Waifs and Strays
I’ve been here two weeks today and I’m missing Provence – the LSH, the horses, the weather and the dogs. Then I had one of my crazy notions. Maybe I could foster a dog for a couple of weeks while I’m here? At least I wouldn’t be missing the dogs then! I made sure Granny was ok with this, then I contacted the rescue where we had found Rosie and said I was available if they needed a short term foster. They said that if anything suitable came up they’d be in touch. I got the feeling I shouldn’t hold my breath, but at least I’d made the offer and I got back to work…
I’ve been doing an hour or two in my mother’s garden almost every day. First of all, I weeded and replanted the flowerbed closest to the kitchen window – the one that annoyed me every time I sat down at the table. It’s less annoying now.
Then I turned my attention to the rose bed in the front garden. This is the one I see whenever I’m at the kitchen sink. It’s also the first thing that anyone sees when they drive in the gate, so it’s nice to have it looking well. See all the green stuff in between the rose bushes? That’s not meant to be there. It’s all weeds.
Now, I know it sounds pathetic, but I’ve been working on this bed for over a week now, and I’m only half way through it.
The reason is all that green leafy stuff at the bottom. It’s a plant called Perennial Sow Thistle. It’s one of those pain-in-the-butt weeds that spreads out a mat of rhizomes four to six inches beneath the surface of the soil, so I am having to dig through the whole bed and try to pick out as much of the rhizomes as I can. Otherwise, it will be back to square one in a couple of weeks.
Yesterday (that was the day it didn’t rain) I was on my hands and knees in between the rose bushes, digging out roots with a trowel, when two little visitors came strolling up the drive as if they owned it. One of them came over to say hello to me, the other carried on to investigate the back of the house.
I wasn’t too bothered by their sudden appearance and I carried on working, expecting an embarrassed owner to follow them up the drive, or to start calling them from the road.
Half an hour later, it was clear that this wasn’t going to happen. They were lovely little chaps; polite, friendly, curious and well looked after, but they had no collars or tags – where had they come from? My mother didn’t recognise them, but surely they couldn’t have travelled far. While I made lunch, she rang a few neighbours to see if anyone knew where the dogs could have come from, but she only found one person at home, who was as mystified as we were. Maybe I would be fostering after all?
We shut the dogs in while we ate lunch – the road in front of the house is dangerous and neither of us was happy with the idea them wandering along the road all by themselves. They were as good as gold, settled down on a mat by the door and went to sleep.
After lunch, I settled down to do some detective work, calling door to door with the dogs in tow. The very first people I called to were absolutely certain that they were not from any of the houses in the immediate vicinity. The mystery deepened. Was I going to be bringing two new dogs back to France? I brought the dogs back to my mother’s house and took the car so I could call to houses further afield.
No luck with the first two people I met. Then at the third house, the lady who answered (an old, old friend) said straight away “Yes! A brown one and a black one? I know where they’re from.”
Phew. I would not be organising rabies shots and passports!
To make a long story short, the dog’s owner is new to the area. She was off work sick and had let them out for a pee when they disappeared. Well, she’s got the flu and an associated sore throat, so she couldn’t call them. She had been up and down the road beside her house a few times, calling hoarsely, and was very relieved to see me at her door.
Dogs in need always have a way of finding me. Even if I don’t officially foster while I’m here, I’ve done my bit.