It’s been an eventful day.
First, we discovered Virginia, our unfortunately barren doe, has developed an eye infection. Being an unusually large goat she is quite difficult to treat; being big, strong & bolshie so it took both of us to restrain her still whilst I applied a good squirt of ‘Opticlox’ eye ointment in the affected eye – which she did NOT appreciate.
Then Pete, the contractor, turned up with the most enormous digger & proceeded to apply himself with gusto to the groundworks for the Dairy Complex whilst we hurried up the hill to move our pregnant ewes onto fresh pasture, along with a new mineral supplement lick to help their growing lambs (at this stage of pregnacy the lambs grow quickly & so the mums are most at risk from problems such as Ketosis, also known as ‘twin lamb’ disease).
Tony returned to the house to pack his case in preparation for a busy week, flying to Geneva, Amsterdam, Khartoum & Beirut. Meanwhile, armed with the information with which he’d had furnished me regarding a replacement for our washer-dryer, I made another excursion into town. However what should have been a quick, simple trip rapidly degenerated into a nightmare….
En route I came across a Bassett Hound, lolloping playfully around right in the middle of the fastest stretch of particularly busy provincial road. Horrified at the other motorists who were whizzing past the animal, either uncaring or oblivious to its plight, I pulled up at the side of the road on encountering said canine. The dog was delighted – but clearly possessing no road sense (& no collar or identification either) she ran straight up to me, gambolling playfully in the road as other cars continued to speed past, ignoring my frantic gestures to make them SLOW DOWN. With help of another passer-by I did the only thing I could to save the animal’s – & perhaps another motorist’s – life, & heaved the heavy hound into the back of car to take it to the local Police Station. However, the dog unfortunately managed to scramble from boot to back seat, before flopping onto my best jacket, covering it in mud & tearing it with her sharp claws. Then she tried to jump into my lap, obstructing the gear stick & making things downright dangerous.
On arrival at the Police Station my sense of relief at being able to hand over the errant dog rapidly dissipated; as the local officers refused to have anything to do with the problem, advising their policy is to leave strays to their own devices, only dealing with them if they actually cause an accident. The nearest Dog Warden is miles away in Carmarthen – but it transpired they don’t work weekends; so I was told I’d have to keep the animal at home – not possible because I suspect Nanuk, who does not like the challenge of other dogs, would probably attack it. And of course I had no method of restraint for the dog – being in Tony’s car there were no spare collars or leads & ironically we’d needed to take out the dog guard temporarily; & it had already proved dangerous to have the creature in the car with me.
I managed to wrap her in the rear seatbelt to give me sufficient time to make a dash to our vet, to see if he recogised the dog. Much to my relief he managed to track down the owner – whose telephone number sunsequently proved unobtainable. Thankfully, Angus offered to put the dog in a kennel for me (we had to carry her in as she didn’t have a clue what the collar & lead were for) & I agreed to visit the smallholding from which the animal had apparently escaped, & advise the owner.
After ordering the washing machine from the obliging shopkeeper, I drove to the smallholding from which the dog had apparently come. Fortunately I managed to find the owner; & asked if he’d PLEASE put a collar on the errant hound. To my surprise he told me they in fact own twelve dogs, but that they don’t often wander as far as the road – & that he didn’t like to use collars & had not considered getting the dog microchipped, either. As they are soon to move to a house in an urban setting, I sadly suspect it will only be a matter of time before their dogs do cause an accident; & whilst they clearly love their animals, it is no excuse for poor discipline.
He was at least grateful that I took the dog in rather than leaving her abandoned in the road to die. Sadly, if there’s a next time, I think I’ll think twice; although I DO have a soft heart, & the head to match….!