Tuesday, 15 November 2011

unexpected visitor

Yesterday was another lovely été de St Martin's day [indian summer]. Sunny with a bit of veiled cloud but certainly not cold.

the escapee
Niall went for a walk down into the village and to post some letters. I pottered around at home. I was making a cup to coffee when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. Investigating I found an unknown black & tan beagle busily sniffing amongst the leaves and then setting off purposely towards the eastern edge of our land and away down towards the tiny stream at the bottom of the field adjoining us on the right. A classic French chien de chasse.

I walked over towards the woods on the right to see if I could see any chaps in their high-viz jackets standing at the woodland edges which means they're hunting in that particular copse, but saw no one.  Nor over to the left. Couldn't hear any guns going off either. After a while you get so used to them that you don't really 'hear' them anymore unless you actively listen.

While I was walking back to the front door the better half appeared at the start of the drive and began to tell me about the dog who'd followed him most of the way into the village. With perfect timing the beagle re-appeared and Niall stated: 'That's the dog that was following me most of the way into the village!'. Bon. We called and whistled to said dog who came over tail wagging and sat leaning against my shins, drenching my jeans. He was a very wet and friendly chappie who looked pleased with life. Around his neck was a very luminous yellow-green plastic collar with a cell phone number written on it. 

Cue comedy sketch of two humans having a mildly warm discussion whether or not to get pen and paper to write the number down with a view to phoning the owner or just letting dog go on his doggie way. There are a number of farms near us and French hunting dogs do have a habit of wandering off on their own business. They only return to their heated owners who have been shouting for them for ages at a much later stage. Needless to say the dog got bored with our debate and was off before we could grab his collar!

cat on a lead....
We got on with other things but kept an eye out for the beagle and dug out Katinka's lead--yes, she will go for walkies on a lead--she is NOT a normal cat. We figured that if he came back again, and would come to us, we'd give the number a call. Over the next hr we had 2 more sightings out the window of him happily charging off in an easterly or north easterly direction. He was obviously having an excellent outing. Occasionally there'd be volleys of barking as he got within range of the 2 farms close by us to the NE. Then he re-appeared on our drive feeling the need for another quick social call to these humans who spoke in such a funny way. Again we had the wagging-tailed approach and the drenching of the jeans but he was a sweetie. He was quite happy to be put on a leash and we gave the number a call. 

Flambard on his way home
It turned out to be a neighbour who lives about 1/2 a km away. He wasn't at home, but was able to run over in his car and collect the dog. We decided to walk the dog down the lane to meet him half-way. The cats hadn't taken too much notice of the palaver, but they did come and investigate when we began to walk down the lane. They often come with us on this walk

The owner, when he dashed up in his little white van, was greeted by the sight of us with his dog and a flanking escort of 2 cats. Shadow and Katinka obviously had to make sure that Flambard --  as we found out the dog was called -- was properly escorted OFF the premises!

18 comments:

ladybird said...

What a cutie ... Pity you couldn't keep him. Wonder how the cats would have reacted to that ... considering they were so keen to see him off! :) Martine

The Broad said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Flambard doesn't become a regular visitor! He does look to be very sweet...

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
Now that Flambard has found out where you live, he may well be visiting again. He seems to have had a wild old time when he was last with you.

He looks to be such a sweet natured dog. We should certainly have been tempted to keep him.....but that would be stealing!!!

Perpetua said...

Aww, he reminds me of my sister's late lamented beagle. Such a friendly dog! I'm not sure what would have happened if I'd ever tried to take any of our cats for a walk on a lead.....

GaynorB said...

I'd have been tempted to hang on to him..... although always having to walk him in the dead of night just in case his owners didn't see him would have been a real pain!!

On the other hand when we had a dog I would have been devastated had he gone missing never to be found again. As always you did the right thing and you've met more of your neighbours in the process.

the fly in the web said...

Every evening of a chasse day there would be dogs wandering about while the air was riven by their owners tooting hunting horns to try to get them back.
We found one dog, drenched, on a main road. No collar. No tattoo.
We took it home and called all the surrounding mairies to ask if a dog had been reported.
Nothing.
She was a dear little thing...after a few days she stopped cringing and started to play with the others.
Then her owner turned up.
She was under the table in a flash..she did not want to go with him.
We offered to buy her, but he wouldn't sell and I can still see her poor little face as she was taken to his van.

Your Flambard, luckily, seems to be in a much better situation.
A real cheeky chappy.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Martine - he was a proper cutie. Oh Shadow would have a complete nervous breakdown bless him. Katinka would just show him who's the boss. She doesn't get too fussed when friends with dogs come round.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Broad - I suspect if he does a Houdini again we'll see him around :-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane & Lance - a 'time share' comes to mind. A neatish way to avoid the unpleasantness of appropriating ;-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - It is a novel experience!! We've never had a cat who didn't throw a strop on a leash before either! [we've always had leash & harness as back-up for vet visits and for 1st days after a move to new home]

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Gaynor - going for walkies here in the middle of the night would be pretty challenging: no street lights at all so only possible by moonlight!! Waving a torch about might lead people to think one's a poacher with nasty consequences! ;-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Fly - as a teen 'rescued' a runaway dog in Italy and persuaded my parents to take it back in the car to Denmark where we were living [how is a VERY long story]. Couldn't quite rehab him completely ourselves so found him a good home.

Happily Flambard was in good nick, neutered, well behavied & confident and pleased to see his owner. He got a scolding cuddle before being popped in the van.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

We had a beagle who was an absolute honey but I am certain he had a loose screw sweet as he was. If he got off our property it was a major exercise getting him back. Glad you found the owner. Diane

Susan said...

I should imagine Flambard's papa is perfectly used to him disappearing on important Beagle business on a regular basis. Beagles are beagles, and famously difficult to keep at home, after all.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Diane - sweeties indeed but in my limited experience pretty strong characters, almost as strong willed as dachshunds.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Susan - LOL! he was indeed an extremely self-sufficient, pleased with life, Beagle. We hadn't seen him before but given the proximity we'll look forward to any further visits from Flambard Houdini :-)

Jean said...

What a great story and a cute dog, were you tempted to keep him, cats permitting (which is unlikely) ??!!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jean - we were definitely tempted! However we had a stern lecture from the cats ;-)