The weather in my part of France is just beautiful at the moment, Wedgewood blue skies, the sun is warm and the countryside is teeming with wild life.
So – we decided to go to a brocante on Sunday morning – it’s pretty much the law in France! We just love those street markets and flea markets here – there’s always a chance that you’ll find a lost Renoir or something fantastic to love.
The brocante was in Desvres, a lovely little town in the Seven Valleys area where I live. I bought a couple of metal coffee pots in cream and bright red and then we thought we’d go home the long way. The route runs through fields and forests, windy country lanes that make you think you’re going nowhere… past chateaux, streams, wonderful old houses and isolated boulangeries (bakeries).
This time our route also took us through a flat area of vast fields near the small village of Hucqueliers – you can see for miles around and we were just enjoying the views when we ground to a halt on a bend in the road when we saw two small dogs lying there.
The OH (other half) pulled over, the dogs just lay there watching so I got out and went to have a look. One was old and was wet and shivering, the other had a red collar on and was much younger. They both started licking my hands and crying – not whining like my dogs do when they want biscuits or attention, a much lower sound. It was heart breaking.
I told the OH that I thought they might be lost, they looked incredibly thin, exhausted and the little one was covered in cuts and her fur was matted with blood on her belly. The OH is a sensible person and said they were probably a hunter’s dog and he would be out looking for them no doubt. So, we drove to the town which was about 2 miles further along. We looked for lost dogs signs and there were none, we asked a couple of people in the street – no one knew about lost dogs. Not surprising really.
Hunters often keep their dogs in a cage all week and then let them out on a Sunday for la chasse and the dogs go a bit mad and just run and run – our vet says it is very common for dogs to get lost. These two could have been lost for a week or more and that could account for why they looked so rough – it might not be that they’ve been dumped though that does happen too sometimes.
“But” – I said to the OH – “it’s not hunting season at the moment, and none of the hunters we know take their dogs for a walk – and certainly not on a Sunday at lunch time”.
So, we went back – the dogs were still lying there in the road huddled together. The OH thought that they were probably trying to keep warm on the tarmac. We both went over to them. This time I noticed the little one had lost a claw, they were both filthy with matted fur and so skinny it broke my heart to see them like that and I burst into tears. The OH looked at me with that sort of resignation face he gets when he doesn’t really want to do something but can’t resist. The dogs were licking me and making little low crying noises.
“Ok – put them in the car” he said.
I got up, the dogs got up; I walked to the car, the dogs followed. I opened the door and they both hopped in to my side of the car and laid on the floor.
We took them home, fed and watered them, got a spare dog cage out and put a bed in it and left it in our dog’s pen and let them rest and calm down. We took our dogs Ella, Bruno and Churchill in the house.
Last night we bought the lost dogs’ cage into our dogs’ room and they all slept in a row – all five of them – we didn’t hear a peep until we got up this morning.
We took the two lost dogs for a walk first on their own and then our own dogs. Then we let them play together in the garden. The Old One isn’t up for much – she is very calm and has a lovely old face and just watches. The young one loved Churchill our small dog and they played together.
They are super dogs, both spaniels – really friendly, loving and so quiet – I’m used to our boisterous mutts. They absolutely adore being stroked and cuddled. They clearly haven’t been on leads before, have completely ignored our cats and chickens so I’m thinking they’re probably from a farm.
I’ve contacted our local SPA, dogs’ refuge and will take a photo to the vets, local police station and supermarket to see if we can locate the owners.
If we can’t find the owners or someone who will love them together – they are so close they’re clearly inseparable – then I think we may just have our very own wolf pack! (See Part II – lost dogs go home).