Mur­ray meets a trav­el­ling boy

NZ Lifestyle Block - - The Good Life -

JEN­NIE AND I were head­ing back from our usual walk on the beach, all our ‘lost’ sticks hav­ing been suc­cess­fully re­trieved by our ever-vig­i­lant Bor­der Col­lie, Zeb.

Jog­gling along the shoul­der of SH1 in the same di­rec­tion as us was a dog. While he didn’t ex­actly turn and put a paw out, he didn’t take too much en­tic­ing for a pat and a chat either.

There were no tags but a clip and col­lar hinted at a farm dog, big paws and head sug­gested maybe a young­ster. One thing was cer­tain; we weren’t pre­pared to leave him on the high­way, so Zeb moved over in the back and we drove home.

I dropped Jen­nie and Zeb off, then went back to en­quire up and down the road, not­ing as I did so that the new­comer had a cer­tain – al­beit some­what repet­i­tive – vo­cal tal­ent. I lis­tened for a crescendo as we passed each en­trance which might sig­nal recog­ni­tion of ‘home’ but there was no such luck and no­body seemed to recog­nise him. By this time we’d come to an agree­ment about not climb­ing for­ward from the back seat, and night was fall­ing, as was I – this dog had a cer­tain in­no­cent cute­ness about him.

So he came home for the night. We put him on Zeb’s sel­dom-used line with ac­cess to Zeb’s sel­dom-used ken­nel but he chose – on a very cold night – to sleep out on the grass. Next morn­ing we al­lowed him into the house where he at­tached him­self to a singer/ song­writer friend who had stayed the night. He was slower to learn com­mands than Zeb and un­able to grasp ‘get down!’ at all, but he nonethe­less kept on win­ning our hearts.

That day’s beach walk was a group af­fair, al­though we kept the lit­tle fel­low – by this time un­of­fi­cially chris­tened ‘Ewoc’ – on a lead. We guessed that he’d never been in a house, and dis­cov­ered he’d also never been in the surf and was of the opin­ion we could get our own sticks back too.

Guilt at hav­ing seen him asleep on the lawn – even though the ken­nel was in easy reach – led us to have him in the house that night. He bed­ded down on a blan­ket in the con­ser­va­tory, in­stantly dead to the world and to our ev­ery move­ment, mak­ing us won­der how far he’d jog­gled be­fore we’d picked him up.

On Mon­day morn­ing, with Ewoc now jump­ing in and out of the wagon like a pro, we headed to the lo­cal vet, who im­me­di­ately took him away. Heart wrench! I left my num­ber so they could keep me in­formed, and Zeb and I qui­etly – un­ac­com­pa­nied in the vo­cal sense – drove home. Mon­day night was no­tice­ably quiet too.

Tues­day morn­ing the phone rang. Dog and owner had been re­united.

Ewoc’s name is Wally, and it turns out Wally doesn’t live far away. It was a good re­sult be­cause our plans don’t re­ally in­clude an­other dog, but we wouldn’t have missed the in­ter­lude.

Now, how did that song go again?

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