Having poured Marge into the passenger seat we left Hooterville  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  seemed to have moved into the Douglas’ farm . We drove up the long dirt track to what would have been pretty good lodgings for chooks , 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.
 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.
 That’s chickens for those who don’t speak strine.
 That’s Aussie speak.
Filed under: Serials |