Murray meets a travelling boy
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?