The Escapades of Oscar!


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Updated Friday 2nd March 2012

Hello to all you Oscar fans, this tail is NOT a shaggy dog story! And neither is the amazing follow-up exactly a year later, January 2011 (see below)!!

We returned from England one Monday in January 2010 with Ryanair trumpeting us into Gerona 15 mins early. As a result, we got to the kennels to collect Oscar rather than wait until the Tuesday morning. Unusually the kennels were closed. Oscar had got bored with waiting for us and had escaped at 10am. The kennel staff had been out all day searching in relays, the police had been notified etc........ but no Oscar.

For those who don't know, the kennels are situated on a triangle of land bordered by 2 fast moving roads (one a dual carriageway, and the railway line into Spain. With no roads within a mile of home, Oscar's road sense is less than zero, so we could only hope that he had crossed the vineyards where the kennels' people walk him and occupied himself chasing the rabbit population and got lost. We also thought, if he hadn't become a flattened version of his former self, that he'd make his way back to the kennels for his dinner. His tummy clock is very reliable! At 6pm still no Oscar.

We drove around vaguely for an hour, looking rather silly as we called his name into the ever deepening gloom and stopped strangers, me with the odd sob. 7pm it was dark and no Oscar.

We often stay at the flat at Port-Vendres when Oscar goes into kennels (it is much closer than Caixas), we had left clothes there and, as we needed to eat, we decided to go to the flat and drown our sorrows at our favourite restaurant, La Tramontane.

Parking near the flat, I picked up Oscar's lead, saying to Frank "no need for that" and then out of the corner of my eye I saw a familiar tail. In disbelief, I raced across the road, grabbed Oscar who was sauntering along, quite unconcerned, and looking as if he was going into the Tramontane (which is opposite the carpark) for his dinner!!!

Which, in fact, was what all three of us did.

So how did he do it? The kennels are 14 km from Port-Vendres along major roads. (To see a map of the area, click here - the red circle shows where the kennels are in the top left corner.) Why go to the flat? We hadn't been there before taking him to kennels, so why did he think we'd be there? What would he have done if we hadn't turned up - head for Caixas? Was it all by chance? It'd be nice to know. We do know that the owner of the Tramontane had seen him earlier and wondered why he was "out alone". We also now know that the kennels (who didn't charge us!) habitually let him sit in the office with them and it was from there that he escaped - sadly, he's blotted his copybook with them, he'll be under secure lock and key from now on!

By the way, he's now curled up in front of the fire, gently snoring and looking very unenergetic, quite his normal self, in fact!

The follow-up

The 2010 escapade occurred while we put Oscar in kennels to allow us to go to England to see a Heineken Cup rugby match between Perpignan (USAP) and Leicester Tigers.

Exactly a year later, in January 2011, we put Oscar back in the same (excellent) kennels while we flew to Venice, again for a Heineken Cup rugby match between Perpignan and Treviso (near Venice).

Imagine our surprise when, checking for messages on our home answerphone, there was a message from a vet in Argelès saying that there was nothing to worry about, but Oscar had been found on the road in Argelès and handed in to them, so would we kindly go to reclaim him!

We called and told them we were in Venice, but Oscar should be in the kennels. The vet contacted the kennels and he was returned.

Oscar had climbed out of a kennel with 2.2 metre high walls, got into the kennel owners private garden and strolled off! We have no way of knowing if he was heading for Port-Vendres, but we are beginning to think that he thinks that each January he will be given a new challenge. Before his visit to the kennels this time, a friend had jokingly said we should search him for hairpins, files, rope ladders and any other lock-picking and prison escape aids.

At least, we thought it was a joke!

Here is a link to a very informative site for those who need to keep a dog secure

The finish

Oscar died very peacefully the day before his 14th birthday - he did well. One of those things that you expect but still comes as a bit of a surprise.

After our long trip to New Zealand, when Oscar stayed with Penny's mother in England, we noticed how he seemed to have aged - probably not seeing him for several weeks made it more obvious. He did settle back to normal, just more elderly, finding it hard to get up stairs etc.

After the New Year we got Beau, a two year old English Setter, and Oscar perked up and walked more often and further than in the last few years.

On the morning of Wednesday 29th February Oscar had a hearty breakfast, ate Beau's leftovers, climbed the stairs to sit beside Penny and followed us around as usual. Then, on a gloriously sunny afternoon, we went for one of Oscar's favourite walks through an old vineyard. Oscar was perfectly normal, plodding along as usual, but on the way back he staggered and fell and couldn't get up. Frank fetched the car and we brought him home. He was conscious and responsive all the time but his back end seemed to have completely given way. We lay him in the conservatory and he didn't seem in pain although his breathing was bad.

We wondered what to do as he was terrified of the vet, and we couldn't bear the thought of giving him more angst by taking him there. So we decided to leave him, whilst he seemed painfree, at least overnight. Frank took Beau for a walk, Penny stayed with Oscar and then his breathing became very laboured. Penny had his head in her lap, his blue eyes became glassy and that was it. He was dead before Frank got back.

From the fall to the finish was just three hours.

Click here for a clip of Oscar with Beau about 3 weeks before he died.

And here is a picture of the dogs just 2 days before the end.

Oscar and Beau

As a friend said on hearing the news - "I was pleased to hear of the manner of his passing – if only all life could end as kindly."

Limerick Competition

Pete and Sandra Wood have suggested a Limerick Competition and have started it with some rhymes. Send us your Limerick by e-mail to and we will print them on this site.

Said Oscar "I'd much rather be Young Oscar was quite in a rage JE ne sais pas pourquoi
Down at my home by the sea" "Too long I have been in this cage" VOUS etes partis sans MOI
So without any fuss Did he hitch-hike or leg it? Vous devez savoir
He hopped on a bus At least didn't peg it Que j'en avais marre
And went to Port Vendres for his tea. Not bad for a dog of his age! Puisque nous sommes un menage a TROIS
Pete & Sandra Wood
Pete & Sandra Wood
Sandra Wood
With dogged determination and without paws for thought Now Oscar, me ol’ mate, me ol’ mucker Poor old Ossie was having a bit of a miff
Oscar’s on the run and won’t get caught Went walkabout in search of some tucker he felt the sentence rather stiff
To Port-Vendres did scoot Even though he’s strong willed so off he goes
By a dog-leg route He could have been killed just follers his nose
Leaving Frank and Penny distraught Oh what a silly wee canine " that'll put the so & sos in a bit of a tiff"
Pete Hancock
Pete Hancock
Adrian Tee
Oscar était un chien du genre plutôt coquin "I like to watch rugby too" Oscar said I'll teach those bastards to leave
peu de patience mais ce qu'il y a de plus malin So from his holiday home he then fled USAP, Northampton and Brive
Au chenil il s'ennuyait à mourir He sat near the sea I'm off to the coast
il n'y avait même pas de quoi lire! Watching the match on TV For beans on toast
Dans un nuage de fumée, il s'est envolé, mais c'est un magicien! God, that boy's got some street cred They thought I'd stay put, so naive
Marie-Claire Bacquet
Tim Elgar
Tim Elgar
A lovable dog from France Though by nature a somnolent hound When young he would wander away
Led his owners a terrible dance. He hates to be kept in a pound Every day he would go far astray
It was hardly surprising, So he makes a big hole So we took off his male bits
The tension was rising. and goes for a stroll Which altered his habits
When they found him again, just by chance. Much later - in the port - he is found. 'till last week, when we had a replay!
Rodge & Marilyn Turner
Frank Parkinson
Frank Parkinson
These kennel-men try to be kind There was a blue-eyed dog called Os-car Oscar, sure aren't you great
but being in prison can be a bind who clearly was equipped with ra-dar You escaped from the kennels, but wait
I suddenly espied "I shall go to P-V Your 'parents' were worried
a door open wide 14 kilometres is nothing for me to P.V. you have scurried
did Penny & Frank really mind? where I'll find my master in La Tramontane bar" but at least you weren't the one who was late!
Penny Parkinson
Penny Parkinson
Doreen Page
Oscar Parkinson, What a lark-inson Impressed I'm certainly not When Husky and Labrador mate, or
Leading your owners awry by all this absolute rot otherwise act the Creator
But not such a prank about me feeling bereft the result isn't Lassie
For Penny and Frank because I'd been left or Haile Selassie,
With their vision of Husky stir fry. when I was making for my yacht! it's Oscar the Navigator!
James Trollope
Pauline Tee
Frank Parkinson
Oscar simply went for a stroll It all seemed a terrible mess, When my owners I eagerly sought
leaving behind his precious bowl. We thought he was lost I confess. I thought I'd prove them in tort
Now from far and wide But the intelligent creature, Lazy old mutt is what they say
we're penning with pride Had a remarkable feature. so off I went on my way
his adventures, straight from the soul. His own built in GPS to my home down on the port
Pauline Tee
Rodge & Marilyn Turner
Adrian Tee
The fame will go to your head Now Oscar's a re-sourceful bugger, While Oscar was left home alone
what an amazing dog, they said Whilst his parents were off at the rugger, fed up he decided to roam
"what's all the fuss He hitched a ride feeling hungry he thought
I'm not in a truss To the sea-side, he would head for the port
I think I'll just go to my bed" He didn't want to be parted from muvver!! for food at La Tramontane
Doreen Page
Lise Schwartz
Joan & John McKeown
They think escapology's over Poor old Oscar was a sad little pooch "Oscar for PM" is now the call
But deep down I'm still a rover Abandoned he felt as he lay on his couche as under his spell we one by one fall.
To Port Vendres I'll go mais enfin, what a vie de chien! From almost a zero
And if they don't show Port-Vendres beckons, here I viens! he's become a hero
I'll be off to my granny's near Dover I'm off to La Tramontane, just in time for my amuse-bouche! or is the story a little bit tall?
Pete & Sandra Wood
Marie-Claire Bacquet
Pauline Tee
Off to New Zealand we go We put him somewhere safe and sound Yes, Rodge and 'Lyn, I have GPS
to the sea and mountains with snow when rugby drew us blighty-bound which works OK more or less
"Oh that's what you think but not happy at all but once I was bent
I'll be there in a wink he went over the wall on Ashford Kent
I travelled to P.V, you know!" and not till Port-Vendres was he found. and it took me to Inverness.
Doreen Page
Penny & Frank
Adrian & Pauline Tee
F & P were at sixes and seven Until tomorrow he’ll just keep moving on, There once was a dashing young hound
thinking Oscar had gone to heaven At the Kennel they’ve only just realised he’s gone, who dashed off hoping not to be found
but as Penny cried A hobo he is not, but as he went to sup
Frank silently sighed Hunger drives his plot, he was rounded up
"Problem solved for 2011!" La Tramontane, his favourite restaurant opens at one. so dash it! he's now nailed to the ground
Pauline Tee
Chris Page
Pauline Tee
Oh Oscar the resourceful hound With distraught owners searching the hills We've had our winter trauma now
Escaped his kennels without making a sound This old hound with the strongest of wills (last year it was the pool and cow)
He decided for tea Walked for miles for a steak now we want a quiet life
To go to Port Vendres by the sea and to La Tramontane he did wait peace and quiet, without strife
And by the restaurant is where he was found. For Frank and Penny to cover his bills. - and if he goes again there'll be a row!!!
Jeanne Pilling
Jeanne Pilling
Frank Parkinson
They think I'm jailed - but now I'm free 'Oscar on his holidays; he felt his spirits flag A wandering husky was he
they should know there's no stopping me. Chasing bunnies all the day, was really quite a fag as he wended his way to the sea.
Now again I've got my freedom! He needed to be All the way to Port-Vendres
Maps and charts - I don't need'em In a French caff by the sea, that's a long way to wand-re
I'll be there before them at the Quai. Chewing bones from a posh doggy bag' Do you wonder why he wandered - curiosity!!
Frank Parkinson
Penny Green
Jack Beaber
A sad lonely husky at last was inclined Why did they find Oscar so far from his home? When Oscar did set off for home
to look for his mistress, who'd left him behind. What was the reason that caused him to roam? Caixas was too far to roam
He was worn out in the search, The answer's apparent Port Vendres was nearest
exhausted. Left in a lurch it's really inherent to get to his Dearest
only the husk of a husky could she find. he was lacking a Penny for the thoughts in his dome! And await his reward with a bone.
Jack Beaber
Jack Beaber
Rita Elgar

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