THE seeds of calamity were sown weeks before, when I innocently took my younger sister and dog to the park a couple of kilometres from our farm.
Rocky, a part blue heeler, part German shepherd, part kelpie, was probably the smartest dog I have seen.
He was certainly the smartest dog I have owned.
Another piece of ceiling was dislodged and, as these things tend to do, it fell onto the edge of the fruit salad bowl. It catapulted fruit and juice all over the kitchen before the bowl hit the floor and smashed.
I assisted my sister, nine years my junior, to the top of the large slippery dip and, out of curiosity, called Rocky to come.
He struggled for a while, but eventually worked out he could climb the metal steps.
We then slid down and, after some trepidation and coaxing, Rocky followed.
We did this a couple of times before Rocky was confident enough to climb the slippery dip and slide down the polished metal surface with little other than a few hand gestures.
He learnt quickly.
In this instance, too quickly.
A few weeks later we had a team of plumbers, helpers and family members at the farm house to replace the roofing iron.
The house was elevated about 3m and, with high ceilings, it was a long way from the ground to the roof.
On seeing me climb the ladder, Rocky decided it was something he could do, so up he came.
In hindsight I should have stopped him.
As soon as he got there he took fright from the height.
He wanted to get down, but we all soon learnt it was mucheasier for a dog to climb up a ladder than go down.
He'd attempt it, but trying to go down face first was too daunting and probably impossible for an animal with four legs, so he was stuck.
He trusted me, so I put him under one arm and I'd climb down a few rungs before he'd have another look at the ground, decide he wasn't going down there and take off back to the roof.
After a couple of attempts he was getting edgy.
The plumbers tried to grab him to pass him down the ladder to me, but hewas having none of that.
Up went the hackles and he let out a growl that left no-one in any doubt he was in no mood to be messed with.
A few of the workers tried to get him into a corner, but he was quick and determined.
He ran to the eves where a cracked piece of fibro broke off.
The dislodged piece fell the 5-6 metres toward the ground where it hit the garden hose outlet and broke it off.
Water shot everywhere.
And Rocky had a close shave, he had nearly fallen through the hole he'd created through the broken eve.
It did nothing for his state of mind.
He ran across the ceiling to above the kitchen where my mother was preparing a large bowl of fruit salad.
Another piece of ceiling was dislodged and, as these things tend to do, it fell onto the edge of the fruit salad bowl.
It catapulted fruit and juice all over the kitchen before the bowl hit the floor and smashed.
By now everyone on site was trying to get the dog settled.
We managed to get him into a corner where I talked to him for long enough that he'd calm down.
My father climbed down and grabbed a hessian potato bag and a rope.
I had the feeling Rocky knew what was going on when I started putting him into the bag - he raised no objection and seemed to recognise this was a potential solution to his woes.
We lowered him down and let him out of the bag - one relieved dog and a roofing team that was in equal measure relieved and amused.
I thought he'd never go up a ladder again, but the next time we went to the park, up the slippery dip ladder he went again with no hesitation.
But he never again attempted to climb a ladder to a roof.
Mind you, it was not something we were going to encourage anyway.
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