It all started with an innocuous email, which contained an invoice from Sydney’s Eastern Creek quarantine facility.
If we’ve got a final bill, then we must have a release date for Mr Pup, we reasoned. And sure enough, after a bit of email and voicemail tag, on Friday night we learnt that Mr Pup could come home the next day.
It’s a three hour drive from Canberra to Sydney, and we’re still new enough to Australia to be wary of roos on the road at dawn and dusk. Our plan had been to drive up the night before, stay in a cheap motel and be waiting outside the quarantine facility, Blues Brothers-like, when the doors opened in the morning. But this was the night before, and there was no time to book a hotel, we’d have to do the six-hour round trip in one go.
We couldn’t all go, we only have a little VW Polo and you have to take away your pet’s transit cage or you get charged a disposal fee, and it’s a big old thing. So, Mrs CBRbound volunteered to fold the rear seats down and go, largely because her name is on Mr P’s import papers and we didn’t want any last minute snags along the lines of “you’re not the registered importer.”
We agreed that we’d keep Mr Pup’s release a secret, and while Mrs CBRbound drove to Sydney, I took the boys to watch mini-CBRbound’s riding lesson (he’s doing great, by the way).
Afterwards, as we pulled up back at home, we saw the Polo parked up on the driveway and I made a quick phone call home to say we were outside and would be in as soon as I’d paid the taxi driver. Cue Operation HideTheDog.
We jumped out of the taxi and, upon hearing the kids’ voices, Mr P gave an excited bark. The kids looked confused, then hopeful, then excited, and dashed indoors, searching for the hidden Pup.
The reunion was frantic. Mr P pinged between us like a pinball, not quite knowing who to greet first. Eldest son broke down in tears of happiness, while youngest son wrestled Pup into a great big hug.
It turns out such scenes had already been played out three hours earlier in Sydney. Mr P (and I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing this indignity with you) peed on the floor when he saw Mrs CBRbound.
Apparently, he wasn’t keen on getting back into his air cargo cage for the journey home, so he sat up front (I like to think, giving directions and looking out for roos).
Once reunited, we set about making his homecoming special and we headed off to Uriarra, just west of Canberra. There’s a dog-friendly swimming hole and picnic area there and we swam, played ball and splashed about for hours, with Mr P behaving like you would expect of a lad just released from four weeks of quarantine.
That night, he slept the sleep of a Christmas feast and a stiff brandy. He’s probably been toughened up by his month in solitary, but as he snuggled down on the quilt, between Mrs CBRbound and me, it didn’t show one bit.
Fellow blogger In The Taratory wrote a great piece about the walks around Uriarra, which was what inspired us to go and check it out. If you’d like to read the full article, you’ll find it here.