The collar was choking him. The man had tightened it after the kelpie had managed to slip out of it a few days before. Try that for size, ya mongrel! He pulled the collar as tight as it would go. Let’s see ya slip out of that! But as tight as his collar was, the kelpie still pulled against it.
‘Yeah, Jim Morton here, mate.’
The man couldn’t care less about the kelpie and his collar. He was in the house, on the telephone, his back to the large window. So he couldn’t see the dog straining against his chain, fighting against the impossibly tight collar. Not that it would have worried him anyway.
‘Could be worse. No point in complaining though, eh. No one ever listens.’
For all he cared the kelpie could choke himself. And that’s exactly what was happening. The dog had pulled so hard that the collar had become caught over his head and was cutting off the air. No matter how hard he strained, he couldn’t free himself.
‘Yeah, it’s that time of year again. Dog trouble, mate. Lost some ewes up in the back country. Need a few baits.’
The kelpie could barely breathe. Soon he would choke. Several times he jerked rapidly backwards, trying to force the collar the last little bit over his head. But nothing he did seemed to work. And as his breathing became shorter, panic seized hold of the dog.
‘That’s right, yeah. Good fresh liver baits, if you’ve got ‘em. She’s smart and I don’t want to miss her. Done enough damage already, this one. I wanna make sure.’
The kelpie was now on the ground, twisting and writhing at the end of the chain. He was pulling as hard as he could, but with every second his breathing became
more difficult and his strength would soon drain away. He simply had to pull free.
‘I’ll pick them up next week. Thanks mate. You too.’
When the man finished talking and put down the telephone, his lips creased into a grin of satisfaction. The grin stayed there as he turned and gazed out the window. But it soon slid from his face when he saw the empty collar lying on the ground at the end of the chain.