I don’t think so!

I’d just climbed out of the shower yesterday morning and was standing in the bedroom, clutching my fringe and the scissors, about to trim my hair. (Em found a lovely clip on TikTok that shows you exactly how to do it, and I’m probably never going to the hairdresser again).

I heard the dogs barking up a storm in the dining room. They can see the gate from the window.

They do this often, so I ignored them. But then I heard somebody yelling.

Honestly, I ignored that too.

I feed a couple of regulars in the neighbourhood. Their modus operandi is to stand at the gate and yell or rap on the fence until I magically materialize. My first thought was, guys! It’s too early to be looking for a handout. Plus, supplies were low, and I wasn’t even sure there was any bread for a sarnie. Usually, they move on if I don’t respond.

But the barking and the yelling persisted.

Sighing, I abandoned my hair-trimming mission and trotted barefoot down to the kitchen to see what was happening.

A bare-chested dude was bellowing, “Ma am, ma am, your dog’s out!”

I don’t think so! Was my immediate reaction. I knew there was no possible way that any of our dogs could have escaped. But I still had a bit of a heart attack, so frantically dashed into the dining room and counted furry heads.

Three. Just like there should be.

But the dude persisted, hollering and waving at me from the gate—obviously, he’d now seen me in the kitchen window. So, sighing some more, I smacked my feet into flip flops and stomped down the driveway, ready to tell the guy that our doglets were all present and correct, and he should tootle off and yell at another gate.

But he had a wiggly little puppy awkwardly under his arm.

“Your dog is out,” he informed me sternly.

Now, if this guy knew me even the slightest bit, he’d know I would have been scouring the neighbourhood if my dog had escaped. I’d have been anxiously trudging the pavements, hollering and looking for said mutt, which, let’s furry face it, would never have actually been out in the first place.

He carried on, staring stonily at me, “I just stopped it from being hit by a car.”

Like he didn’t believe it was not my dog.

“But…but… it’s not our dog,” I stuttered, unwilling to get involved.

This has been such a shitty year;  I wouldn’t put it past the friggin’ universe to skid in and gift us another rumbustious furry creature before it ends in a couple of days.

“Well, I don’t know what to do with it,” he shrugged, putting it down. He was about to walk off and leave the puppy frolicking around on the pavement.

My heart did a flip, and I told him to hang on while I went to fetch the remote to open the gate.

He obliged. Then went one step further when I asked him and picked the puppy up again, so his little paws didn’t get scrunched under said gate when it slid open.

Once relieved of his burden, he took off like a rocket.

An adorable little pitbull-type puppy, not more than a few months old, hooked his claws on my dress and swiped his tongue around my cheek.

Em and I have rescued another wandering doglet before on one of our walks, so I know that shutting them in between the front door and the security gate is a good place to stash them safely. Away from our dogs, Jack, and yet we still have easy access from the house.

He was not pleased to be left there while I dashed off for water and a bowl of pellets.

Leila had heard the commotion and promptly came outside to entertain the puppy while I tried to find his owner. Jacky Chan—her oldish dog with a heart condition – speedily scaled the impromptu fence I’d erected between the dining room and front entrance to save his momma from the wicked beastie.

At first, they sniffed each other quite amicably. Then one of them growled and barked, and Leila had to make a chop-chop plan with Jacky before he ate the pup.

That doglet snarfed his food down in the wink of an eye, right next to Leila’s tootsies.

One does not mess with Jacky Chan.

Apart from hating cats with a passion, he’s also not a fan of the paparazzi, so it’s hard to get good pics of him. I stole his image one day when he wasn’t looking. He’s a bit like a floofy miniature polar bear.

The intrepid Jacky Chan

First thing I did was put a notice on “Ask my street” in the Eskom se push app. I did not specify what type of pup it was because I needed to know it went to the right people.

Folly sat next to me, sniffed my dress all over and glared at me balefully like she does whenever she detects another dog’s scent on my person. She has a hard time sharing.

Folly does baleful extremely well.

Next, I put a post on a Meyerspark Facebook page, but because I wasn’t a member, it had to be mediated. Think it’s probably still hanging in FB heaven somewhere – haven’t been able to find it again to say the dog was restored to his rightful owners.

Then phoned the SPCA – which is actually just around the corner (figuratively speaking in Gauteng terms) to see if they’d had any calls about a lost puppy. They hadn’t, so I left my number with an extremely disinterested person.

I sent, Vetboy, who is currently in Cape Town with his mom, a pic of the puppy…

“Mom!” I yelled, sticking my head inside the sliding door that leads to her granny flat. “Don’t open the front door, okay?”

“I wouldn’t dream of it, Ginsy,” she replied tartly, stepping out of her bathroom in all her crinkly glory.

“As you can see, I’m not dressed.”

“What I mean is… there’s a puppy with dagger-like nails that’s incarcerated between the front door and the security gate. We’re trying to find out who he belongs to.”

“Oh,” was all she said, but I could see her thoughts whirling. My mother does not like being told what to do. She likes little dogs too.

“Mom,” I admonished, “you are going to Cape Town tomorrow, and you need your skin intact.”

She flipped her hand at me and disappeared back into the bathroom. I took that as a don’t be so ridiculous.

My mom has a history with dogs. She was once told that she had an unstable personality, and canines could sense that. Our Basset Hound, Zedboy, chewed her up so badly she had to have skin grafts. That was fifteen years ago. So, at the grand old age of eighty-nine,  her skin is now much more susceptible to being ripped to shreds.

Em and I were about to go for our morning trek around the neighbourhood with Folly and Rollo, so we decided to visit all the houses we knew had puppies. But, just as we were about to leave, Leila pointed out that a red bakkie from down the road had driven past our house very slowly, as though they were looking for something.

My spirits soared. Was it really going to be this easy to find his owners?

The moment we walked out of the gate, we saw people from two houses down, out and about.

“Have you lost a puppy?” I yelled, too impatient to wait until we reached them.

“Yes!” They replied in unison.

A dude walked up to me asking, “A young black and white Staffie?”

Staffie, not Pitbull – okay. That worked for me.  Close enough, Vetboy was right.

I nodded, and Em opened up the gate and dashed back to fetch him.

Apparently, he’d already answered my post on the Ask My Street page, but I hadn’t seen it. Frankly, I didn’t think things worked so fast, but now I realize it is quite an effective platform.

The puppy belonged to her daughter, who had just gotten engaged and was away on holiday. She’d left it in her mother’s care. Being used to rather more elderly, well-behaved dogs, they’d underestimated the sneakiness of a puppy. They were mighty relieved to get the cute little dude back in one wiggly piece.

Must admit, I was extremely relieved to sort it all out so easily and speedily.

Leila, on the other hand, was disappointed—it was, after all, an adorable little dog. She’d planned on having more time playing with him.

Folly was delighted. As I said, she doesn’t like sharing.

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