In A Pickle  

Vancouver Island adventure

By Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel

On the first day of holidays, my true love sank in quick sand, and our dog got zapped at the Air B&B's dew-covered land.

On the second day of holidays, my true love, dog and I, were, thankfully, in-ci-dent free.

Day one started normal enough. We went to church, and the Air B&B proprietor, whom we will call Ralph, offered to watch our dog while we went to the service, which was great.

While we were away, all hell broke loose when he let the dog out in the fenced yard and forgot that the electric fence was still on.

The wire was juiced in one section to keep the raccoons out of the pond; otherwise they would go fishing in his stocked pool.  He remembered his error just as Tig'ger went over to the fence.

Horrified, he yelled stop, but too little too late, and she touched her nose to it and got a good jolt, then took off running.

She thought Ralph zapped her deliberately and for the rest of our stay with him, she would not go near the good-hearted, disabled fellow, even when he bribed her with treats.

Due to Ralph’s physical limitations, he couldn’t get to the power source to shut it off fast enough, and injured his foot while trying. The poor, dear senior felt terrible for traumatizing the dog.

He finally coaxed her into the house and she stayed put in the bedroom that we were renting and would not come out.

After that experience, she eyed him suspiciously and would growl softly when he came near. She didn't understand he was trying to prevent the shocking experience, and didn’t intentionally zap her.

We returned to a remorseful Ralph, and a sulking dog. We then took her off his hands and went to the beach in Parksville, where more trouble awaited.

Being land lubbers originally from Alberta, we were unaware of the water that lurked below the sand. I thought it was freaky to see water bubbles form around my feet as I walked, but we carried on. Len went ahead, and sank into the quick sand.

The sand suction cupped him real good, and he lost one shoe then another; with each step, he sank past his ankles. He’d lift one foot and sink it again.

It took every ounce of his strength to get out. The dog thought it was a game and she ran circles around him and wrapped her leash around his legs. He was lassoed, unable to move.

I was laughing my head off. Suddenly, I realized the situation was dire, and said some prayers aloud.

Len managed to unhook the leash from the dog’s collar and unwrap himself, and with grim determination retrieved his shoes from the muck, nearly plunging in, head first.

With each step, he would sink again and again and, finally, with a loud grunt and groan hurled forward, onto drier land.

It was hard getting all that sand out of his shoes, and we cautiously made it back onto the rocky shoreline.

Len was exhausted, so we climbed up onto a grassy, open field and were harassed first by a guard dog that I prayed would not jump the fence.

As we walked gingerly on the edge of the grass, we were then yelled at by a man who said to get off his neighbour’s property.  Len politely explained what happened, but the guy said it wasn’t his problem.

All blooming heart, I tell yaw.

We climbed back down onto the rocks and to the safety of the vehicle, breathed a sigh of relief and drove away.   

I could not help but wonder what day two would bring.

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel is a Glenrosa woman whose dog, a mini Australian shepherd, when not running circles or bouncing off electrified fences, saved her from a bear two years ago.

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About the Author

Doreen Zyderveld-Hagel writes about the humour in every-day life, and gets much of her inspiration from the late Erma Bombeck’s writing style. 

Doreen also has a serious side, shares her views on current events, human-interest stories and sometimes the downright bizarre. 

She can be reached at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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