After Ollie’s recent fruitless search for bears, he seems to have devoted his hunting attentions to ducks instead. This has been helped by a small family of ducks, who have taken up residence in the nearby river. As they are nearly always to be found congregating in the same spot, Ollie has quickly realised that he no longer has to search up and down the river, hoping to find their place of choice. He can now almost guarantee to go straight to their spot under some overhanging branches, flushing them out with little effort.
For their part, the ducks appear to have become accustomed to the wrinkly intruder, and no longer fly off squawking when he appears. Instead, they just swim off in the direction of the road bridge, always managing to stay just ahead of the excitable dog. He makes so much noise jumping and splashing, he could never hope to surprise them anyway. He has never managed to catch a duck, and I feel sure that he just sees the whole escapade as a frustrating game of chase. If he gets too close, they quickly turn around, and escape him by swimming into the dense reeds.
After a hot night, the weather changed today, with three hours of rain, followed by a damp and grey afternoon. It was still warm enough though, and Ollie was soon in the river shortly after we arrived at the Meadows. After a splash around at the bend, he set off with some purpose, and I concluded that he was on a duck-hunting mission. He found the usual spot, and waded in. The ducks meandered off, showing no alarm, and with an air of resignation. They headed to the deeper water under the bridge, but this time Ollie was more determined. He followed them into the unfamiliar area, and soon the water was over his head, leaving him no choice but to swim. He came spluttering back to the bank, soaked through, and shaking himself from nose to tail.
I walked him into the open areas, where the late afternoon sun would help to dry him. After lots of rubbing his face on the grass, followed by increasingly violent head-shaking, I concluded that he had got water in his ears, which drives him to distraction. I got a tissue, and wiped inside as far as I could, but he ran off afterwards, still shaking his head for all he was worth. Even after we got back home, he was shaking enough to expel tiny drops of water, so Julie and I cleaned his ears again. We now have to hope that he doesn’t get yet another ear infection, or it could turn out to be a very expensive duck hunt indeed.