Naughty Dog

Daisy sniffed the morning air. It smelled good – but she was scared. Her owner Tom Wilson had occasionally observed that Daisy Belle was afraid of nothing. But what did he know?

She was SCARED right now, for sure. She had been out all night for the third time and she wanted to find her way back to Wilson.

Daisy looked around. She was in some sort of building, with stone walls on three sides, one incorporating a heavy door; the fourth side, by which she had entered, was open. Through it, she could see the rain falling outside, splashing on some strange grey stones – some upright, others leaning. There was a flagstone floor and a slightly musty smell, but it was dry. She thought it might be just part of a much larger building. DB was scared, but also exhausted; she stopped thinking, and fell asleep again.

Meanwhile, Wilson was still looking for her. She’d only been with the family a fortnight and he’d lost her already. They lived in Shady Lane, Moscombe, and they’d been walking at Glebe Farm when she’d run off. She had come via the rescue society, as her first owner had needed to move into sheltered housing and couldn’t take Daisy there. Daisy had loved her old home and her first owner, and so far she thought she loved the Wilsons too, until this crisis had come along. He’d let her run loose, off the lead, and she’d chased a rabbit and quickly disappeared. He wanted her back, so he could call her his Naughty Lady again. He’d received plenty of earache from Mrs Wilson and he knew he had to find Daisy – the alternative was unthinkable.

Naughty Dog

She wished he’d been there to cuddle up to when that badger had rushed at her with flailing claws and sharp teeth.

It was only her natural ability to leap up quickly from a prone position that had enabled her to escape. Had she known, Wilson had been no more than fifty yards away and had seen the badger amble off in search of easier prey, along the line of poplars standing upright like soldiers. But Tom didn’t know DB was there and likewise, she was unaware of him.

On the second night she had encountered a fox, but it hadn’t tried to catch her like the badger had. Perhaps she was just a bit too big, but the incident had frightened her just the same. And then there were those two little plump deer, she had seen them before at Moscombe, what was it Wilson called them – chipmunks....? No, muntjacs, that was it. Anyway, it didn’t matter what they were called, and to be fair they hadn’t done more than sniff inquisitively in her direction. If she had been secure on the end of her flexi-lead, with Tom holding the other end, she’d have run them off – badger, fox, deer and all-comers, with some loud barking. But she hadn’t got him now, so she kept quiet.

She had wondered, the first night, if letting her run free and get lost was some kind of punishment for those times when she’d stolen things around the house to take away and chew.

But she didn’t think so; and she knew that Jack, the family’s other dog, would have said not. Jack had had to find a new home too, for the second time in his life, and he knew a lot of things. He said the Wilsons were pretty easy-going. Jack had once had an owner who took four-week holidays in France and left Jack in boarding kennels. He’d told Daisy, in no uncertain terms, that kennels were a no-no; and that the best thing about the Wilsons was that they took their dogs on holiday with them.

Naughty Dog

Tom was looking for her in the wrong place. He’d stayed out each night since she’d gone, and apart from a brief return home to grab a snack, had spent each day wandering around the fields of Glebe Farm. His reasoning, that she could still be in the immediate area, was understandable but flawed. Daisy had actually put a few miles between them, running along the river meadows and skirting the cricket field, then crossing and re-crossing it in a scissors movement before going over the hill into the nearby village of Ashton. There, she had caught a geriatric field mouse in the churchyard and eaten it, but it didn’t taste as good as the dog food that she got every night at home – or the cold chicken which they often added to her dinner. She was hungry, but at least she could get a drink from the morning dew on the long grass. She had spent the third night in Ashton, and had been glad to snatch a few hours’ sleep in the church porch.

Lying against the grey stone wall the little white dog, her curly coat now very dirty, was almost invisible.

So much so that Mrs Wilson’s friend Sally, who lived in the village and had gone to the church to do the week’s flowers, almost missed her. But just then a pheasant crowed and Daisy reacted automatically with a little bark, which alerted Sally. She carefully approached the dog, very slowly so as not to spook her. Daisy was certainly scared, and she didn’t know this lady, but she liked humans and this was the first one she’d seen for three days. She allowed Sally to hold her and check her collar tag, and Sally, disbelieving at first, read a phone number that she knew well. Struggling to get her mobile out of her bag without letting go of the dog, she made a call. Daisy, with the acute hearing that all young dogs possess, heard a familiar voice on Sally’s phone; at first anxious, then relieved, and finally delighted.

There was nothing to be scared of any more. The Naughty Lady was going home.

 {module comment link}