Every morning, early, I take my dog for a walk. There is something magical about walking first thing in the morning. The roads are quiet and you get the see the sun waking up, touching the sky with gold or red and pink. Every morning is different, some are grey and cold, others hold the promise of sunshine to come. The morning is filled with noise, the birds singing in the trees, glad to be awake.
I am lucky enough to live near a country park and take the opportunity to let my dog, Eddie, off the lead. He loves to have a run about and often chases after birds and rabbits, but never catches them. He has not figured out yet that birds just fly away. The rabbits disappear into their burrows leaving him stranding there looking bewildered. Eddie is a typical Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. He is a happy little dog, eager to please and always wagging his tail. He has no sense though and I would never let him off the lead near traffic.
He has a distinctive character all his own and if he has any faults it is that he is really friendly and curious. Over the short time we have had him he has become a well loved member of the family.
This morning I took him on this normal walk, we go along the length of the road, turn in beside the field and enter the park. I let him run around for a while in the park and when we get to the far end of the path I put him back on his lead. Normally this works fine but today he ran ahead of me on the path. I shouted for him but he ran round a bend. When I caught up a minute later he had completely vanished from sight.
There are a number of ways he could have gone, two tracks which would have taken him deeper into the country park. He could have also gone down the quiet road towards the houses or back towards our house which would take him onto the busy main road. At first I didn’t think he could have gone far, I had only been a minute behind him. I walked down each of the tracks a little way shouting his name but there was no sign of him. Meeting a couple of dog owners coming up the other way I asked if they had seen him, but they hadn’t. After about ten minutes I was starting to panic. I had visions of him lying dead on the main road, the dread was building in my mind. I phoned my husband who sent my son out to help me look. The other dog owners were helping me look for him by this time. It is a horrible feeling not knowing what direction to look in.
Suddenly one of the other owners shouted, there he was. A lady was carrying him down the hill in her arms whilst her dogs followed her on a lead. I was so relieved he was fine. He had followed her dogs up the hill and had been having fun running around with them at the top of the hill. He was obviously having so much fun he couldn’t be bothered coming when I called him. I quickly clipped him to his lead and thanked the lady profusely. At that moment I realised how much he meant to me and the family and how upset we would be if we lost him. On the way back we met my son who was on the way to join the search. Needless to say he was really happy to see Eddie as well.
It put me in mind of a moving poem I had seen on the television at the weekend. It was written by James Stewart to remember his dog Beau when he died. It is a great tribute to how much a dog can mean.