ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

A local dog has taken it upon himself to eat about 20 grapes earlier today, completely derailing the morning routine for a Betoota Heights family.

It’s been a hard slog this year for the Chester Family of Ranger Circuit, but they’ve managed to cut back and work hard. Now, as the new financial year beckons, they’ve gotten on top of some ugly debt.

The economy is shrinking and it will shrink further. Mike Chester’s position as a First Officer at Bonza was made redundant this week after months of uncertainty. Since the collapse of Bonza, Mike’s been flying a Cat 745 articulated dump truck for Bedourie Bauxite. The 45-year-old pilot is married to Wanda, a successful former lawyer who quit the profession in January 2020 to start a cafe in the French Quarter. Through this fiscal quagmire of misfortune, they’ve managed to make it all work. Their kids have wanted for nothing and the roof has remained above.

“We lived on credit cards, really,” Mike said.

“I got paid out the other day and we had insurance, but it still didn’t cover everything. But the payout will get us back to almost where we were. Wanda is going back to work and everything is looking like it might be OK. We’re behind massively on the mortgage but the bank has been good. Well, understanding. Lucky I paid ahead when I was at Rex.”

“But the fucking dog this morning. Fucks sake.”

About 9am this morning, with the family halfway out the door, Wanda gasped.

Milo, the family’s 6-year-old labrador, had gotten up on the bench and hoed into the grapes one of the kids left out.

“Grapes are toxic to dogs,” said Wanda.

“Extremely toxic.”

Mike admits that he was keen to “roll the dice” and see if Milo could survive on his own, but Wanda protested.

“We need to take him to a vet.”

Mike shook his head recounting the mid-morning visit to the Green Road Dog Hospital.

“We go in, I’m holding Milo in my arms, and the bloke on the desk asks what the go is. I go, ‘Mate, this fucking thing has a gutful of grapes,’ and we waste no time, in we go and the vet squirts this shit down Milo’s throat and puts out a bunch of sheets on the floor,” he said.

“Few moments pass and Milo begins spewing his guts up and we count 21 grapes. Vet says he would’ve been ‘fucked’ had we not brought him in. Terrible death, painful, etc. So I felt a bit better. Vet wants to keep him for a look overnight. I hand over my less full American Express and now I’m at home shaking my head.”

“Fucken Milo you arsehole. Glad you’re OK but.”

More to come.


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