As the summer drew to a close, we were busy listing the Pender Harbour cottage and arranging a loan so that we could buy the property on Pool Road. We didn’t realize what a rocky ride this would prove and how long it would be before we could actually take possession of our coveted holiday home. However, soon our activities in town took over and we had little time to dream about visits to the coast.

ogThe challenge of reining in our naughty dog continued, because any change of pace affected Max’s behaviour and it often felt as if I had to train him all over again. Max was full of whoopee now that he was allowed to run free again, so once back into the routine of walking with Edna, we made a habit of staying on the lower trails of the George Derby Woods. Here, the long line came in handy. If Max pricked up his ears and was ready to go AWOL, it was a lot easier to nab the end of the rope than it was to collar him. However, I had to wear heavy gardening gloves. Otherwise I was in danger of getting bad rope burns on my hands.


Predictably, though, Max found a way to have a disaster, even on his long line. One day, as Edna and I entered one of the rougher trails, Max loped ahead and ran around a large rotting stump that lay to the side of the path. As Edna and I drew nearer, we noticed a couple of wasps flying nearby. Then a couple more appeared. Suddenly, we clued in. Max had dragged his line around the stump and stirred up a wasp’s nest. As we reached him, we realized that the wasps were starting to swarm. There was no time to untangle the line. I bent down and quickly unclipped Max’s collar. Then we ducked our heads, called the dogs and started to run. It was terrifying. As we charged ahead, I felt a sharp pain in my back and ripped off my jacket, shaking it as we kept racing forward. By the time we had outrun the wasps, I realized that I had been stung right in the centre of my back. This was very frightening, since I had now started to develop a bad reaction to stings so I knew that I needed to get to a doctor. However, we had to check our dogs, and although Brandy was all right, we found two wasps burrowing in the top of Max’s head. Fortunately, with my garden gloves, I was able to pull them out. Then I handed Max over to Edna, who assured me she could take him home, ice his wound and feed him Benadryl. Having left Max in safe hands, I set off to sprint to my doctor’s office a mile away.


Later, having been given an injection by my doctor, I returned to Edna’s house to pick up Max. When I saw him, I was aghast. In spite of the icing and Benadryl, his head had swollen so badly that he appeared to have three ears. The pyramid in the middle was as symmetrical and pointed as the two legitimate ears. Poor Max received little sympathy when we got home. Hugh complained that he would now have to make a new long line, and the girls gurgled with amusement and decided Max was in perfect shape to go out trick and treating for Halloween. He could be a cone-head! Neither Max nor I, nursing our ice-packs, was in the least amused. But as Hugh pointed out, that’s what I got for have a dog who was a Ho-Hum-Ham-Fisted Husky.

Episode Sixty-five: Max, the Ho-Hum ham-fisted Husky.