In case you didn’t know, we have two dogs. First there is Delilah, a somewhat lazy, very rotund choccie lab with breath that smells of rotting fish which can floor you at 20 paces. She is the doggie equivalent of Mr Stink. One huff of the breath of doom and you will be surrounded by an almost visible pungency of malevolence. Sometimes, when I am tickling the kids, I hold them down and if they don’t surrender I call Delilah over to breathe on them. Don’t call social services, they love it really. Honestly, they do.
Then there is Fergus, a cross cocker/collie who looks like a bigger version of Kate and Will’s pedigree chum, Lupo. Except where (no doubt) Lupo has a gleaming coat and comes to call, Fergus has knots of hair that are entwined with debris from the forest floor and strands of weed from the reservoir. He had an entire branch stuck in his tail once which he had to walk all the way home like a badge of honour until I could get at it with the kitchen scissors.
Fergus also has a tendency to dig holes, pee like a girl and eat small toys – my son’s Playskool Marvel figures being his current favourite. I found Iron Man’s head in his poo the other day. Not smiling now, are you tough guy?
This weekend, though, Fergus gave us a bit of a scare.
I returned home from a school play rehearsal (on a SATURDAY MORNING I hasten to add) and the family were
arguing playing together nicely as usual. I made a cup of tea and then noticed – no Fergus. ‘Odd,’ I thought to myself ‘he didn’t welcome me when I came in. He always welcomes me.’ (I am the alpha male of the family; he follows me everywhere).
I asked the family where he was and got a general reply of ‘Dunno’. I called for him. I checked the back garden, then the front, then outside the front gate. Nothing. He was gone.
What ensued was half an hour of me driving up and down the local country lanes yelling ‘FERGUS!’ out of the window with more and more desperation creeping into my voice. He had run off before, during a walk with my husband, and I found him on the doorstep, having made his way back home. But his time he was nowhere to be found. I felt sure if he was loose he would find his way back. That left me three options: He was dead under a car somewhere, he had been picked up by someone or he had been taken by someone. Dog theft is rife around here and even though he is a mutt, he looks like the royal dog of choice and is high on the hit list.
There were no missed calls on my phone and returning home we were on the verge of calling the police when we remembered it was our home number on his tag, not my mobile. I don’t know about you, but we never use our landline. Its sole purpose is for the internet and the only person who tries to call us on it is my mother-in-law. The phone wasn’t in its cradle and was out of charge so we had to wait to find out that there was, indeed, a message from someone who had found Fergus!
Turns out, they picked him up right outside our house and our neighbour was watching from his kitchen window. I say nothing. I am just glad that he was found and safe. We went to meet them in Tesco’s car park to make the exchange. This felt very dodgy and I’m sure one old woman was noting down our registration numbers as local dog pedlars. They asked me his name (they had re-christened him Sam) and I told them he was Fergus, of Irish descent and much-loved and missed. He was VERY subdued and traveled home at my feet with his head very firmly stuck to my lap and big doleful eyes looking at me.
We still *don’t know* how he got out. My husband swears he never left the premises. Oh, except when he took the recycling out but he was sure the gate was closed…
Either way, it could have happened to any of us and Fergus is a pesky little bugger who’d be out of the gate like a shot.
Delilah slept through the whole debacle.
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