Release from Quarantine
Jen needed to be in the western suburbs of Sydney between 1:30 and 3:30 to collect Pounder. Billy brought one of his dog carriers at Jen's request. He had three he used to transport his Heelers to other farms and stations to help round up the livestock. It was big enough to house Pounder comfortably.
“That looks like a bank deposit box with air vents in it,” Jen observed.
“I had these custom-made. They are stainless steel and I think they’ll last longer than I will.”
Billy pulled up to the quarantine station, and Jen went inside to arrange the release. Billy went to the back of the Land Rover to retrieve the carrier. As he was wrangling the massive thing out of the vehicle, Jen appeared with a light-brown colored dog, wildly jumping and spinning around her at the end of his leash.
“Come over here, Billy!” Jen exclaimed. “Meet your new best friend!”
The dog’s excitement diminished somewhat when Billy approached them. Jen bent down to reassure her pup, patting him on his head as she introduced him to Billy.
“And this is going to be one of your new housemates, Pounder!” The happy dog wagged his tail vigorously when Billy petted him.
“Let’s take him for a walk,” Jen said. Billy pushed the kennel back into the car, locked it up, and they wandered the grassy roadway.
“Where are you staying tonight Billy?”
“I’ve arranged to go back to the place we stayed in Forster. The couple that runs the motel told me it would be okay to bring the dog inside if he stays in his kennel. When is your flight back home?”
“Not until tomorrow at one,” Jen replied. She felt a sharp pang when she answered him. It was going to be hard for her to leave this place. She was very attached to Pounder and had grown close to Billy’s family. Her mind raced for reasons to stay while her loyalties dictated she go home. Suddenly she blurted out. “I think I should stay here another two weeks or so. I haven’t been with Pounder for over three weeks and I want to be sure he remembers his previous training. It will also make his transition here a good one. Yes, I need to stay here for a while longer,” Jen convinced herself.
Billy showed surprise and concern although inwardly he was pleased with the change of plans. “Okay, then. Let’s start our trip back.”
“I have to call home first,” Jen told him. “I’ll meet you back at the car. Here you take Pounder.”
Jen dialed home. It was near nine in the evening there, and Randy answered. “Hi sweetie, this is Jen checking in.”
“Hi honey,” Randy replied.” Isn’t it time for your flight home soon?”
“Well, that’s why I’m calling. After being in the quarantine station for four weeks, I’m worrying Pounder will feel lost without me…”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake Jen! It makes no difference to Pounder if you leave now or in two years. You’re going to have to let him go you know.”
“I want to stay another two weeks. I can change my ticket and fly out of Brisbane.”
“Whatever you want dear,” Randy said impatiently. “I need you to remember you live here and not in Australia.”