All this week, our village has been distracted by a mysteriously appearing whippet wandering the main road through the village, all the way from the pub all the way to our other main landmark, the postbox.
Many people have informed me of the existence of the whippet, either when I've been out walking the dogs, or by phoning, or by coming to our house. To begin with, I simply disclaimed all knowledge of the whippet. But after a while, I started to feel obscurely responsible for it, because so many people so clearly felt it was My Problem.
I went out and looked for the whippet. But I could not see any whippets anywhere.
So, I came home and looked online, to see if Doglost had any grey whippets reported missing in Cornwall. They did. So I printed out a couple of posters on the offchance, and left one at the pub, and the other with someone who had seen the whippet a number of times. This was probably a mistake. It was tantamount to admitting my responsibility for the whippet.
The next day, I was alerted first thing in the morning that the whippet was on the loose, by someone who came and banged urgently on the door. Clearly, there would be no peace until the whippet was captured. So I went out and looked - and I myself saw the whippet. There it was, mooching around in the lane. Sadly, it was clearly not the missing whippet from the poster, because it was a boy whippet. But it did have a collar on, and two tags. So it seemed like the thing to do was to try to get close enough to read the tags. I spent some time trying to do this, with the aid of a helpful local gardener. But I was unsuccessful.
So I came home and called the dog warden, in case there was an owner out there looking for him.
The next day, I tried to go out in the car for my morning dogwalk, but I found the whippet standing in the middle of the road.
I cursed briefly and considered ignoring it. But it was limping. So I parked and got my hounds out and once again went whippet-hunting. After a while, I was assisted by Bob (or Dave, I honestly can't remember which is his name. I am terrible at remembering human being names). He brought a packet of ham. But the whippet was not very interested in the ham, whereas Brythen was *very* interested in it, and in fact scoffed most of it before we could stop him.
But I did get close enough to get a couple of photos
Then he vanished. But there seemed no point in going back to the car, so I decided to go and knock on doors to see if I could find anyone who was missing a whippet.
Deep in the woods, in a cottage along a long isolated track, I struck gold. An elderly lady and her ancient husband, whippet owners for 50 years, were sure their whippet was in the house... until they went to look, and mysteriously, there he wasn't. They have eleven acres of woodland, heaving with squirrels and rabbits but for some reason Sage the Whippet keeps coming up to the village instead. It seems that he's worked out how to open doors and developed an interest in visiting the pub.
Alerted to the escape, Mr WhippetOwner went off to intercept Sage, where, by an odd coincidence he ran into Pp, who had also found his way blocked by whippet, and had stopped to see if he had any more luck with whippet-wrangling. But fortunately the whippet was more cooperative for his own person.
I'm not entirely convinced that the owners really see the problem. I suspect that years or so ago when they last had young whippets with a tendency to wander, nobody in the village was so worried about it. But now the more run-down houses have been done up, people who have moved in are much more concerned about dog muck in the lanes, and there's more traffic on the road (OK, not exactly city rush-hour traffic! But it was not long ago that that road would get maybe 2 cars an hour, it gets a good deal more than that now).
Anyway, I have offered to walk Sage with my dogs, if they want, as Rosie, unexpectedly, has fallen passionately in love with him, and was wagging and bouncing and squeaking like mad at him! That way he would get doggy company and exercise rather than just wandering, and may be happier to stay close to home the rest of the time. I'm not sure if they will take me up on it though.
2) The Woeful Lurcher
I walked down to the river this evening. Such a wonderful evening, sun shining through the trees, the dogs were being so good, staying close and coming back to check in regularly.
Rosie decided to race about for fun, and Brythen joined her. They were having such fun. And then Rosie doubled back, Brythen tried to follow, ran into a tree and laid his shoulder open. Poor big lump, he was crying and crying. :-(
Fortunately, once he'd got over the first shock he was able to walk, more or less. I'm not sure I could have carried him up that slope. Even more fortunately, I was in the one tiny patch of the Tamar Valley that by some freak of mobile networking actually has a phone signal, so I was able to call Pp, who brought the car down as far as possible to pick us up.
Poor Brythen is very sore now, so much that I'm wondering if he's actually damaged something worse than just the obvious skin tear. It was pretty late by the time we got back, so I thought we could get away with vet tomorrow rather than emergency vet tonight, but he's stiffened up now, poor beast. Vet very first thing tomorrow.