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The saga of Bobby (vi) Belle


Having poured Marge into the passenger seat we left Hooterville [1] in search of her palace. Having someone in your car that you don’t know plus total silence, can lead to the situation becoming a little uncomfortable. As I cast about for something to say, and here’s the really weird thing; out of nowhere, like a bolt of lighting came the fully formed question "Do you own a dog that went missing for a few weeks a bout three months ago?"

"Yes." And with that one word (which by the way, was was all she said) the mystery was solved. As it turns out, I stopped one property short in my quest to find Bobby’s owner! But having graduated from the Sam Spade School of Advanced Gumshoeing, I had to be certain that I had the right man, err woman, err dog, ah shit ! you know what I mean, so I continued with my interrogation.

"Did he show up one day wearing a collar?"

"Yeah, and it was one of those really expensive ones". I know it was a fucking expensive one, I paid for it!

She had replied to both questions with absolutely no hint of surprise, curiosity, excitement or any form of human emotion whatsoever for that matter, which I found somewhat disconcerting, and just a little annoying since we were talking about a missing dog.

She wasn’t incomprehensible as I’d earlier thought, in reality she was what the Seinfeld gang called a ‘low talker’, and you really had to strain to hear what she said. Having then described Bobby to her, just to make sure, she confirmed that he was their dog and that his name was Laddie. It was then that the penny finally dropped and I realised that the beagle that I couldn’t get to come to me was probably the mother.

After about 15 minutes we arrived at the convergence of two of my favourite TV shows. I couldn’t believe my eyes, the Clampetts [1] seemed to have moved into the Douglas’ farm [1]. We drove up the long dirt track to what would have been pretty good lodgings for chooks [2], but left a little to be desired in terms of human habitation. Having pulled up at a gate who’s sole purposed seemed to be to hold the fence up, I solved the mystery of why Bobby/Laddie hadn’t been back for a while; he was tied to a tree.

Marge opened the gate and we entered the house yard, which was teeming with life. There were at least 8 cats, 2 goats, a sheep, a handful of chooks, 3 or 4 dogs and  4 pups (Bobby and the beagle were tied to separate trees about 100 yards away). If you gathered them all together and put them on a scale (except the goats and sheep, they looked pretty well fed as I assumed they were meant to be food one day), I think the total weight would have been about 3lbs. I have never seen such skinny animals.

Two of the pups seemed to be in almost reasonable condition (albeit extremely dirty), one looked like it had a broken leg (I found out a few weeks later that it was just swollen because one of the goats had stood on it) and then there was Belle. I know most of you think I am a pretty superficial kind of guy, and that I would pick the best looking pup, but you’re wrong ( when I arrived there, I had no intention of leaving with a pup). Belle (who at the time was wretched pup #4) was a real mess! Apart from being less than half the size of the other pups, she was a mass of sores. There were patches where there was no hair at all, and what hair she did have was so thin you could easily see the skin through it.


She was such a wretched little thing that I just couldn’t leave her there to freeze and/or starve to death. Sometimes I’m even glad I got her.

So there you have it. The story of how Belle came into our lives. I’ll do a little housekeeping tomorrow (or whenever I get motivated enough) to tie things up, but that about covers it. You can all thank Melissa in NZ for this serial.

*Update: I forgot to mention, those sores really stunk! Which wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for her being such a fretful little thing, and the fact that it was freezing cold when I first got her. This meant that I let her sleep on the bed, and I’m telling you, it’s really hard to get to sleep when there is a really stinky dog on the bed. The good news is that it only took about a week and a half to get the sores to stop weeping, so that pretty much fixed the smell. It took a little longer for the hair to grow back.

[1] I added the links later when I realised that not everyone is as old as me, not do they have my obsession with 60s TV trivia.

[2] That’s chickens for those who don’t speak strine.[3]

[3] That’s Aussie speak.

36 Responses

  1. Nah, I didn’t think you were superficial guy. Not about animals. That photo made me cringe — poor wee puppy living in such squalor.

    Belle is lucky to have you:). And she looks great now! (I’m wondering how those other poor animals are faring…..including Bobby/Laddie).

  2. Oh oh — I almost forgot!:

    THANKS Melissa in NZ:)!!

  3. Oh, poor baby! and Belle, too. You have made such an amazing difference in her life, the ungrateful little wretch!

    Great story, WT, thank you.

    and thanks, Melissa in NZ!

  4. I am glad you got her even though you love to complain about her. But look at her! She’s beautiful and happy and healthy (and well fed!). You want brains too? Sheesh, willow!

  5. oh, and I have to ask, is there an aussie version of the SPCA? maybe drop an anonymous tip or something…

  6. Thanks, Melissa!

    WT, I figured right away you picked out the most-suffering pup.

    How awful she looks in that photo, poor thing. I might have been afraid to take that on. So glad you rescued her; funny how things all fell into place.

    Do you know how Bobby is doing these days?

  7. Well now, that was a good story!

    I happen to be old enough and obsessed enough that I didn’t need the links.

  8. You’re a good man, WT. Your heart is definitely in the right place.

  9. Oh I agree with Claudia. Ugh!!! I’m glad you happened upon Marge.

  10. I think Belle ended up being the luckiest pup at that place. Do you know what ever happened to the rest of them – or is that just better left unknown?

  11. I never knew she started out so sickly!
    What a hero!

  12. Damn it. How can we heckle you when you do such a nice thing?

    You’re messing with my fun.

  13. I’m not a bit surprised you went home with that poor little pup. And let her sleep on your bed. You’re a big snarky marshmallow. And, apparently, have a hard time telling the difference between Pat the Bunny and smack the monkey.

  14. Oh this is brilliantly done, you really have a way with words!! The only lousy part of the story is hearing how those poor animals were kept.
    I’m very glad Belle was rescued into the zany bosom of the Willowtree Family!

  15. oh my gosh. i just stare and stare and stare at belle’s face. and i am so glad you brought her home with you.

    i bet she’d look damn cute in a bowler hat.

  16. WT, good job.

  17. You have a way with words, I love reading your stories! This series was GREAT! I feel so bad for all of the animals at the Doupetts farm. I really don’t like the tying up of dogs. I would have had a hard time not taking all those pups. I am happy to hear you saved one from that squaller.

    Can you please grace us with a new/current photo of Miss Belle. I’d also enjoy any updates you have on Bella’s folks.

  18. Oh, crap, that just made me want to cry. I’m so glad you got one of them out of there to be loved properly.

    Great story – thanks Melissa!

  19. Aww poor baby, she’s come a long way from living in that squalor. Man that just breaks my heart to think there are animals out there living like that.

  20. Geez, you’re such a heartless jerk.

    Just wanted to be different.

  21. I am not a jerk! I am a sensitive, caring person…you asshole.

  22. Ok, so Mark’s an ass and you really are a sensitive, caring person! You should be proud of getting at least one of the dogs out of that mess. I cannot believe people actually live like that. But I know….sadly…they do!! Great storytelling!!

  23. people who hurt children and animals …. Oh! I can’t say it. It would make me as bad as them.

  24. Not the ending I was expecting but I’m glad you could rescue Belle. Do you know what happened to the other animals?

  25. Just as I was getting used to the excruciatingly dragged out nature of this story its ended rather suddenly. Something hasn’t gelled but I’m buggered if I can remember what–(something to do with dogs). Belle certainly has landed on her feet. I guess you daren’t venture back there? A bit too harrowing I suspect. And Laddie never visited again? It really is criminal how people treat their animals. Of course its cheaper not to feed them. Animals live for food. Starvation is apparently unbearably painful. Is it any wonder I’m a misanthrope?

  26. beccy has already said what came into my mind as I read this. You rescued Belle but now I’ve got all the others left behind on my mind!

  27. I am glad that Belle is now safe and sound in your home. Occasionally, there will be a notice in the newspaper about animals in similar conditions. I always wonder how these situations come about. Why do people like Percy and Marge have animals in the first place if they are not willing or unable to care for them?

    By the way, Peter, you are the man.

  28. I’m not at all surprised at your pick. You’re a good person, WT.

  29. I was always suspicious that you WERE a good person. This pretty well confirms it.
    What happened to the other animals? Did you tell us and I just missed it?

  30. I hope you liberated Bobby from the tree!

  31. How could you leave with just one pup?? That would have broken my heart!! Belle is one lucky little lady….but I am sure she shows you her appreciation on a daily basis!!

  32. nice one, wt. couldn’t you have taken a few more pups? if you didn’t have room for them, you could have put them in the blender to feed to the others.

  33. Blimey, Belle looks so amazing now, poor little bugger. Thank God you saw her. And what a weird woman. At least Bobby still gets to visit sometimes.

  34. poor baby.. at least you have Belle! 🙂

    It pisses me off to see people mistreat animals… and that includes under feeding, no shelter, or being in poor condition of any sort.

    I liked the Clampetts! lol. I rarely watched tv as a child but I did see them…

  35. ya know.. that is very similar to the way I have gotten a few mutts over the years:) your a good guy…nope don’t worry i wont tell anyone;)

  36. My heart breaks for the other animals…

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