Thursday, 21 July 2016

Stuck! (and the Unexpected Not-Quite-Outing)

I swear, this dog will be the death of me.

As if he didn't scare me enough with his tumble the other week, he sure did yesterday.

Mum was gardening out the front, and as she does sometimes, had Billy closed in the yard with her.

He mightn't be the best trained, but he does understand boundaries. He never tried to sneak out the front door, and if he's allowed out the front, he's never tried to get out.

Well, yesterday, he did.
Not that he got very far, though.

I was inside when I got a text from mum.
  "Bill go himself stuck in front gate. Calling fire brigade."
I glanced at my phone, saw 'Bill' and 'gate' and assumed he'd gotten out.

I've written before that places closer to home, things like going for a walk around the block, are some of the most challenging with my agoraphobia. I struggle to even get out the door, down the path, and into the car if it's not parked in the garage.

Bill is probably one of the few things compelling enough to make me jump up and bolt out the front door. If he'd ran, I would run until I found him. 
Thankfully, I didn't have to go so far.

As I came down the path, I saw Bill standing sideways to me, caught in the iron gate.

It was stressful, but I had to be there for Bill. I sat next to the gate and put my legs right up against it for him to rest his front legs and head on. He leant his back against the brick post, and just looked so exhausted, the poor dear. But he was calm for most of it (he was stuck for an hour) and didn't try to struggle, and I just kept cuddling and holding him.

He was wedged between his shoulders and ribs. He'd tried to walk through, but couldn't quite fit. I can see how his shoulders would've fit going forward, but trying to wiggle back out, the bars caught on his shoulder blades.

The CFA (Country Fire Authority) said to call an animal rescue group, but I suggested the SES (State Emergency Service), as my brother used to volunteer and it seemed like the sort of thing they do, and I doubted an animal rescue group would have the tools to cut through the bars.

It was the right call. After some time, a guy turned up with a SES truck. He'd been driving when he got the call-out, and happened to have an angle grinder with him. We wrapped a vest around Bill's head to protect him from the noise and sparks, and the SES guy cut through the bar in no time.

He confirmed that, if we'd called animal rescue, they wouldn't have been able to get him out and would've called the SES anyway, and we would've still been waiting with Bill stuck.

The most stressful part was probably when a lady (a local?) walked past with her toddler, and she and mum struck up a conversation, as you do when you see a white fluffy dog stuck in a gate.

The whole time I was out there, I just kept my head down and focused on Bill. I hate thinking that people can see me. I can't even open the curtains for fear of being seen, so sitting there at the footpath for an hour was terrifying. But in my head, it was only me and Bill - not the street or the cars or the people or the world. Tunnel vision.

Once he was free and we went inside though, I just broke down. Overwhelmed and overloaded and just BOOM! I had my bedtime meds at 4pm, just after we got back inside, cooked myself an egg on toast, and had an early night. Crazily early nights are becoming more common.



  1. Poor little baba. Glad they got him out. Makes me think of little kids getting their heads stuck in things. (Our stairs in the old house looked like that gate, from me and my sister getting our heads stuck in the banisters, and said banisters needing to be removed.)

  2. That dog of yours... He does get himself into some right states! I hope it didn't stress him out too much, I'm glad you were there for him, and it sounds like you were able to do the right thing by him.

    Tunnel vision, yeah, I usually use that in situations I feel uncomfortable in. Just focus on what I need to do and don't let anything else set off the anxiety. Xxx


    honestly, i don't have to read much of his post to say that i'm glad he's alright. poor bby though.

    i am so glad that you were there for him. it's so heart breaking to hear that he's gotten himself in this position but i'm glad you were there for the most bit. you are such a support to him, it's so nice.

    i'm so relieved that nothing happened to him though. so so relieved.

    i'm hoping you're resting up and feeling better, love.

    -Sam Lupin

  4. Dogs are crazy, right? We had one that was an escape artist. We had to chain the gate shut because he could open it. Thankfully, we always found him or someone else did and called. I'm glad it turned out ok. I know that must have been very stressful, and I'm impressed at how well you handled it.

  5. Ahhh!!! How did he even manage that?! I'm so glad he's okay. It's amazing what the love for our pets can push us to do. I'm sure Billy was beyond grateful for your company while he was stuck. Kinda symbolic, matter what you're "stuck" always sucks less when you have somebody you love and trust who will just sit there and be with you. (I'm feeling sappy at the moment, sorry!)

  6. Oh goodness! What a cutie! Our world can be so confusing for animals. I'm sure Bill was quite surprised by his situation. One great thing about animals is their ability to accept a situation how it is without looking back and having regrets or imagining "how things could be if only..." I wish I could be more like that.
    Your description of your agoraphobia is so clear and relatable. I know it isn't exactly the same for everyone, but I think we all have times where we just don't want to be "on show." I have definitely felt this during various times living cross-culturally in different countries especially when lots of curious little kids are involved or when people are just asking a lot of me. In some of those places I've been, privacy is not highly valued and I've had times where all I've desparately wanted is to stay in bed with a door that could close and lock. (In one of those situations in a different country, there was no door and the kids were so curious how I looked when I changed clothes! It was tricky, but I found a way to keep them from finding out!) I know it is not the same or to the same degree, but I can relate a little to the feeling of wanting to hide.
    (Balancing the difficult with the positive, I remind myself that getting to know the people I've been around in these situations has always made me feel more at home and less on show. I do love living cross-culturally and it's always been worth any minor discomforts to get to know truly awesome people.)
    I know there are different factors behind your agoraphobia, and I realize I can't really know how it is for you. I imagine that you probably didn't describe the whole thing here, but what you did write about it in this post made so much sense to me and really helped me understand some things I've been feeling lately after our latest move, and the one that is coming up which might involve us living in a tent near the center of a small village. Thank you!

  7. Aww, poor Bill! I'm glad he's safe!

  8. What a drama!! I'm so proud of you for being out there with Bill, keeping him company, keeping him calm. I bet he really appreciated that. You did good Bella! Sending you lots of love xoxo

  9. I think I'm a jerk because if my dog was small enough, after a few moments of worrying I'd be laughing too hard to get him out right away. My Lord I love him but it's not unheard of for me to be cussing him out when I need him to pee before I go to work. Animals are the funniest things sometimes. I'm glad he's okay. :)

  10. Did you try covering him in oil first? I did that once. It was kind of hilarious.

    My step mum "fostered" a lot of dogs over the years so i may be a lil jaded about dogs and their escapades. ..