Heroes come in many shapes and sizes and yesterday my caped crusader came with a powerful torch and an exceptionally well trained Collie dog!
I had been relaxing with Bonny recently. She hadn’t run away since October last year and was becoming increasingly obedient both on and off the lead. Yesterday my complacence was blown out of the water. We had been quite busy with this and that on our day off and after her third and final walk of the day, Bonny and I returned to our boat. I took her lead off so she could jump into the cratch unhindered.
Suddenly she was off and running. She slipped between my legs, belted down the path and straight through the hedge into the field behind the mooring. I immediately followed and using my most commanding training voice, ordered her to ‘Come’! She paused, looked at me and then, if dogs had fingers, she would have raised two of them! And off she went.
Five hours later…It was pitch black and increasingly cold. I had heard her every so often barking in the various fields around the mooring but every time I went out, she hid. I was cold and exhausted and had returned to the boat. I was terrified she would either run out onto the road where she would be all but invisible to traffic or that she would fall into the sluice for the canal as that is where she had been last seen. But I was powerless to do anything about it. I knew by now she would be cold, footsore and hungry but once she has disobeyed me, a switch seems to flip in her brain and she appears unable to return to me even when she is desperate to come home.
Enter my hero… Chris is his name and I had seen him on the mooring much earlier, while it was still light and had said that Bonny was on the run again. I assume he must have seen me and my lonely torch in the field and guessed that I had had no joy. Out he came with a torch that could double as a lighthouse lamp and a totally wonderful dog called Beth. He sent Beth to track down my wild pup and then somehow he managed to catch her and brought her back filthy and panting (Bonny not Chris!) to my boat. I heard Beth at the door and my heart leapt as I thought it was Bon, but then sank again when I saw Beth. Then a figure like the Good Shepherd loomed out of the darkness and there was my very own errant sheep cuddled in his arms.
I cannot express how relieved I was and how incredibly grateful I was to Chris, who should have been tucked up safe and warm on his boat and not tramping the fields in the middle of the night. He didn’t tell me he was going to help, or talk about helping, he just went and did it. I was still trying to stutter my thanks when he strode off with his faithful hound back into the darkness. What a hero!
When I am tempted to lose faith in people and their humanity, someone comes along and restores my faith in the human race. This time it was Chris – and Beth, restoring my faith in dog nature – severely damaged by Bonny!