The day started off like any other…
‘Pete, it’s time to get up,’ I hit him in the face with my paw. ‘Oui Pete… wake up! Lola needs a wee. Pete… Pete.’ My voice increased in volume as he continued to ignore me. ‘It’s no-good ignoring me Pete. Lola will have an accident if you don’t let her out and then Sooz will get mad. You know what she’s like when she gets mad!’
The quilt moved. ‘Just once Paddington, ONCE, it would be nice to be left in PEACE to sleep without being woken with your doggy breath in my face, ONCE, Paddington. Do you hear me?’
‘Sure, I hear you.’
Pete was repeating himself this morning. And what did he mean by doggy breath? ‘Nothing wrong with my breath, have you smelt your own lately Pete?’
He plodded down the steps to the kitchen with Lola following. ‘I’m coming up for a cuddle, Sooz,’ I jumped onto the bed snuggling next to her. ‘Pete’s made this side nice and warm.’ I licked her nose and her hand found my ears and I closed my eyes in bliss as she scratched and caressed them. This was how I liked to start the day, curled next to Sooz.
‘Paddington, get out the way.’
Pete was looking down at me with a comical expression on his face.
‘Come on Paddington, I said move. That’s my side of the bed.’
I snuggled closer to Sooz and ignored his plea. ‘Perfectly good basket on the floor,’ I murmured into my paws.
‘Paddington, MOVE,’ he was getting serious now and grabbed my collar. I pushed my weight into Sooz. ‘I’m comfortable here. Oui Pete, there’s no need to get physical. Sooz don’t let him!’ It was too late, Pete was too strong, and I found myself hauled to the floor.
Feeling miffed, I watched him climb into bed, next to Sooz… my place. Pete wasn’t going to get away with that. I let him snuggle back down and gave him five minutes to close his eyes and drift back into sleep. ‘Hey Pete… Pete, I need to go outside. Pete. Pete, are you listening? Pete… oui, it’s me… remember me? Pete, I need to go out,’ I placed my paws on the edge of the bed and barked assertively into his face.
‘For goodness sake Paddington! WHAT NOW?’
‘Why don’t you listen when I talk to you, I need to go out.’
‘He wants to go out,’ Sooz’s muffled words escaped from below the quilt. If she understood what was required, why didn’t Pete? I watched him climbed out of bed with a blank expression.
‘Just one weekend it would be nice to have a little peace,’ he sounded resigned now, all the fight he’d shown earlier gone. ‘Come on then.’
I grinned happily as I followed him down the stairs. I rushed through the door when he opened it and sprinted towards the garden gate.
‘Okay, I’ll let you out for a run,’ he mumbled. ‘Anything for a quite life.’
‘Lola, are you coming into the garden?’ I yelled. ‘Let’s chase rabbits.’
Lola appeared from the deck running as quickly as her legs allowed and she joined me at the gate. As Pete unlatched it, I pushed to help and when it swung free we raced through and into the garden. There was no sign of rabbits anywhere and with disappointment we made our way towards the fence to see if anyone was walking along the road.
The road was deserted but the stench of fox permeated the ground where I sniffed. ‘Smell that Lola… fox.’
Her nose joined mine. ‘Fresh today,’ she muttered.
With noses to the ground we followed the delectable stink along the fence. The fox had kept close to the boundary when it entered our property and its stench disappeared at the corner where our place met next door’s.
‘I reckon there were two, what do you think Lola?’ I still had my nose to the ground when I heard her scream.
Arrrrrooooooo. ‘Help Paddington. Help me… help. Arrooooooooo.’
The scent forgotten I lifted my head and raced to the bushes that shook from her screams.
‘Lola, what’s the matter? Oh my goodness… what’s happened to you?’
‘I’m stuck,’ she whimpered. ‘Paddington it hurts when I move… help me.’
I’d never seen her so stressed. ‘Stop pulling on it, you’re making it worse,’ I spoke like I was in charge, the way I’d heard Pete talk from time to time. ‘What is it?’
‘I don’t know, but it’s sticking into my back. Paddington, it hurts.’
‘Stay still.’ I demanded looking at the barbs on the wire that were tangled around her head, neck and waist. She was trussed up like a parcel and there was no way I could loosen it from her skin. ‘Lola, I can’t get it off.’
‘Paddington,’ she cried. ‘It hurts… get Pete and Sooz.’
‘Stay still Lola, I’ll be back.’ I raced across the garden towards the house my feet barely touching the ground. I flew up the steps, through the gate and to the back door. ‘Pete. Sooz. Pete. Quick Lola’s in trouble.’ I leapt at the door.
There was no answer to my call. ‘Pete,’ I leapt again but this time scraped my claws down the wood. The house vibrated from the noise. If this didn’t get Pete up nothing would… he hated me scratching the doors.
‘Pete, Sooz… come quick. It’s Lola. Please Sooz… Lola’s in trouble.’ What are they doing? I couldn’t hear any noise from the house. I decided to go into my distressed bark. Arrrooooooo, Arrroooooo.
Finally, I heard the soft tread of feet. It was Sooz, she walked like a butterfly whereas Pete trod the ground like a bear. She opened the door and I jumped up and hit her in the stomach. ‘Sooz… quick it’s Lola. She’s in big trouble. Come with me.
‘What’s the matter Paddington? Where’s Lola?’
‘Sooz she’s in the garden and in big trouble. Hurry… there’s no time to lose. Trust me and come.’
I ran toward the steps and waited, while she put her shoes on. Finally, she reached the top of the steps and stopped. ‘Lola, come Lola.’
‘She can’t Sooz. Please hurry.’ I hit her hand with my nose and ran down the steps. She looked at me, then beyond me into the garden.
‘What’s wrong with you, Paddington?’
What did it take to make her follow me? I ran back to her and nudged her again on the hand and ran back down the steps and looked back at her.
‘You want me to follow you?’
‘Yes, Sooz. Don’t you ever listen to me?’ I ran back up the steps and nudged her hand again.
She stepped after me. ‘Yeah… about time Sooz.’
I raced ahead and she followed me calling Lola’s name.
No sound came from where I’d left Lola and I suddenly was fearful. I rushed through the bushes and found her in exactly the spot I’d left her.
‘Is Pete on his way?’ she whimpered. ‘I’m tired and can’t stand much longer.’
‘Hold on Lola, Sooz is coming.’
‘I think we need Pete. Sooz won’t know how to free me of this awful wire.’
‘Don’t panic Lola. We’ll get you free.’
She gave no answer, but I saw her eyes tear up. ‘Don’t cry Lola, it will be okay.’
Sooz scrambled through the bushes hunched over. ‘Oh my God… what the hell?’ She put her hands around Lola’s head and caressed her face. I watched anxiously as she looked at the wire and tried to loosen it. ‘Where did this barb wire come from?’ she muttered as she tried to loosen a barbs off Lola’s skin.
‘Arrrooooooo,’ Lola screamed and dropped onto her side.
‘No, you have to stand Lola,’ I yelled. ‘You’ll make it worse lying down.’
‘I’m sorry Lola. It’s okay,’ muttered Sooz. She lifted her back onto her feet. ‘What to do? What to do?
‘Stop muttering Sooz and go get Pete.’
‘We need to get Pete,’ confirmed Sooz. ‘There’s no way I can get this off you. Stay still Lola. Don’t move… I’ll be back.’
Sooz pushed up off the ground and scrambled out of the bushes sprinting like a startled rabbit back to the house. I kept pace with her barking encouragement. ‘Pete,’ she screamed as she ran. ‘Quick Pete… Lola’s in trouble. Get the wire cutters.’
Pete’s troubled face appeared at the back door and Sooz quickly filled him in. He rushed off towards the garage while Sooz yanked open kitchen draws searching for something.
‘Scissors, good idea Sooz,’ I barked sprinting by her side as she made her way back into the garden.
Lola was standing… but only just.
I licked her face. ‘It’s going to be all right Lola. Pete’s getting the wire cutters and he will free you.
Lola said nothing, but I saw the fear in her face.
Sooz arrived and fondled her face. ‘I’m going to try and cut away some of the hair around the barbs… now Lola, you must stay still. That’s a good girl.’
While she spoke Sooz trimmed the hair around Lola’s face and along her back. I watched helpless. ‘Can I help Sooz?’
‘Stay back Paddington, there’s a good boy.’
‘I’m only trying to help.’
Pete arrived with a fierce looking piece of equipment. ‘Paddington, can you move please?’
As Pete pushed me away I felt rejected. ‘I only want to help.’ I grizzled.
‘Sooz, can you hold Lola still while I cut here?’ asked Pete.
‘Can’t I help?’ I poked my nose close to the action as I needed to see what he was doing. The cutters were mean looking and as I peered closely Pete snipped away at the wire. ‘Paddington, move out the way. You’ll lose your nose.’
‘I’m only trying to help.’ I moaned.
‘Sooz hold that piece while I cut here,’ demanded Pete.
I stood back and watched Sooz lift the wire from Lola’s back, and for a moment I thought Lola was going to fall again.
‘Hold on Lola. Nearly done,’ said Pete as he continued with the cutting machine.
Bit by bit, Pete removed the wire from Lola’s shaking body. When it was finally off, Sooz hugged her and made cooing noises. ‘There, there, there. You’re going to be fine.’
I wanted Sooz to make cooing noises to me and so I pushed my head under her arm.
‘Get away Paddington,’ snapped Lola. ‘Sooz is giving me some love. It’s not your turn.’
‘Oh…’ I started to say but never finished as Sooz pulled me under her free arm and crushed me against her. ‘See Lola, Sooz loves me too!’
‘What a clever boy you are,’ she gushed. ‘You’re a star for rescuing Lola. Who’d have thought you would have known to come and get us? Clever boy, Paddington.’
‘I did what had to be done,’ I lifted my head high and seemed to be growing in stature. ‘I’m sure Lola would have done the same for me, wouldn’t you Lola?’
‘Of course, I would,’ Lola smiled in that funny lopsided way of hers, which left me with questions about her sincerity.
Pete was speaking and he was gushing with praise for me and my head was swelling.
‘Yes, he certainly is clever. Well done Paddington.’
I nearly burst when I heard the pride in his voice and raised my head batting my eyelashes and nodding my head, in the way I’d seen Inspector Rex on the television do it.
‘Did you hear that Lola? I rescued you.’
‘Thanks. I do appreciate your help.’
‘Wow thanks Lola… that’s okay, anytime. Are you okay now?’
‘Yes thanks. I didn’t mean to snap before.’
‘That’s okay. You were stressed… I understand.’ I wasn’t sure I did understand as Lola was hard to fathom at times.
While we walked back to the house I felt extremely happy to be a member of my family, especially now, that I wore the badge of hero proudly on my chest.