Tuesday 26th: Flossie here – by the skin of my teeth!
I have had a traumatic day. The Boss seems to think she had the worst deal but what does she know? Was she the one bemused and lost in a sea of half familiar faces?
Let me start at the beginning.
The warm, sunny weather continues today and we jump in the car bright and early in readiness for our trip to the woods. The last few trips have been a pleasure. The Boss has taken to parking in a different place which is much closer to the burbling brooks and bluebells. She thinks it is aesthetically pleasing to stroll through the bluebell lined paths and watch me splash about in the streams.
It suits me. My coat is a tad too thick for comfort when the sun shines. I make a bee-line for the water and delight in going as deep as I can. Sadly, none of the streams seem deep enough to doggy-paddle in but at this time of year, at least there is water in them!
This morning we arrive, park the car and Ol’ Keans and I leap out and I race off down the track. The Boss follows at a slightly slower pace. This means I have to stop and check she is still there from time to time. Ol’ Keans just trots along, sniffing here and rummaging there – he avoids the water and doesn’t do much running and jumping these days. Strange fellow!
We haven’t gone too far when Ellie the German Shepherd appears. Have I mentioned Ellie before? She is a few months older than me and has an owner who despairs of her tendency ‘to guard’. Ellie sniffs Ol’ Keans and they give each other a curt nod before moving on. I am desperate to be friends with Ellie. I approach slowly and crouch as near to the ground as I can to show her that I mean no harm. Ellie spots me.
Before I know what is happening I am pinned to the ground, helpless, with Ellie’s teeth firmly gripping my neck. Ellie’s owner yells at her from afar and reluctantly, she loosens her grip. I begin to stand, she pushes me back down and growls.
Ok, I get the message. I will stay here for a bit.
The Boss is close by and calling me but I am powerless to go to her until Ellie decides to wander back to her owner. The Boss seems to know the owner and they exchange pleasantries. I am minding my own business but get too close to Ellie’s owner which causes Ellie to growl and pin me to the ground again.
The Boss and Ellie’s owner sort us out. I am not hurt but my pride has taken a bashing. Ol’ Keano obviously doesn’t think I am in any real danger because normally, if a dog threatens me, he will take a stand and scare it off. I secretly wonder if he and Ellie are not in cahoots with one another. Hmmm, I wonder.
The Boss deems it wise to walk on and I dutifully follow, not at all put off by the recent attack upon my person.
The Boss is admiring the bluebells that adorn the forest floor. I am admiring a couple of Labradors who are lolloping towards me. We must play! By the time I rejoin the Boss I am quite exhausted and need another dip in the cooling waters of the brook.
Thus passes the first half hour of our walk.
The sun continues to shine and other walkers greet us with a nod and a smile. As we approach a crossroads where the various paths merge and those who have parked in West Walk Car Park often meet up with those who have parked in Wood End Car Park, the Boss greets a lady who, not so long ago, lost one of her dogs in these very woods. Sadly, he found his way to the road and was knocked down by a car. Such a sad tale. The Boss always greets the lady and stops to say a few words. Her remaining dog, a gangly fellow, sniffs me and playfully chases me away. Ahead of us is a familiar looking Spaniel who joins us. Before I know it, we are racing round and round and The Boss is calling and walking on and the gangly fellow is racing off towards his owner and the Spaniel is daring me to follow him.
This is where I make an error of judgment.
I follow the Spaniel.
At some stage I turn round to check that the Boss is there. Horrors! Where is she? Where is Ol’ Keans?
I turn back to the Spaniel who has rejoined his owner and is walking happily by her side.
Well, one owner is much like another I suppose, perhaps this one will take me back to the Boss. I tag along hopefully.
I am a little worried after five minutes when there is still no sign of the Boss.
How am I to know that she is frantically calling my name and re-tracing her steps with Keano?
Unaware of the drama that is unfolding behind me, I continue to follow the lady with the Spaniel. It is a familiar route – I recognise lots of things –
the old gnarled, overturned tree stump, the little bench where the Boss once sat to get a stone out of her shoe, the pile of logs that the tree fellers have left at the side of the path – surely this is where the Boss parked? I am not certain because we have used the other car park of late. Oh dear, I am suddenly very confused.
There are no bluebells here.
The car park is full of cars. I don’t see the Boss’s anywhere. Which way did she go?
The Spaniel’s owner grabs my collar and slips something over my head. I feel a little better but not much. Several people crowd round and shake their heads when asked if I belong to them.
Not to worry, the Boss will be here soon – I am sure of it…
Unbeknown to me, the Boss has walked all the way back to Wood End Car Park and asked a couple of ladies if they have seen me. The ladies take her mobile number and very kindly offer to walk a little way round again in search of me. The Boss is very grateful. All three set off in different directions. I of course, don’t see any of them. I am now hot and tired and firmly attached to someone else’s lead.
I don’t see the Boss beginning to panic or notice her growing more frantic by the minute. The lady I am now with is looking at my dog tag and she dials the number that is engraved on it. I hear her talking to someone. She seems very nice. She is telling someone that I am here in West Walk Car Park and I am safe. I decide to just sit here and wait with her. The Spaniel looks at me with something akin to pity.
Meanwhile, the Boss, who, as luck will have it, is already heading in my direction, albeit from some distance away, picks up a call from Alex (eldest son) who just happened to be at home and happened to pick up the message from the Spaniel lady. He tells her the good news.
I can hear the Boss’s footsteps. I hear her before I see her. When I see her I am ecstatic. My exaggerated tail wagging brings the Boss closer. We are reunited! Goodness knows how far away she was but it has taken some time for her to appear, out of breath, relief written all over her face.
I don’t hear the Boss thanking the other lady or notice the Spaniel raising his eyebrows and shaking his had at my stupidity. I just see Ol’ Keano ambling up beside the Boss.
I am overcome with gratitude for being found. Keano seems unphased and continues to sniff and search the ground. The Boss ruffles my fur and clips my lead onto my collar.
“Been looking for her for three quarters of an hour,” she is saying to another couple of ladies who have come over to share in the good news. The Boss is clearly happy to have found me but not more happy than I am to be back with her and Ol’ Keans!
The Boss seems tired and out of breath – she reckons she’s just walked five miles round the woods searching for me. I am sceptical, more like three I’d say. Thankfully, she is spared the need to walk back to Wood End.
Alex turns up just then and kindly gives us all a lift back to the Wood End Car Park in his van.
This is much better. This car park is much more familiar and look – there is the Boss’s car!
I jump in and lie down on the familar blanket.
What an adventure!
P.S. Wednesday 27th: An uneventful trip to the woods in which the Boss keeps her eye on me and I am careful not to stray too far. We meet Ellie and even she tolerates my attempts at saying, “Hello,” more than usual. Everyone is very pleased to see that I have found the Boss and I am very careful not to follow any Spaniels today.
Flossie aged one year.