It was a relatively cold morning in March, when we woke up and got ready in the midst of the Black forest, surrounded by mountains frosted with snow and the sun shown happy and bright.
The farm we were renting rooms in had a couple of cute looking dogs, both female. They had their own space in the vast farm among ducks, chickens and the horses. These two ladies were barking their heads off. Easily tempted, I walked towards them, calling to Heiko behind me.
They were so excited, jumping as high as they could, almost begging to be let out. Heiko reached us at this point. The gate was unlocked, just latched. I started to unlatch it and immediately realized it was a bad idea. It was too late. Both of them, with their strength and excitement pushed through and got out, wasting no time sprinting towards the road.
We ran behind them, not knowing what to call them, trying “Hund” (Dog), in obvious vain. One run towards the road, and then a U-turn towards (what now seemed like a really big) farm. Heiko took the less stubborn one, and I ran behind the relentless little brown hound and she didn’t look like she was going to stop anytime soon. Even though she ran past me a few times, she was too fast for me to actually get a grip on her collar.
Up and down, fearing for her life in case of fast cars, around fences, near the chickens and ducks and finally uphill towards the snow-capped mountains- she didn’t stop to catch a breath. I ran as fast as I could, I was losing my breath, my throat started searing and my lungs begged for air. I had to stop, all the time thinking- “someone let us stay in their farm and now I have lost one of her pets.”
I admitted defeat and turned around to see Heiko. “Do something!”, I said. While we tried to look for her, I saw a stream by the side and rushed to drink water from it. As I drew painful breaths, Heiko and I decided we should tell someone. We made our way to the common room. On finding the friendly woman who ran the rentals, I looked apologetic as Heiko explained our failed attempt to explore the farm and its inhabitants. She nodded. As soon as the talking stopped, she told us to watch her granddaughter who stood by her side this whole time, and walked up to the kennel.
That’s when we saw her- the brown little minx running across atop the mountain. She screamed her name (Hexe- literally meaning witch or sorceresses- HA! The irony!) and whistled. The minx turned around, running in the opposite direction.
The woman made her way back to us and started explaining how these dogs were used for hunting. She seemed calm and not as irritated as one should have been with someone who almost lost her her dog ( and I’m especially not used to people being extra nice here). Within a couple of minutes, I sat down, arms wide open and heaving the biggest sigh of relief- Hexe dashed into me and I held her tight. I started speaking to her, thanking her for coming back, shouting at her for running off like that.
At this point, I didn’t care that my lungs and throat still ached, or that I had mud all over my jeans and also had a tear from some fence while trying to chase her. I was grateful beyond words that this naughty little hunter came back home. She wasn’t mine, but she could have been.
Heiko makes fun of me today, recalling and imitating how freakishly I ran after her and how worried we both got. It is a good story to tell as well, but only because it had a happy ending. It’s a good story because I learnt several important lessons- need to get fit in case of an unexpected run; should not let dogs out during first meeting; appreciate that breath of fresh air or that sip of cold water healing your parched mouth!
P.S. I gave myself a holiday from writing. I’m back now! 🙂
P.P.S Excuse the rusty writing.