The Yarrawonga Chronicle enjoys hearing from our readers and, at times, some of their more unusual adventures.
This particular yarn, written by Annie Irvine, is the delightful tale two furry adventurers – Scruff and Susie.
The morning started off like every other Sunday morning, when you think everyone else is getting a sleep in, not so for the Irvine men. They are out of the cot and busily preparing for a full day of ‘foxing’.
What’s that you ask? Vermin control.
A small group of locals gather each Sunday to help with the fox numbers hence helping out the local farmers with their lambing succession.
There is one other important character that goes for the ride on these foxing adventures - Scruff the Jack Russell.
With everyone prepped and ready, the Irvine boys head off, a quick kiss and ‘see you later mum’ and they head off in the Troopy for a day filled with yarns too big to be true.
Having ‘foxed’ all day with success the boys decide to look at one last fox burrow and this is where the story takes an unwelcome turn.
Scruff heads down the burrow to see what he can flush out. This would normally take a few short moments before there would be some real live action. The boys waited and waited and waited a little bit longer for Scruff to reappear but to no avail.
Now was the question - “where is Scruff?”
It was soon decided that the group would start to dig to see if they could find Scruff.
But after four hours of digging by hand and with the dark closing in, this rescue mission had to be put on hold.
In case Scruff did decide to reappear during the wee hours of the night, the Irvine boys decided it best to leave one of their jumpers so that he would at least have a familiar scent to comfort him.
The realisation started to hit on the way home “what if we don’t find Scruff?”
The mood soon turned to despair, stress and heartbreak, with one of the toughest moments to come - we have to tell mum.
On arriving home and informing all family members, the tears flowed as one of the integral family members was missing. The little fella deserved better than this.
It was decided Mark (Dad) would check the burrow first thing the morning to see if Scruff had reappeared but to everyone’s disappointment there was no sign of the furry fella.
The harrowing phone call was made home to inform the boys that there was no Scruff and more tears flowed.
The boys headed off to school as did I on the Monday, all with very heavy hearts, having lost a companion and family member.
News soon spread that the ‘best foxing dog in north-east Victoria’ was gone. This news did not settle well in the foxing community.
There was a deep conversation between Mark and I, confirming that if either one of us was stuck down a hole we would dig each other out and why wouldn’t we do this for any family member – even Scruff?
So that’s just what the foxing team did.
An excavator was kindly offered by Hicks plumbing and they dug and dug and dug, following rabbit burrows and fox burrows for seven long hours.
The boys and I made the hopeful call after school to see if any success had been made but much to our dismay there was still no news. At least we knew we had turned over every stone and tried every way we knew how.
By this stage the hole was reaching 8 metres wide and up to 10 feet deep.
We went about our afternoon when suddenly my phone went off with a message “look what we have found”.
As I live and breathe they had done it, the little fella had emerged from the earth like a noble steed. The rescue mission was a success and the relief we all felt was amazing.
It was now time to fill this great hole in that was Scuff’s rescue mission.
Mark placed the little fella in the ute for his own safety, having finished the clean-up and making the farmer’s well-yielding crop back to its former glory - well sort of.
Weary and emotionally exhausted Mark headed back to the ute to bring Scruff home to where he belonged; well that’s what he thought.
As Mark approached his faithful companion leapt onto the door to greet his master only to hit the lock.
For the love of god - Scruff had locked out of the ute the one person that had spent 11 hours digging to save him.
This was not the outcome hoped after the extreme measures and long hours to get the little beggar out.
Anyway, Scruff was welcomed home to a warm bath, the home fires burning and a bowl of delicious food.
And the lesson the Irvine boys learnt that day, and the moral to Scruff’s story was - never give up on your family.
But just in case you think Scruff is the only mischievous character causing his owners headaches, listen to the story of the Leary clan from Yarrawonga and their Susie.
Susie (Scruff’s star-crossed lover) the Jack Russell had gone AWOL.
In hot pursuit of feathered friends while holidaying in Brewarrina, Susie has wandered off and got herself all very, very lost.
After hours and hours of searching to no avail, and with the Leary family’s departure time nearing, the hard decision had to be made to head home without their ‘Queen Leticia Susie’.
Not only where the Leary boys in distress but Scooter (the progeny of Scruff and Susie) knew a piece of him was missing.
Through the powers of social media the search for Susie began.
Shared a record amount of times and trending on Facebook it was very clear that the Brewarrina community wanted to see Susie, her distressed family and her star-crossed lover reunited.
The community did not stop at just Facebook though, they took it one step further through the local bush radio - this is where the real action happens.
After a few false calls and uneventful leads the one they were after came through.
Susie had been found safe and well and being cared for by a beautiful family.
Now came the question of getting Susie home – she was still 10 hours away.
Through the powers of persuasion and a cheeky smile from one Indi Jack Leary, JR (poppy) was voted in as he man for the job.
The 10 hour drive to collect the wandering Susie began, while her family waited at home with open arms.
So, what was the lesson the Leary family learnt and moral to their story? Never give up on your family (even if they do chase birds in a faraway land).