This morning I took my little fox terrier dog Billy, out for his usual walk. We have a flooded plain area at the end of our street that the council are trying to conserve for the local wildlife, and as I pass it every morning, I have encountered lots of movement behind the bushes; noises and the cracking of twigs. I am usually very calm when it comes to local wild life, but this IS Australia, the land that has the most poisonous wild life in the world.
So this morning, I was happily passing the outskirts of the flooded plain area, when a screeching and a flapping appeared on my nearside. It was a magpie which was perched on the lowest branches of the tree, just in my line of sight. I screamed, and immediately felt like an idiot, especially when the woman across the road (who was sitting outside her house, on a mobile phone) turned and looked at me open mouthed. Have you ever felt silly? I did just this morning!
I slunk away as quietly as I could after my outburst, to nearly step on a large black lizard that just slicked his tail at me and ran into the bushes. I nearly screamed again but restrained myself by putting my hand over my mouth…but this time my dog went bananas and started barking frantically as he dived in to bushes. For a small thing, he sure has a lot of strength when he’s excited. I nearly lost hold of his lead, which would be disastrous as he; 1) has no road sense; and 2) would run into the bushes which leads to Aussies outback and would never be seen again! Disaster abated, I walked quickly down the road, dragging Billy with me, who was still barking and pulling himself towards the bushes. No sign of the lizard of course, he was halfway up the mountains by now!
Crisis over, I thought over the incident last night when Billy and I went for our evening stroll. Before we had even got past the porch at my front door, Billy had grabbed a massive cane toad into his mouth and had started to shake it! I shouted and my hubby came running, holding a broom in his hand, ready to swipe the thing onto the lawn. What a drama! The toad lay on its side all ‘puffed up’ like the frog in Shrek (remember that scene?), and I frantically wiped the foam off my dog’s mouth with a damp cloth before we continued on our walk – and we hadn’t left the front door yet! Saints preserve us!
I think the next time we go for one of our lovely, leisurely, and relaxing walks again – I will ensure that I am properly prepared, with a cover over my head, a stick to shoo away the wildlife, and boots to protect my feet! The saying ‘taking your life in your own hands,’ is so apt when taking a short stroll down my street!

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