On hot days I don’t walk the dogs until very late in the day.
And so it was last night.
It is rare that I walk the dogs without coming home with some kind of story. Mostly these amount to meeting a dog we have not met before or running into someone we know, that sort of thing, but sometimes the story has a bit more ‘umph’ to it.
A couple of times over the years we have rescued a lost dog or been witness to something interesting (a movie being made and a particularly spectacular car accident spring to mind).
Last night’s incident was just funny but a little disturbing.
We started out at dusk. The other humans in our house were too involved in endeavours of their own so we were on our own. I was vaguely annoyed not to have any human company but then again I’m often vaguely annoyed about something or other so that was nothing new.
By the time we made the decision to turn for home it had gotten dark. We had gone a little further than we usually do on a warm night.
I decided to come home via a back street which allows us to walk on the road. The dogs prefer this as it gives them more room (there are three dogs at the moment which means that there are always two dogs on one side of me and they all want one side to themselves).
We turned the corner into the quiet street and not long after I could see the headlights of a car coming up behind us. I pulled the dogs well over out of the way but instead of passing us the car pulled up along side and the female driver began to speak to me.
To begin with I thought she was asking for directions but I soon realised that she was looking for her dog. I asked her what kind of dog it was so that I could look out for it. She started to tell me then stopped herself and explained that her dog had been found and she was trying to find the address. She told me the street name and it sounded familiar but I knew that the street we were standing in was not it.
At about this point it became obvious that this lady was a bit drunk. She explained that she should not be driving because she had had a few friends around (a few drinkies on a Sunday afternoon) then her dog had escaped.
She was quite sure that the street sign said that this was the street. I showed her a map on my phone and tried to explain how to get to the street she needed, which wasn’t far away.
I’m not sure that she understood but she was going to give it a go. At this point I noticed the little boy sitting in the front seat. It is very dangerous for smaller children to sit in the front seat of a car with air bags and this lady knew it. I didn’t point any fingers but she wanted me to know that the kid had climbed over into the front and that it was not her idea (presumably the kid climbed over while the car was moving!)
I felt badly for this lady because I knew that under different circumstances she would not be driving while drunk (and she was drunk, slurred speech and all) and that she was a careful mum but she was probably the only adult who could still see straight after a warm day and many glasses of something, all done with the knowledge that there was not going to be any driving; and then the dog does a ‘runner’.
For my part I had a story to tell when I got back home and all I could do in that moment was hold my breath and hope that everyone (including the dog) got back home in one piece.
We walked off to the sound of the lady thanking us for helping her and I listened for the bang as she crossed the highway; but there wasn’t any bang and I suppose she made it back in one piece.
Her mission was probably driven by the knowledge that someone had found the dog and had “tied it up in the front yard” for her to collect, combined with a small child who wanted their dog back.
We do some things as a parent, and as a dog owner, that we would probably not do under different circumstances (like wade into the middle of an uneven dog fight to save my big hearted small statured dog. I’ve still got the scars).
It’s not easy being a parent or a dog owner and I’m both of those things so it is not for me to judge and I would like to think that it ended happily ever after………. at least until the next time.