Those of you who follow me on twitter will know all about my traumatic weekend—whether you wanted to or not! Jake, our beloved rescued mongrel gave us a terrible scare. We’re at home in Andorra right now. I let Jake out the front door last thing Friday evening. He runs across the road, lifts his leg against the growing tobacco, (whoops, that’s between us; don’t tell the farmer!), and comes straight back in again for his bedtime biscuit.
Only this time he didn’t. We assumed he’d picked up the scent of a cat, rabbit or whatever and would soon be back. Two hours later, still no sign of him. In the end we went to bed but didn’t sleep very well. Every hour one of us got up and opened the front door, expecting a repentant dog to be waiting there. We were up at first light, searching everywhere we could think of. By then I was convinced that he was either dead, badly injured or stuck somewhere. We’re in the mountains, remember, and there’s lots of places waiting to catch the unwary dog out. Saturday’s a day I’ll never forget. I received offers to publish two of my books in the same morning email inbox, a situation which ought to have filled me with joy. It barely registered and I would have gladly foregone those contracts in return for having my dog restored to me.
Twenty-three hours later I got my wish, without giving up the contracts. Jake was brought back by the local comú with not a scratch on him. The relief was palpable. I’m still at a loss to explain his prolonged absence. I keep asking him where he went but he’s not saying. Here he is, looking like butter wouldn’t melt—the little monster!
The downside of having a rescued dog, especially a non-pedigree, is that you don’t know what’s in their genes. When the hunting ban came into force some years back in England I recall reading that the hounds would most likely be put down because they couldn’t be domesticated. For most of the year they’re fine but come the hunting season their instinct to go out and…well, hunt overcomes everything else.
Jake’s a bit like that. When we first got him he scaled six foot wire fences to get out. He’d only just been ‘done’ and we attributed his actions to the residue of testosterone—boys will be boys, after all—but that can’t still be the case. Can anyone explain this annual determination in a much loved, well-domesticated dog to make a frantic big for freedom? I’d value your views because, frankly, I’m baffled.
For those of you who read last week's blog, here are the answers to the famous first lines I posted.
1. It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking 13. George Orwell - 1984
2. He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream. Ernest Hemingway - Old Man of the Sea
3. It was the day my grandmother exploded. Ian M. Banks - the Crow Road
4. Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by a poor dress. George Eliot - Middlemarch
5. In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. F. Scott Fitzgerald - The great Gatsby
6. You better not tell nobody but God. Alice Walker - The Color Purple.