Soon Spring came streaming in , giving warmth and light again and came sparkling through to the bridal paths, spooking the horses! The work in the apartments was progressing more rapidly now which was fortunate as we had already received some bookings around the Easter period and beyond. We had decided to name all the 15 apartments after members of the family starting with ' Priscilla', my Mum's name.
The days were lengthening and three deer came to call and I just managed to get a picture of them:-
I began to notice a change in the behaviour of axle, our eldest doberman, who was nearly three years old. He seemed to be distant and constantly looking out towards the boundary of the parkland.
Then one day he went missing! We assumed he was in the woods , but it began to get dusk and Rocky was fretting, so we went out and combed the entire property calling him, but to no avail. It was not normal for either of the two dogs to disappear as they had been trained to stay in the grounds, which were mostly fenced or gated. It became dark so I phoned the local police, who seemed totally unconcerned and said that he had probably gone in search of a female dog. This did not help and I was beside myself because it just wasn't his nature to disappear, he was a home-loving dog.
Two agonising days went by, we put out all sorts of messages and toured around the roads in the car, just dreading to find a crumpled heap. On the third day I went out again with my daughter who was driving. We started to tour the whole neighbourhood slowly, with me hanging out of the ca window, calling Axle's name, because I knew that if he was lying hurt somewhere, or whatever, he would respond by barking if he was able. We were cruising slowly down a side road less than 1km from the Chateau, I was yelling his name, then stopping and waiting for a response, when, suddenly I heard him bark -- I knew it was definitely him-- we couldn't believe it! We kept on calling and following the sound of his barking. It led us up a drive into a courtyard of a farm and there in the middle was a pound with an assortment of dogs in it, including Axle!!! I banged on the door of the farm and a dishevelled man came out. I asked him why my dog was locked up in his pound, and he replied that it was his dog not mine!! My reaction is unprintable!! I threatened to call the gendarmes immediately, when suddenly, he unlocked the cage and thrust Axle towards us. The relief was enormous!
Apparently Axle had followed a female dogs' call which had led him to this pound , so the man had obviously decided to keep him and then perhaps re-sell him or breed him? I don't know to this day. The memory still riles me.