It was going to be a few days away at a cottage and she was so excited. At first he was going. We talked about the water and how he would love it. We could see the flash of golden fur in sparkling lake and people running from the shower of water as he shook himself off.
But then a worried look crossed Brenda's face. Haliburton was a long distance from Bond Head and Molson doesn't travel well. No, cancel that: He doesn't travel; he paces and pants --and then he does ungentlemanly things--over the back seat. Brenda has a new car. Plans changed; no cottage for Molson.
It was either go to the kennel, or stay with me she said. We both knew this conversation was a formality because she knows how much I love him; no kennel for Molson.
It was a gray evening a couple of weeks ago when Brenda was still away. Storm clouds were burgeoning and we were settling down for a quiet evening in when the phone rang. Brenda, was calling from the cottage on her cell phone and the line was crackling and breaking up; the connection failed. A few minutes later the phone rang again and this time she managed to convey to me that Molson's services might be needed that very night. She gave me the number of the owner of the kennel he came from and asked me to call her. She got little else out before the line went dead again.
I was beside myself with the excitement of the moment. Molson, came to us at about a year old, through a very special set of circumstances that involved no exchange of money and only an understanding that when he was needed to sire a litter, he would be available. Time went by and the call never came; Molson lived in blissful innocence--until now.
I called the kennel owner. She said to bring him over and they would bring him back when the deed was done.
Clipping his new red leash onto his collar, out into the gathering darkness we went. The wind was rising and as we drove towards Beeton (slowly, so as not to upset his tummy.) It started to rain. I peered beyond the windshield wipers that were wildly slapping away at the torrents of water and strained to find the right house on the side road just north of town. "Yes, this must be it," I thought as I compared the roadside green emergency number with the one on the hastily scribbled note that I clutched in my hand.
The large rambling farmhouse was well kept and pretty. I could see that, even in the dark. With Molson in tow, I dashed through the rain to the door with "Welcome Friends" on it.
I knocked. We waited. As the door opened, I felt slightly awkward. "I didn't know if I should pack pyjamas and a toothbrush," I said to the tall, lean woman who opened it. Joking eased my nervousness. Anyone would have thought it was me being set up!
She laughed and said that they would probably have him home in a couple of hours. Since he was new to this, she wasn't sure how long it would take, and his date was still on her way.
I handed over the red leash, and after stalling for a few moments by checking out a couple of adorable litters of puppies, I knew that I really had to leave.
It felt strange driving away without Molson, knowing that when he came home, he would have experienced such an important rite of passage.
As promised, it was not long before I had a call to say that he was on his way home. "Um, did it go well?" I asked.
"Well he was willing, but we won't know for sure for 28 days," said the voice on the other end, explaining some intimate details about the process.
The next day, my friend Dave took great delight in the whole story and imagined Molson telling his dog friends, eyes wide: "And I thought she was just taking me out for a walk."
I must say that he holds his head high now, when we are out, and there is a certain gleam in his eye when he spots another dog, that wasn't there before!