Normally it is an even greater effort to get to work on the morning after a long weekend, but not so today.
There had been a number of tasks that I had left hanging at the end of last week and I was keen to get into work and get them crossed off my to do list. After walking the dogs, I threw my gear into the car and headed out.
I almost turned right out of the drive by accident, but at the last second remembered to go left and left again so I could weave through a side street on my way to the main road. It was day two of school holidays, so I was expecting a smooth ride in.
As I approached the top of the hill, a pair of figures appeared at speed around the corner. Two dogs, galloping back down the hill past my car and wearing the unmistakeable look of pets who had broken out of a house and were ready to live the high life. The kind of look that someone might have on their face as they free wheel at speed down an incline just before the moment when they realise there are no brakes on the bike. I waited to see if perhaps and owner appeared behind them because although you are not supposed to walk your dogs along the road off leash, some people like to think they are special.
No one appeared as I inched my way to the stop sign. I checked my rear vision mirror and saw the dogs round a corner together and start to slow down, as if wondering for the first time what the plan actually was. Knowing that this would make me late, but at the same time what I would want someone to do if my dogs had somehow got out, I pulled a U turn and headed back towards where the dogs had gone. I had seen they were wearing collars and just hoped those collars had tags.
I caught up with them just as they seemed to be caught in a moment of indecision. They were both full size adult dogs: one was like a lion, but with a light brown coat, the other was a skinny brindle, who looked like more of a rascal. The good news, though was I could see shiny tags on their collars, which would hopefully have a phone number on them.
I did not have treats, so went for the bluff approach. Stopping the car, the lion looked at me and I called her over. She came and the brindle followed. I opened the back door of my car, which is covered with towels as a matter of course – just as well as the dogs were both soaking after what must have been a detour through some sprinklers.
‘Come on, up you get!’ I said to the lion. She looked at me and hesitated. This was going to be tricky, like trying to get two Shetland ponies into a raised pen, but then the brindle decided to leap over her mate and into the car and she followed – just as well as I was not going to be able to lift her.
Both doors shut, and with two enormous dogs jumping around with excitement at the latest installment of their adventure, I managed to get my glasses on and grab the lion’s collar long enough to learn that her name was India and punch the telephone number into my phone.
I was really hoping that someone would answer, because my next call would have to have been to the ranger, which would mean the dogs would be safe off the roads, but the owner would need to pay to get them out.
A girl answered. The dogs were kept in the backyard and she had not even realised they had escaped. She gave me her address, which was a street about 2 mins away by car and maybe five by running dog. By the time I got there, she was waiting with a lead, and we got them out of my car, down the drive and through the front door. They did not even look behind, just barrelled straight through to the living room, no doubt to dry themselves off on any available furniture.
Good deed done, I climbed back into my car, with the grateful owner’s thanks still hanging in the air. The back seat was a mess, the towels pulled off and covered, no doubt with interesting new smells for when my two – who right now seemed models of behaviour in comparison – got in this evening.
As it happened, I did not get to find out what my dogs thought. A last-minute meeting meant I was late getting home and my husband had already walked them when I arrived home. So my two can spend this evening blissfully unaware of the interlopers in their car, while in a back yard, only 3 mins by car away, India and her partner in crime can lie under the stars and dream of the day they made their big break.