Most of us love our pets and would do anything for them. The question is, would you risk your life to save them? A recent incident in our household put this one to the test.
It all started with a phone call one afternoon at work from my wife Jacqueline.
“Your dog nearly killed me,” she said. This immediately got my attention; one because she was crying and Jacqueline almost never cries, and two, Breeze is only ever referred to as "my dog" when she has done something bad.
Jacqueline started to tell me the story. She had been walking Breeze at Nihotupu Dam, something she did quite often. Breeze decided to try to get to her favourite spot on the other side of the top of the waterfall. What Breeze hadn't factored in was that heavy rains had raised the water levels quite dramatically.
The strong current started to wash her down the river. This is the bit where you have to make that instant decision; do you let your dog go over the waterfall and hope it survives and manages to swim out at the bottom, or jump in and try to save it?
Jacqueline made that instant decision and tried to grab Breeze but the current was too strong. Both were now heading for the waterfall. Jacqueline didn’t panic, due I guess, to her surf lifesaving experience. Instead she put her feet first, grabbed Breeze, and put her on her lap. They went over the waterfall together, Breeze riding her comfortable human toboggan.
The ride was not so comfortable for Jacqueline. Bouncing down the rocks with a 30kg dog in her lap left her arms and legs bruised and bleeding. Luckily, they both managed to get to the bank and out of the water. Breeze apparently enjoyed the game and wanted to carry on. Jacqueline did not. Freezing cold, she painfully hobbled back to the car.
The good news is Jacqueline didn't break any bones and eventually all the skin wounds healed.
At some point, we had the conversation about whether it was wise to try and save Breeze. Jacqueline could easily have bashed her head, passed out and drowned. As much as I love my dog, I love my wife more. I was somewhat surprised by her answer, which I expected to be "I didn't think and just acted." Instead, her response was very calculated; she believed that if Breeze had gone over on her own she was unlikely to have got to the bank, and would have been washed away to certain death. In her mind, it was either risk her own life to save the dog, or let her die.
I must admit I am very happy man to have both my dog and wife in one piece. Would I do the same thing in the same situation? I am not sure. I hope I never have to find out.
My name is Lance Eastman and I am the local vet here in Blockhouse Bay.
I first started working in the Bay in 1997 and tried to escape overseas for awhile but eventually ended up back where I started.
I did return with a Scottish wife, Jacqueline who is also a vet and my business partner at the clinic.
I have been writing articles on matters related to pets for over ten years now. Sometimes I run out of ideas and get my dog "Breeze" or my cat "Radish" to write something for me. Most people prefer to read these articles over what I write but it can be hard to motivate your pets to write sometimes.