Terrierists at large
Shooting Times & Country|September 29, 2021
It would be almost unthinkable to go anywhere without the dogs but travelling with them is often a bit of a nightmare, says Petrel
Petrel

The back of the truck opened and shut on the roller-blind principle, secured by a specially designed safety spring clip that passed through a fitting like the hasp of a padlock. Motoring up the country to collect a load of chattels, it seemed sensible to travel with Boss and Chuckle in the back of the empty lorry, where they could stretch their legs or settle on the beanbag so kindly made for their comfort as a parting gift by the wife of one of my shooting partners.

The trip was made at the height of the petrol shortage and, as the PAU hired wagon had a thirst like a rugby team after a game, it was necessary to stop at every other motorway service station to top up the tank as a guarantee of further progress.

This provided a good opportunity to check the welfare of the canine passengers and all seemed to be going well until we reached Taunton Deane. There, half-crouched beneath the chassis, I was doing my best to cope with the inadequacy of the fuel tank design, with one eye on the dial, when an anxious cry of “What’s that black dog?” alerted me to a labrador, wandering among the pumps.

Instinctively I called “Boss!” and the now-familiar animal heeded my bidding. Taking her around to the back of the van, I was horrified to discover that the spring clip had sprung, the hasp was free and the roller-blind back of the vehicle had opened up to a height of some 2½ft. On the brink, so to speak, stood the veteran terrier, fortunately, unwilling to attempt the groundward jump. I wondered with a shudder how far we had traveled up the motorway with the door in this precarious position.

A helpful cashier at the station dug out a length of wire with which I reinforced the fastening, but for the rest of the journey the dogs shared the car with us.

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