Apparently, according to an internet source, the dog days of summer are not a good time “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.” Brady’s Clavis Calendaria, 1813. Whilst dogs were involved and I did have a few hysterical and frenzied moments, I didn’t go near the sea and never leave my wine long enough for it to become sour, but it seemed like an appropriate title for the past few hot summer days.
Firstly, on Friday evening this little chap appeared at my front door. I had guests over at the time and, each time one of them left, I discovered him still there, occasionally engaged in trying to mate with next door’s (male) Briard, a tricky exercise but one he seemed determined to master.
In the end, he found a way through into our garden through a side gate, made himself known (in many and various ways) to my two dogs and showed no signs of leaving. I put him in the conservatory overnight which only served to freak out my cats, who usually sleep in there, and to make him howl and bark until Mlle Tialys the younger got up at 4.30 a.m. to keep him company. I was fairly certain he was lost rather than abandoned – just look at his recently trimmed fringe – so, on Saturday morning we put up posters around the village and thought we’d phone round the local vets on Monday with his tattoo number. On Saturday night, to avoid the howling, he slept in with Mlle T and was obviously used to such home comforts – although, personally, I hesitate before going in her room it has to be said. Anyway, on Sunday, somebody had posted – almost directly opposite our Found Dog posters – Lost Dog posters. We took the number, phoned her and he was reunited with a tearful owner who has promised to think about getting him ‘done’ as the reason he escaped was to search out a certain local lady dog – hence his inappropriate behaviour with any dog he could find. It was lucky for Kaya – as he is apparently called although he ignored us so totally we thought he was deaf – that he took the route up to our house and not down to the busy main road. A happy ending for him but perhaps not so for the little bundle of matted, dusty dreadlocks who is lost dog number 2.
Mlle Tialys the elder had a friend over from University to stay with us for a week. I was set to take her back to the airport yesterday but, before leaving, I wanted to give her a good lunch – no mean feat considering that she has recently discovered she might be a coeliac and therefore could eat none of the usual basics like bread, pastry, pasta, biscuits, cakes, etc. and every label had to be scrutinised to within an inch of its life to ensure no gluten lurked within but, I digress. I thought I’d zip to the nearest SuperU and buy the ingredients for a stir fry but my plans were thwarted when I saw this little dog wandering aimlessly round, across and over the big, busy roundabout. There was another woman trying to stop her from getting run over and I parked the car and managed to get her to safety on the pavement. Then, of course, there was no end of people politely interested (though even more that weren’t) but not wanting to get involved so guess who ended up back at home with a dog instead of stir fry ingredients.
Anyway, to cut a long story a bit shorter, we kept her overnight as I got a glimpse of the police kennels and couldn’t bear for her to stay there. We clipped some of the felted mass that used to be hair away from her feet, ears and eyes and, this morning, I gave her a bath. I was tempted to keep her but she is totally blind and our house and garden are large with steps everywhere and I don’t think she would ever get used to the space. It’s sad as I would guess she’s around 11 or 12 years old and has probably been a loved pet and I don’t like to think of her spending her last days in a rescue centre but, in the end, I took her back to the police who would be taking her straight to the centre in their van. Her last act at our house was to pee on my Persian rug so I felt a little vindicated although I don’t believe she knew whether she was inside or outside, not being used to the space.
The policeman told me that, if you take a dog to the rescue centre yourself, you are considered to be the one who abandons the dog and will have to pay a fee. The vet who checked her for a microchip said the same thing. Can it be true? It’s not surprising that lost and abandoned dogs are a common sight here when they make it so difficult to hand them in that people would rather leave them running about in the road rather than get involved and potentially get stuck with the dog or even incur fees.
Full marks to my boys, Stan and Taz, both once rescued themselves from the mean streets of France, who behaved impeccably whilst being hit on by a randy little ball of white fur and being kind to a matted old lady who kept bumping into them.