Being a cat, meandering and disappearing for a day or two as I go off camping, or travelling, is nothing new to the hooman. Although me not coming back at least once a day worries him, he knows that the chances are I am curled up in a bush, or in a tree, resting from that very large pigeon I devoured, or from chasing that crocodile along the river, or from exhausting myself from excessive snoozing.
The Wally, on the other hand, is clearly not a cat. He escapes every now and then, and we can only assume he goes to the shop to buy a sausage, or maybe to visit friends at the pub. He is normally back a few hours later, struggling to get in as hooman has blocked up whichever fence he escaped out of.
October, however was very different. The little swine escaped by digging a hole under a fence in a bush so hooman could not see, and off he went.
Day one, and hooman would go outside every 30 minutes to see if The Wally was sat at the front, or back gate, head bowed as he knew he was going to get a severe telling off, and possibly without treats for a while. Alas, he was not to be seen. Not in the field next door, or the field behind the house. Hooman walked down to the village for his weekly shop, going one way there, and another way back in case he could spot the scallywag off with other dogs, or trapped in a garden.
Day 2…It was time to send out the search parties
We were mustered in the morning, and told the plan. Ted-Bear had to bark a lot, Batman was to meow a lot, and sniff The Wally down, and I was to clamber into trees and keep a lookout. Hooman mostly shouted “WALLY!” at the top of his voice every minute or so. We were prepared, so off we went for ‘Operation Where’s Wally’.
We took our usual route out of the back field, round the farmers field, along the pond path to the river, with we cats out front, and the Ted-Bear on a leash doing his best to pull hooman along/make hooman fall over.
As cats, cannot be overly serious about everything at all times, and even though we know that hooman is worried, we still find time to arse about on the hunt. Many times ambushes were set up. Batman would leap out on me from a clump of grass, and an epic battle would ensue, or I would leap down upon the unsuspecting batman from a tree, also resulting in an epic battle of rolling around, and meowing, and chirping furociously.
Still no scent trails picked up. The Batman picks up something here, but it turned out to be the BO from a very old tree. Maybe Batman needs a little more tracking training? I on the other hand was being very useful. I climbed many trees, and although I did not see The Wally, this often gave me the chance to see other trees that I could climb, and I made my way to those.
Rinse and repeat.
We had searched diligently the back field, along the farmers land, and the last part before the expanse of the river was the pond. Batman gave it a quick once over, but I felt it was my feline duty to give it a second look. Also there are trees and frogs in the three to play with, so I toddled over to have a second glance. I may have been some time chasing frogs, and birds about, but my I only wanted to ask them if they’d seen him, honest!
The Ted-bear is a hulk of a dog. He is about 4 storeys high, and weighs the same as a bull elephant. Although he loves a walk, (hooman says he takes him for a pull), he tires easily, and needs a sit down every 10 minutes or so. This also gives hooman a chance to take a breather from being pulled along behind him like a sleigh.
As hooman and Ted-Bear take a rest break, we continue our search. Alongside the riverbank is a steep, root covered bank that rises to the fields above. We looked in holes, behind roots, up trees, and behind stumps, but The Wally was not to be seen. We chased each other about up, and down, and around the hill, hoping it would scare The Wally out of hiding, but alas, our attempts were fruitless.
I remembered that The Wally was a swimmer, so pointed this out to the Ted-Bear, who gave the water a good look. Mind you, I’m not sure what he could see with all the extra face he has to carry about on his head. I was never sure how much he could see at the best of times, never mind on a sewious search party like this.
So we moved on, further down the river, past trees, bushes, nettles, (which made hooman swear a great deal, as it meant he ended up with particularly lumpy, and itchy legs), and ended up at the roaring weir monster. This did not phase Ted-Bear one bit, as his size means that the only thing that could scare him is an apocalyptic asteroid strike.
This was becoming fruitless. We had searched the usual places we go for walks, and that The Wally likes to run around. I was getting dejected. It did not help that hooman had failed to bring any treats for us, and it had been an hour or 2 since I last had something in my tummy.
So, we decided to loop around and head for home, hoping that maybe the Wally would be sat at home when we got back, laughing at us and our failed search party. We walked along the rest of the riverbank, and walked up the slope to the top by the fields. From there we would have walked a figure of 8 around our usual spots.
So we circled round, heading back above the riverbank, next to the fields. It was a bit deserted up here, with nothing to climb on, and nothing to chase to put in my tummy. We trapped along, single file in case of ambush, (those wily sheep are still about. I wonder if they have something to do with his disappearance?), and followed hooman as he was dragged along by the Ted-Bear.
Nothing in the bushes. No The Wally, no ham, no bacon, and no mice.
Batman remained upbeat throughout, egging on, and trying to give hooman and Ted-Bear encouragement! “Come on, if we find The Wally there will be an abundance of treats doled out!”, he would shout, most enthusiastically.
Things would get very tough at times, for tiny little cats. Sometimes we would have to work our way through heavy, heavy undergrowth, some of it coming up to our heads. People don’t realise how hard life is as a cat. Not only do we have to forage a path through such underbrush, but we are forced to sleep for large parts of the day, missing out on all sorts, we are given treats all the time, even if we fancy a different sort of treat, and sometimes we get unrequested tickles.
So we were starting to cover ground we had already been over, so batman double checked the area, whilst I had a sit down, and watched on. I could hear the Ted-Bear panting, and drooling behind me.
In the back field, we had to stand on each others shoulders just to see where we were going. No sign of The Wally at all as we neared the house. this made hooman glum.
Hooman, in the 10 days he was gone, was out every day up and down the village, in the fields, and driving around trying to find him. He had never been gone for this long, and hooman began to fear the worst.
The Wally was gone for a total of 10 days. He came back pretty healthy, is a little slim. This made me thing he had gone to some sort of rehab facility for daft dogs. Hooman went through the whole garden, reinforcing, blocking, and making everywhere Wally proof. This has proved successful thus far…