The Duke spent 10 days holiday with me while Daughter sunned herself on a tropical island.
It rained in New Zealand and daily walkies had to be before work. And I wasn’t leaving a smelly dog inside my house all day. As I drove off The Duke started barking. Then howling like a baby. I rang my neighbour when I got to work but all was well. He just told The Duke to SHUT UP.
On the weekends we went trekking. At the bottom of the hill at the Agility Park, there is the fenced in Settling Pond from the old rubbish dump and a storm water drain. The Duke loves the idea of this drain, and a lot of yelling on my part has so far, kept him out of the mire. Other smells catch his attention and the bird life catches mine.
Not so the Cemetery Walk. The Duke flies down the steep steps and is away in the bushes by the time I get down. I call him back and he bounds into a wet mucky hole. OMG! He’s sunk to his underbelly. He looks up at me. NO WAY, I’M NOT GETTING IN THERE. Flounder, flounder, flounder. Shake, shake, shake.
Into the fast running stream and he’s soon washed clean. I hear a noise in the trees and let The Duke snuffle ahead. I sneak up on a Kereru.
Up at the Maungakawa Reserve there is a myriad of new smells. The Duke loses me pretty quickly as I’m captured by the host of tuis drinking from the spring blossoms. I reluctantly follow The Duke’s disappearing tail and I come across him chewing on something. OMG a dead possum. GET THE H… OUT OF THAT! It’s got to be poisoned! How do I tell Daughter I killed her dog! But no. We find a new path that the Department of Conservation has put through the bush.
All of a sudden The Duke is prancing up and down in the undergrowth. There’s a smile on his face. Scurry scurry. It’s a rat. The Duke lands on it a couple of times but springs off as he doesn’t really know what to do with it.
Then, surprising both of us, the rat climbs a tree. The rain starts coming down heavier and two bedraggled bodies head for the car.
The Duke bounds out of the car, rearing to go. There are wooden structures lined up to test the dogs’ agility. A hurdle, an ‘A’ frame, parallel bars, posts to weave between. The Duke lifts his leg and does what many dogs do on such structures.
The park is a wide expanse of grass, diligently mowed by the Waipa District Council mowers. There is a very steep descent to a very green pond at the bottom of a gully. It’s securely bound by a two metre high wire fence. This storm water pond discharges into the swamp in the nearby gully.
As we head down the hill there is the sound of tuis in the bush. Fantails flit beside us and swallows swoop above.
Under our feet, below a layer of dirt, is a rubbish dump. For forty years, from 1959 to 1999 trailer loads of household, garden and commercial rubbish were tipped over the bank. When it was full it was covered with clay and topsoil, sown into pasture and left to settle. Leachate is now collected and pumped into the sewerage reticulation.
Waipa District Council opened the Agility Park for exercising dogs in 2006.
The Duke does his business as dogs do, and there is the green ‘doggy do’ receptacle – but remember to bring your ‘doggy do’ bags!