Thankfully, I was not involved in any cat rescues over the past few weeks, which is just as well, as work has been frantic. However, Loki the prankster continues to “dog” my days.
On Saturday, I needed to get some groceries in. I wasn’t in the mood, having spent the day in my garden and having a pounding headache from doing my back in some weeks ago and resolved to be as quick as I could.
My local high street contains most of what I need in the way of basics, although for books and shows I need to go to the next town, which I loathe as it has become a massive shopping mall, attracting crowds of screaming children and ne’er-do-wells so infamous that the area is known nationally as a shoplifter’s paradise
I just required some basics, so I trotted up the road trying to ignore my headache which was becoming worse and worse by the minute. It was quite late, as I had been putting the expedition off all day but it had to be done as most of the shops would be closed the next day.
Having finished, my headache now excruciating and my vision down to a narrow tunnel, and having come out of a shop half a block from the main road, I was incensed to see a dog run up towards the main road, attached to no lead and no owner. I stood outside the shop, waiting for the owner to arrive, ready to give them a sizeable portion of my fevered mind, when I realised that no-one was coming and what I had seen was a dog running about, in imminent danger. I moved as fast as I could with two armfuls of shopping and cornered it in an alleyway, a building away from the fast moving high street.
It ducked past me and ran across the road, so I lumbered across and headed it off. Looking around for help it became obvious that no-one was paying the dog the slightest bit of attention and only I had noticed it. As I couldn’t get near it, I couldn’t touch it and in the heart-stopping minutes that followed, whilst it tried to get onto the main road and I tried to prevent it, I started to put my headache and tunnel vision together with the fact that 20 other people were not even reacting to the dog, but were damn well watching me and was starting to get suspicious that I could not trust my eyes.
I wasn’t going to give up though, just in case I was wrong and I happened to be in the road with about 20 completely uncaring people, rather than a canine illusion. Hell, I’d already made a spectacle of myself so a few minutes more were not going to hurt.
The dog tired of the game and trotted back the way it had come. I stopped to catch my breath and call someone and then realised it had gone round the corner and I couldn’t see it anymore. To tell the truth, I was so sore and so weirded out, I considered going home. That bloody little voice inside of me said “supposing it is a real dog and you go home and it gets hurt?” So I plodded on. Suddenly and miraculously, not only could I see the dog down the road but someone walking ahead of me reached out and patted the dog on its head.
Yelling to get their attention, so they could grab hold of the dog, I dragged my bags down the road. Too late unfortunately, the dog had seen me and was off again. I followed it some more and came out in front of a local park. To the left were a row of flats and the dog, a lovely Alsatian cross collie-type, was sitting on the lawn in front of the flats.
Not wanting to have the dog run off again, I crept around it, down a path and started knocking on doors. No-one answered and after about four attempts, I called my friend to come and help. She was a little distance away and as I got off the phone, a young lad came by who knew the dog, gave it a pat and started towards one of the flats. I asked him if he knew where the dog lived and he pointed out a flat at which I had not yet knocked.
I duly did, the owner answered and the dog flew in the door in the middle of my explanation. I explained where the dog had been and the danger it had been in and although she was a bit taken aback, she mentioned quite casually that it must have got out of the back gate. She thanked me and stifling my temper, I left. I walked down the path and phoned my friend to say, not to worry, found the owner and whilst I was explaining what happened, I exploded into invective in mid-sentence.
You see, whilst I was standing there, not a minute from the flat’s door another dog had come running out of the block (which only has 10 flats to it) and was headed for the park. For the second time that afternoon, I doubted my sanity and swearing fruitfully, I got off the phone and marched back towards the flats.
The front door opened onto a flight of stairs. There was a baby safety gate which was also open and it is though this that the dog had trotted. Knocking and yelling for minutes had no effect and I was about to go marching into the property when a woman peered down the stairs. I yelled that her dog had got out and she grabbed her shoes and went to fetch it, just as it got into a fight with a larger, more aggressive dog. To be fair, it was trying to play, but the other dog was having none of it and decided to go for the jugular instead.
I stomped off as the owner gained control of her dog, not able to contain my anger and knowing that having a go at the owner was not going to stop her being so careless with her animal.
A cross, painful tramp home and a much needed cup of tea later, the thing that struck me about that bizarre hour was that, had I not been there, the first dog would probably continued its journey onto the main road and may have got hurt. The second dog may have been hurt in the fight from which its owner just managed to save it. Perhaps it was lucky or fated that I was there. I was grateful that I played a part in getting both back home safely. But what gnaws is the fact that, in both cases, it appeared not to be the first time this had happened and that these lovely dogs were likely to put themselves in danger again and again, just because their owners couldn’t be bothered to make sure that doors and gates were closed.