On Saturday I met up with my friend. She lives in San Francisco and I don’t see her very often, but she was in London, so I agreed to leave my West London enclave and go to Hackney for lunch and a wander in the park.
Which was where we met Accidental Dog.
Accidental Dog was wandering around with a collar and lead on. My friend was facing the area she was wandering in, and had been watching her for about half an hour before she told me there seemed to be a lost dog behind us. I turned around, watched her for a few minutes, and agreed. Since she had a collar and lead on, we thought we’d catch her, find her human’s details on the tag, and reunite them.
But it’s my life, so of course it wasn’t that simple.
She had a collar and lead, but no tag. We walked her around the park for about another half hour, trying to see if we could find anyone who seemed to be looking for a dog. No luck, so we took her to the local vet to find out about her microchip.
There was a microchip with the owner’s details (and the dog’s name, which I’m not posting online because I want to keep it to myself in case the owner comes forward, so they can prove they’re the real owner). Great! we thought. The vet called the number, which went to voicemail. She sent an email to the registered email address. It bounced back.
We waited in the vet’s reception area for about an hour, then my friend had to go. I decided to stay with Accidental Dog, who seemed to have decided she trusted me but no one else. After a while I asked the vet if I could use their toilet, and Accidental Dog accompanied me. I’m not going to let you leave me, she seemed to be saying. So I didn’t.
The vet left a couple of voicemails for the owner, and I waited there with her until closing time, which was about an hour later. Still nothing. By this time Accidental Dog had been with me for about four hours and there was nothing posted online about anyone having lost a dog. I tweeted and my friend Instagrammed, but no takers.
“We could call the dog warden,” said the vet as the receptionist was cashing up, “but they’ll put her in kennels and she seems very nervy.” She’d barely finished the sentence before I offered to take her home. She just seemed like my dog, somehow. For the moment, anyway.
On the train home she seemed to decide I was her human now.
When we got home she headed straight under the bed – not an easy task, considering that I’m renovating and it’s a tip under there. But she managed to make a little den for herself, and she stayed there for ages.
The following day I was going to Wales overnight for a meeting, so I left her with my friend who has a poodle. Going away the day after I’d found her wasn’t ideal, of course, but I talked to the vet about it and they said it was probably still less stressful than being in a kennel. She and my friend’s dog took to one another right away and now they are BFFs.
Meanwhile I called and texted and WhatsApped and emailed the owner whose details were on the microchip. No one replied.
I picked her up again on the Monday evening and brought her back home. I called the vet from Saturday and updated her on the lack of contact from the registered owner. She asked if I was happy to keep her for a bit longer while she worked out what to do. I said I was. She told me she’d ring round and see what she could find out, and what to do next.
On Tuesday morning I took Accidental Dog to my local vet, who know me from when I had Fifi, and explained the whole saga to them. I wanted to weigh her to make sure I was feeding her enough, and see if they could work out how old she is.
About a year old, they said, and 15 kilos. When I described her behaviour they said they think she’s been kept outside, maybe with lots of other dogs, perhaps in a cage. This might explain her weird behaviour indoors – every time she enters a house she immediately finds the smallest darkest place and hides in it – because if she’s used to the only indoor area being a little cage outside then she’d automatically look for something like that.
So far she likes:
- sitting down
- quiet surroundings
- other dogs, especially my friend’s poodle
- walking in side streets
She does not like:
- loud noises
- young white men
- most other adults
- men sitting in vans
- most dog treats
- doors being closed when she’s in a house
- people opening the front door
- standing still
If you think you might know (or be) her owner, please let me know. In the meantime, it looks like I have a dog.
UPDATE: Accidental Dog’s human was found! She was lovely, and it turned out the dog was traumatised from running around Hackney for 24 hours before my friend & I found her. I reunited them on Friday and hopefully next time her human goes away, she’ll be left with a more reliable dog sitter.