Dognapping and Mischievous Mutts

Flossie here.

Dog napping? Really? Yes, it seems to be the case. There have been several reported incidents of dogs being snatched from their own back gardens of late. Golden Retrievers and other pedigree mutts, appear to be the target.

I have borrowed time on the Boss’s computer to talk about this terrifying subject.

No one has actually bothered to mention it to me, officially, of course. Oh no, I have just had to eavesdrop on what are normally, mind-numbing conversations. I have learnt over the years that when the Boss sits down with a cup of tea in hand and there is another human nearby, they will sit and talk for some time so it is safe to curl up on feet and slippers. Not so if the human has a small baby in his or her arms. That could mean a sudden dash to fetch cloths or nappies when a dog, incumbent on the said human’s slippers, might cause said human to curse rather loudly.

So, there I was, the other evening, no baby in sight, dozing on a particularly pungent pair of shoes left by the Dave man (the best kind) when a visiting little human told the Boss that a 12-year-old Golden Retriever had been snatched from a friend of a friend’s garden in the next village and that there had been other, similar reports. A couple of Spaniel pups had met the same fate it seems.

My ears pricked up of course when I heard this terrible news. I did not take kindly to the Boss’s joke that she would put me outside the gate with a label on my collar, saying, “Please take me,” I know she loves me really so I ignored it. It would appear that these vagabonds are sussing out people’s dog walking habits and following them home. Most self-respecting dogs, myself included, when back from a walk, will want to inspect the garden—just to ensure everything is as it was left. This, it seems, presents an ideal opportunity for a thief to strike.

“We must be careful when walking the dogs,” said the Boss, Well, yes, of course—who walks their dog carelessly? I sometimes wonder about the Boss.“The wood is probably the worst place to taken them,”

—what, no woods? Eek! But no, she was right, the woods is a very good place for anyone to nab a dog. I was nabbed myself by a well-meaning but misinformed lady when I was a pup. I could hear the Boss yelling for me at the top of her voice but was powerless to respond until the lady who had clipped a lead to my collar, believing me to be lost, managed to contact the Boss on her mobile and I was returned. These days I make sure I keep the Boss within my sights at all times. She has a tendency to wander off you know.

So, please tell me, why this very morning, the Boss gathered leads and towels and other ‘wood-walking’ paraphernalia, and readied the car for a trip to—the woods!

Had she forgotten the previous evening’s conversation? Was she to be the world’s first careless dog walker? I was tempted to refuse to leave the house. I contemplated barricading myself in the kitchen.
“Flossie, walk!” trilled the Boss.

The pull of the wild was too strong for me, alas. I found myself whining and barking and running round in circles and leaping into the boot of the car unasked. Ol’ Keano just padded out and stepped daintily into the back seat (a perk of old age presumably)

Ol’ Keano is not overly bothered about dognappers of course. Being a cross breed, he has little to fear. Not so the dognappers, should they meet with him and try and grab me. Keano can be pretty fierce when he wants to be. I decided to rely on his grumpiness to deter any wrongdoers.

In no time at all we were in the woods. I sensed the Boss was looking around her a little more than usual. Was that Landrover a little suspicious? Was its owner just casing the joint? We had parked further round the track and the Boss took a different path into the trees. Was this a subconscious effort on her part to be careful?

Some way to our left, a bearded fellow was walking along the path. The Boss hesitated, did she know him? If she had worn her glasses she might have recognized him. As it was, she’d left her glasses in the car so, to her, he was probably just a fuzzy shape. She walked on. We followed. Actually, we didn’t follow, we forged a path ahead, keeping her within our sights at all times of course.

Hello, what was this? A look-alike hurtled towards me. I didn’t catch his name but this fellow liked to play. His owner was talking to the Boss. He was discussing the case of the stolen retriever.“This is probably an easy place for them to be taken from, that’s the problem,” the man said gravely.Humans are strange. Why in dog’s name did they bring us here if they think it is so dangerous?

On my fifth or sixth circuit, I paused for breath and the Boss called me on. As we cut through the trees, the bearded fellow was standing, looking towards us. He appeared to be calling my name. Aha! I raced towards him. It was only as I got there I remembered the dognappers. He looked ok though so I allowed myself to be fussed and then raced back to the Boss who had decided she did know the chap after all. All was well. Though, actually, all was not well. The bearded fellow was asking if we had seen Gus. (Oh, he must have been calling “Gus” not “Floss” then). The Boss was concerned and we walked with the bearded man for some way, calling “Gus” but meeting only other dog walkers. Gus had disappeared.

Good Golly, was this the dognappers at work?

Gus is a small, ginger Staffy/whippet cross if you ask me, but if the dognappers steal a 12-year-old retriever, are they really experts in these matters? I looked at the Boss. She seemed not to be thinking the same thing. Several other people said they had seen Gus running through the trees. Hmm, was he just trying to scare us? Had he not heard that there are dognappers in the area?

We continued on our walk, keeping eyes and ears peeled but there was no sign of the little ginger Staffy until we came to the car park. Just as the bearded man was preparing to send news home that he had gone missing, Gus appeared as though by magic.

The bearded chap was much relieved and the Boss looked positively delighted. We had by then, been joined by quite a crowd, three whippets, a poodle and a spaniel to name but a few. I think the whippets scared Gus off again for a minute but he soon returned, tail wagging and looking just a tad too pleased with himself.

The Boss clipped my lead to my collar and as we walked back towards the car, I caught sight of Gus, grinning mischievously from the bearded man’s car as they went by and I swear, that little Staffy winked at me!

I know I am in safe hands…
Keano, on guard
…when Keano is on guard!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow www.theglowstudio.com.


  • Martha Mawson

    I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want to read the news everyday. Always horrible news about children and animals and the most vulnerable. Glad to know that you are aware and keeping the Boss in view at all times. People can be pretty horrible, you know. But you are so lucky to have a family that loves you so much.

    • Deborah Barker

      I never quite understand why the Boss listens to the news when it is so bad but then, if she hadn’t I wouldn’t know about the dognappers would I? So, I expect she’ll keep on listening. 🙂

  • hilarymb

    Hi Flossie and boss .. I suspect it’s another way to earn a bob or two … sadly we’re in rather terrible times – so pleased to read you’re looking out for each other ..

    Sincerely hope it doesn’t happen to anyone I know … be they four footed, or two peds ….. well done for posting about it … Hilary

  • Teresa

    Stay close to the boss and Keano, Flossie and you’ll be fine. I’ve become a bit paranoid of late about dog-nappers myself.

    I’m interested in how you inspect the back garden when you get home – that’s something Indy always insists on doing – in from a walk, then asking to go out the back door to check the garden. Now I know why – but I always keep that gate firmly bolted 🙂 x

  • patricia

    Hello Flossie – Zip here in Washington State USA….aren’t those dog nappers just the worst sort and what some humans do to children is even worse. My Mother’s sister was stolen out of their back yard at about age 2 and this really upset our family. My current family thinks I am a bit too friendly – I just think every human I meet is my new best friend. I do not get to go off leash outside because I want to run and run and might not be able to get home. Then that is what Westies’ are supposed to do in the fields.
    Lots of moles in folk’s yards this time of year – I get hot on their trail and dig and dig if not held at bay. I did scare two rats out of yards this past week.

    We have stopped walking the Lake walk because there are now too many cars on the parkway and my person gets sick from the exhaust fumes. Also many folks do not pick up the POOH even with bags available and a doggie virus is going around town that enters through the nose. We have been just walking closer to home.

    My horse friend says most animals must “run their fences” when they get home to understand their territory. I love to go out into the run and make sure no squirrels or cats visited while I was gone.

    We all must be careful in this day and age….Thanks for the good reminder Bark Bark WAG

    • Deborah Barker

      Hi Zip! Good to hear from you. That’s a sad story about your aunt. I thought all humans were friendly until recently too. You sound very mischievous – maybe like my friend Gus? I hope you avoid that nasty virus though. Yes, we must all take care!

  • Andrea

    That is really sad and frightening. I’m so sorry. I wonder if your person has read the Elizabeth Barrett Browning section of Shaggy Muses, a book on writers and their dogs. I think EBB’s dog was named Flossie, but that name might have belonged to V. Woolf’s dog, I can’t remember. Anyway, the story of EBB’s dog’s kidnapping is quite interesting.Thank goodness you have Keano!

    A hearty sniff from across the Pond. Brio

  • Deborah Barker

    Hi Brio, my person has not read Elizabeth Barratt Browning’s Shaggy Muses but will make sure she does now. You mean there are other dogs called Flossie? But how confusing! I thought I was unique – the Boss says I share the name with her grandmother, as well as her birthday but she didn’t mention any other dogs! My Kennel Club, pedigree name is Roxanne Flora of course, maybe I should start using that?

  • Andrea Carlisle

    Oh, sorry for the confusion, Roxanne aka Flossie. Please tell the Boss the book called “Shaggy Muses” is by Maureen Adams and it is about women writers and their dogs, including EBB, Virginia Woolf, Emily Bronte, Edith Wharton and a few others. She might like it.

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