter, who of course is so comfortable now with Eddie that he chums around with him on the grass; and one of the visitors did what comes naturally to a gun dog - she picked up Walter and went in search of David in a state of some excitement.

Lynn heard the commotion from inside the cabin, knew instinctively that something was up and that it probably involved poor Walter, and yelled. David, who was on the veranda, correctly translated the yell and passed it on to the dog in the form of the command, 'Drop!'. Which of course she did, without question, literally dropping Walter at David's feet.

It says a great deal about the softness of a spaniel's mouth that Walter was able to pick himself up and head for the nearest tree, shaken but alive, leaving behind some fluffy down and a single tail feather. And it says even more about Walter's natural chutzpah that since his near-death experience he has been behaving as though nothing happened - and apparently, as I write, has taken up his usual roosting position outside the bathroom window.

No doubt about it, this is a bird with attitude and I'm thinking he may be planning to stay longer than I at first assumed..
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