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What I did on New Year\’s Day…

It involved a lost dog… These things happen to me regularly, probably because I have a big neon sign in Dog on my forehead saying something like \”Softie – try her with the cute melting eyes…\”
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I have something similar in Cat which says, simply, \”Sucker.\”
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For reasons I won\’t go into, I happened to be stone cold sober on New Year\’s Eve, enjoying the Truro fireworks and the drunkenly friendly atmosphere. Then I met two ladies holding a very nice-looking brown and white wiry terrier mix with a belt rather than a lead.
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They were at their wits\’ end. They\’d found the dog panicking and running up and down the road where they live, and caught hold of him before he caused an accident. They\’d tried their best to find out where he lived and failed. There was no tag on the collar and no chip. Then they found that there is NOWHERE for lost dogs to go in Truro on a bank holiday. The police will no longer deal with them, the vets are shut, the RSPCA tell you to contact the local dog warden (a very nice man called Wayne whom I happen to know thanks to my own dog\’s adventurous habits).
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The only problem with contacting the local dog warden on New Year\’s Eve is that he does office hours only.
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The ladies couldn\’t take the dog home, despite his good behaviour now he wasn\’t scared, because they had three very anti-dog cats at home. Being under the paw myself, I understood this, but I thought my cat Maisie could cope with another Big Stupid in the house for a night. So as I couldn\’t go home immediately, I rousted #1 son out of bed to come and collect the lost dog, which he did with very good grace, considering.
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Maisie the cat was fine about it and so was the lost dog. It was Holly the daft black labrador who disgraced herself, veering from being overfriendly and wanting to play, to hysterical barking which wound up my sons who wanted to sleep (one\’s too young to drink and the other doesn\’t like the taste of alcohol so New Year\’s Eve is wasted on them both).
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In the end our guest dog went to sleep on a towel under the kitchen table, my son slept on the sofa to keep him company and I went into my son\’s bed (the only double bed in the house) and calmed Holly down so I could sleep for an hour with her curled up and snoring next to me.
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Then I got up and hit every local website I could, and also called BBC Radio Cornwall who promised to put the details out.
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And then I took the lost dog for a walk – he led me on a very nice long route round all the most interesting bits until he got to the road where he\’d been found. Maybe in the daylight he could find his way home?
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\”Home, boy!\” I said, \”Go home! Make like Lassie!\”
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After a bit he went firmly up a garden path and whined at a dark blue door in the clearest way imaginable. I looked for a doorbell. There were eight of them.
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I\’m English. It\’s bad enough ringing random doorbells asking about dogs at the best of time – but at nine o\’clock on New Year\’s Day? No. Sorry. No can do, old chap.
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So I walked the dog up the road to the local Sainsbury\’s where I bought a salad for breakfast (thank you, Sainsburys for being open) which the dog thought he\’d like but didn\’t. A lady walking her own pooch asked if he was the dog on Radio Cornwall, so I knew the BBC had done their bit.
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On the way back, I got a call from the BBC – they\’d found the guy who\’d lost a dog called Harry.
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We met halfway down the road and Harry spotted him right away and was delighted. Harry\’s master was so overcome at finding his dog again, at one point I was seriously worried he might be having a heart attack. Yes, Harry had been frightened by the fireworks and run out the door when a friend came to say Happy New Year.
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We want for a cup of tea to celebrate at Harry\’s master\’s flat. It was nowhere near the door Harry had whined at and looked nothing like it. Thank God I hadn\’t rung all those bells! So much for Lassie.
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I went home feeling very happy and zonked out for the rest of the day.
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And the moral of this story is: make sure your dog is microchipped!
And donate to The Dog\’s Trust so they can open a home in Cornwall where we really need one!

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