I had to go out yesterday, but that’s another story.
As I drove up my lane on the way home, I met an old man. I slowed the car as he seemed confused. He eventually stepped to one side and I drove in my gate.
I went over to him then and asked if he was all right. He had a frightened look in his eyes. He looked at me and whispered so I could barely hear.
"I’ve lost my dog."
"What colour is he?" I asked.
He didn’t seem too sure. He looked about him as if expecting a prompt from the wind.
"Black," he murmured. He then shuffled off down the lane with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Much later, I called in to visit a neighbour. We had a grand old chat about this and that. I got up to go. As I was heading for the door, my neighbour mentioned that they had a strange dog in the back garden. My neighbour is scared of dogs, so I went out on my own into the dark.
There was a tiny terrier standing on the patio. He wasn’t looking at me. He wasn’t looking at anything. He was very old and obviously blind. I think he may have been deaf too. I crept softly up to the dog and put my hand under his nose, to let him get my scent. He trembled a bit and then relaxed, so I gave him a gentle petting.
I rushed back out to the main road and called into the house where the old man lived. I banged on the door. The old lady of the house answered and looked at me suspiciously, until she saw who it was. She looked tired, drawn and worried.
"You lost a dog?" I asked. There was a gleam of hope in her eyes as she nodded.
"Is he blind?" I asked gently. She nodded again, and a tear began to form.
"Wait there," I said, and rushed back to my neighbours. The dog relaxed when I picked him up. He knew my scent now, but was still a bit scared. I carried him as gently as I could back to the old woman. Her husband had joined her at the front door. They looked very alone, standing there waiting.
As I walked into the pool of light from the porch, they saw the dog. The fear and hope gave way to joy. The old man held out his arms, and I gave him the dog to cuddle. "Fred," was all he said. He was crying.
The woman too was crying. She said they had spent the day looking for Fred. She had washed him the day before and had forgotten to put his collar back on. And then that morning, in a moment of absence, her husband had left the gate open. They had been frantic with worry. They had searched high and low and had walked the entire neighbourhood. Fred was their comfort and joy. They feared he was dead as he couldn’t protect himself from cars, being blind. They had been heartbroken.
They thanked me as I left. "You don’t know what this means to us," the woman said. "I think I do," I replied and left them to their reunion.
As I walked home in the dark, the thought struck me…….
Fuck! That’ll be us in a few years time!