I still have not managed to officially begin my holiday by having a lie-in. It takes quite a bit of determination as it is with two dogs who will register the slightest morning twitch as confirmation that they are going for a walk and leap and shake, rattling their tags as they do so. It is a noisy business as each dog has three items of dog jewellery attached to their collar: a plastic tag with their registration number for the local council, a name tag with our mobile numbers and their names on and finally a small tag to confirm that they are microchipped. To make a dog wear a tag to say they are microchipped may seem like defeating the point of the chip, but Archie’s chip in particular has proven tricky to locate and they can slide about a bit and if anyone needs a microchip that works, it is Archie.
I was going to pick my brother up this morning and head off to the cinema for an early session of Arrival, which I have already seen, but which I wanted to see again. As it was not out on DVD yet, that meant another visit to a different cinema that was still showing it, but as it is quite close to my parents’ home where he is staying, it was fine. I figured I could stay in bed until 7.30 am and still get the dogs walked and stuff I had to do done in plenty of time before leaving to pick him up.
The dogs, though were working as a team with my husband this morning to ensure that I did not get a lie-in. He got up and they followed him to sit outside and then the noisier one of the two, Archie, decided he missed me too much and came back, now fully awake and prepared to do whatever he had to to raise the sleeping giant.
I gave up and got up. In the summer it is always the case that the earlier you get the dogs out, the cooler and therefore less stressful it will be, but we were not the ones destined to be stressed out this morning.
Down in the park, it was cool and I was chatting to two ladies who were walking their dog when another chap that we all knew came over. He and his wife had moved to the area about two years ago. They had their first child about a year ago and the only name from the entire family that I know is that of their dog, whose name is Scarlett. He was pretty upset as it turned out that Scarlett, a small Jack Russell Chihuahua cross had been lost. It was not clear exactly how she had got out of the gate, but gone she had and without any collar on. She was not microchipped, either.
He gave us their address and we promised to keep an eye out for her. I felt awful for them. As I know from bitter experience with Archie, it takes a split second for them to make the decision to bolt, and when they do, the last thing they are thinking is what is going to happen when they want to come home. To make matters worse, their dog is particularly shy of people, having been kicked badly by intruders when their house was broken into a number of years ago, so even if someone does see her, she is going to be pretty difficult to round up. I took a note of their address, in case of a Xmas miracle and he headed sadly into work.
Leaving the park I made my way towards my street to begin the ten minute walk home. The traffic on the other side of the road was moving quite slowly and at first I thought it was because of the morning rush hour, but then I noticed a figure walking along the centre line. It was a woman, dressed in a black T shirt and green jeans, with long brown hair and sunglasses. She was walking up the road and then occasionally moving in between the cars and standing in front of them. She seemed angry at the traffic. Sometimes she would stand there and then move, sometimes she would yell at a driver and occasionally she put her hands on the bonnet of a vehicle. I slowed my pace as she was walking in the same direction as me and I did not want to catch up with her, but she turned around and came running down the hill, occasionally starting her ascent again.
I called the non-emergency police line and reported her. I have no idea what was causing her behaviour but it was not good. Either she was having some sort of psychotic episode, or was under the influence of something, either way she was putting both herself and the motorists in danger. As it happened so did I, nearly. I was talking to the police woman and giving her details of what was going on as I watched her and did not notice the small boy on a bicycle coming towards me on the pavement. Archie did. He started barking, wound Lucy up and I just about managed to get them reeled in before they climbed on the back of the bike with the kid.
I have no idea what happened to the lady, and tonight the bin outside the missing dog house had a big poster with photos and her name on it. By the time I got home after the walk it was not even 8am and I was exhausted. Two hours later, I sank back in my seat and watched giant aliens land on earth. Frankly, it was something of a relief to finally watch something that felt more normal.
And Scarlett, if you are out there, trotting the streets, try and get back home please – your mum and dad miss you, OK?