Our latest house-sit in a converted Georgian chapel was going to be all about relaxing – watching Wimbledon, (and the test match for Jim) – writing, reading and cooking for me.
The dogs are Spotty – a Jack Russell her owners say, but she looks more like a Chihuahua; and Dag (short for Dagley) a Heinz 57 variety (he does look like a Jack Russell!). They are both ‘puddings’, waddle rather than walk, and don’t go outside if it’s raining.
‘You don’t really need to take them out’, we were told. ‘Dag gets tired before he gets to the end of the drive. Just let them into the back yard. It’s secure’.
Imagine my surprise then, when they disappeared – seemingly into thin air. They were only out for about 3 minutes before I checked on them, and they were nowhere to be seen. We looked high and low. We couldn’t believe they would ‘go out’. They are not athletic dogs! We wondered if they’d been ‘napped’ but who’d take them? They’re not exactly prime specimens either! Were they trapped somewhere? – but we couldn’t hear them at all. I walked up and down the road – traffic whizzing past, imagining the worst. Nothing. But luckily also no injured dogs in the road. I asked people. I checked neighbours’ gardens and spoke to them. I called out.
This went on for an hour and a half. We could think of nothing else but to call the owners. (We also called friends they’d left as emergency contacts, but no one answered). Not surprisingly they were upset, alarmed, and gob-smacked.
And then, thank god, a neighbour came running. ‘I think I’ve found them’, she said, waving her phone. For once in my life I was soooo thankful for the power of social media! They’d been posted on a local community website!!! and were with the dog warden! By this time Janet (one of the emergency contacts) had called back, and we asked her to go and pick them up. Five minutes later, 2 cars swooped into the drive – Janet and her husband up front, and John, the dog warden bringing up the rear. A few formalities followed. One of the dogs wasn’t chipped and on the other chip, the telephone number was out of date. ‘I’d have called you immediately’, John told us ‘if I could have’. ‘Where are they then’? I asked and he swung open the back doors, and there they sat – behind bars, in cages – looking like the villains they are!
They’d been found on a housing estate – quite a way away. ‘What, but they don’t walk’, I spluttered, ‘Dag has to have three tries before he can jump up onto the settee’. ‘Well, he jumped into the van without any trouble’, John laughed.
Needless to say, from now on we will be watching them like hawks. And can hopefully get back to Wimbldedon, the test match and leg dangling!