The other day we had a dog wander into the garden. It wasn’t a stray, it looked healthy, was excited to play with me and chase a ball, enjoyed a biscuit or two but had no collar or identity tag. This is pretty normal, having a dog in Spain is not like having a pet in the true sense of the word. It’s rather something for the children to keep them occupied. Owners by law must have their dogs ‘chipped’ but never seem to bother with an id tag giving a phone number, so unless you’re inclined to make the journey to a vet, finding the owner can be difficult. Owners rarely make sure the garden is ‘dog proof’ and in my experience, care little for the animals themselves, usually leaving them in the garden whilst they go to work. So they often manage to find a way just wander off and either get run over or end up in our garden because someone, not me I might add, always seems to leave our gate open.
Anyway, we called security and told them we have got someones dog in our garden, gave a pretty good description and suggested they come round and take it away somewhere safe until the owners can be found. We wait, wait some more, and wait a bit more. By now, it’s getting dark, the dog wont go, we try but instead he just follows us around, if we go out the gate he comes along for the walk but follows us back in and ends up sitting on our front doorstep. My little ones come home from school, fall in love immediately, ask if we can keep him and spend an hour having fun with their new playmate. Later they suggest he needs feeding, the dog must be hungry it’s been here all day after all. Not being dog owners, we obviously have no dog food in the house, so with two excitable little children both wanting to feed the dog, good old dad jumps in the car and pops down to the supermarket to buy a tin of dog food.
I pick up two cans, a packet of dog biscuits and head to the checkout. A bit of a line because there is only one till open, even though they have 5 tills. Still, no big issues for me as the people in front seem to be like me, carrying just a handful of things and the person being checked out has almost been processed. In and out in less than five minutes.
No, a heaving and a grunting from the aisle behind eventually reveals a tired looking bloke pushing a trolley, a trolley so full, it is actually bending and swaying and its shadow is blocking out the special lighting that’s supposed to make crap old vegetables look like freshly picked vegetables. Poor chap. No, poor me, the woman in front of me has been holding their place in the line. A cunning plan for them to avoid wasting their precious time actually waiting in the line itself. Thank you very bloody much. I expect them to suggest I go in front considering I only have three things in my hand. No. This is Spain, I must wait my turn. However, from people standing too close to me at cashpoint machines, I know how to do the ‘stare’. It’s a warning stare, a stare you do not want to mess with, a stare that says, ‘back off’, ‘beware’, ‘don’t mess with the likes of me’. So I do my best ‘you are going to die’ stare. And although it fails with fat mum and dad and small army of children with a full years shopping for microwave food and just add water snacks and a small chocolate hillock in their trolley, it worked with the girl at the checkout who quickly tells me to move in front and she’ll have me through the till. I am not sure if it is someone up there looking after me or someone up there is looking after the Grizzly Adams family, as I swear, if the ‘stare’ hadn’t worked, I would have shoved the dog food into his fat ugly face and tipped his trolley onto the floor.
So, back home, I find out the dog has gone. Walked off all on its own apparently. My saddened son desperately wants to feed it so we have to go out looking for it and after the effort it took buying the stuff, I too want the damned thing to eat it! We’re wandering the estate when security drive past, they stop and ask us if we’re the people who called about the dog. Mr. Big Ego with his gun and badly fitting uniform gets out, leans against the car and explains that the owners have been worried sick, looking for it all afternoon and wanted to know why we didn’t call security earlier. I explained to the security guard that we did indeed make the call, six or seven hours ago and that it’s not my job to help people who can’t be bothered to buy an identity tag for their dog and if they leave their gates open or don’t fence in their yard properly, what right have they to moan when they finally discover where it is, they should be thankful it’s alive. In fact, I should charge them for ‘dog sitting’ or at least the cost of the ‘lost dog’ posters they would have ended up having to get photocopied and stuck on lamp-posts in the area. I go on to explain how lucky the owners are the dog gravitated to our garden, where, being a family of dog lovers, we take care of lost looking furry animals like they are our own. He agrees. But then suggested that complaining about people leaving their gate open when we’d left ours open was a bit rich and asks where the dog is. Not exactly sure I reply. It’s run off…
The next stray animal that comes into our garden I will simply shoot it before the children come home from school, bury it in the compost heap and be done with it!