It began like many a Saturday morning. I got up before breakfast and went to take my dog Wilson for a walk. We had two dogs until quite recently, Wilson and Sparky, but Sparky’s time had come and we lost him eight days before.
Anyway we’d gotten as far as the pedestrian crossing to get into the park, when we could see a dog on its own, barking. As we went to cross the dog came running towards us, tail up and happy to see us. However not the best way to approach a strange dog, who you’ve never met before. Wilson was on his lead, and not happy at the approach and I had to struggle to keep the two apart, fearing now that this strange dog was not friendly after all.
I managed to keep us all apart and we crossed the road into the park, our new companion, with us, but at a distance. I was looking for the owner, figuring that they were out too, but had gotten left behind, however there was no sign, and this strange dog had no collar or tags. I was beginning to wonder if it was a stray or a dumped dog, one that no one wanted. I could see by now, that it was a male dog, and he did seem genuinely happy to be with us.
He followed us all the way round on our walk of the park, again keeping a respectful distance, and I was beginning to wonder what I was going to do when we got back to the road, and what should I do if he followed us home. I didn’t want another dog, not so soon after Sparky.
As we approached the road, I began to get concerned about what I would do, and whether we could all get across safely. I hatched a plan to use my belt as a temporary lead, but when our stranger saw it, he clearly had other ideas. So Plan A was a bust.
As it was early I thought we’d just approach the roadside cautiously, and hang back if there were any cars. Fortunately there weren’t any, so we went for it. Straight across in one go. Our strange friend ahead, now leading the way.
We got home, and he did follow us in the front gate. Wilson’s understandably not happy about this, but happy to tolerate it in my presence.
As we’d walked I’d decided that we would try and get indoors and then call the dog warden. Putting Wilson indoors first, and then bringing our stranger in as far as our front porch. We are blessed with a large front porch, which is great for drying off wet dogs before they get into the house, and storing coats and boots. Now it would seem, a perfect temporary kennel for our new friend.
Calling to my partner Ann, I asked her for the telephone and rang the out-of-hours number for the dog warden.
“I’ve found a dog,” I said. Giving a description and the guess of breed.
“That sounds like a report I had early this morning,” Said the voice on the other end of the phone. “Does he answer to Murphy?”
I tried the name, and sure enough there was a response.
“Seems so,” I said. Thinking that Murphy would soon be reunited with his owner.
“Unfortunately I can’t give out the owners details,” the voice said. “For data protection reasons.”
“I understand,” I said. “Can you give them my phone number and they can call me?”
“No, I’m afraid I can’t do that either.”
“So what happens then?”
“You’ll have to wait until 9am.”
“But it’s only 6.30 now. I thought this was the out-of-hours service.”
“It is, but the dog warden only works after 9am.”
So accepting that out-of-hours, only applied to answering the phone. We settled in to wait. It was clear that we couldn’t let Murphy in the house, beyond the porch, nor would he stay in the porch alone. So we settled in to wait.
It’s now 0825. Murphy likes balls, but doesn’t like being left in the porch alone, even if only for a minute while I nip to the loo. He’s good company, but he has stinky farts, especially when constrained in a 12′ x 4′ porch.
I will update later.
Update 09:10. I wasn’t expecting an immediate response, but turns out that the Council didn’t log my call properly earlier, so Murphy will be with us a little longer than expected.
Update: 10:05 Following sensible and swift action from the dog warden, Murphy a.k.a Pickles, has been reunited with their owner.