I left her sleeping on the straw bales, curled up basking in the mid afternoon sunshine, minutes later she’d vanished. The two-year-old grey haired Bedlington cross whippet is extremely affectionate and never wanders far. She’ll happily venture off to chase rabbits but only with the knowledge a companion is close at hand.
To make matters worse I was looking after her for the week whilst Tris was away working.
Due to return on the Friday afternoon he’d spent five days sat at a desk and was looking forward to a long relaxing walk across the moors with his faithful friend. In his absence the little lurcher and I struck up quite a bond. Once she’d forgiven me for soaping and scrubbing her clean, she slept contentedly next to the kitchen stove for a number of nights, spared the kennel due to the lashing rain. She accompanied me to the gallops and even on the school run.
On the afternoon Tris was due back Blue disappeared. I walked the fields shouting, scanning the hedgerows, visited neighbours, checked garages and drove around nearby lanes and villages half dreading the sight of a limp body laid on the verge but found nothing.
When Tris arrived I told him the bad news. He was quiet, and I could tell, upset. We spent the rest of the evening ringing dog wardens, vets, kennels, driving around well into the early hours. She had contact details on the collar but no microchip. If someone had found her and wanted to get in touch they could have.
Another day passed with still no clues. Tris printed lost dog posters and pinned them in shops and on lamp posts. He nearly got into an argument when the local supermarket refused to put one up, stating it was against their safety regulations. He was at his wits end, his temper frayed and his patience quickly running out.
A week’s passed and still there’s no news. The council dog pounds are sick of hearing from us. Tris has never once blamed me which makes me feel even worse.
He’s sad, he loved his little dog and she adored him. Even the naughty kitten is missing her play buddy. The two regularly snuggled up together. I can only hope whoever has her (I’m almost certain someone has picked her up) they are looking after her.
On a happier note last Saturday our huntsman Richard Lloyd celebrated his 25th Opening meet with the Pendle harriers. So much has changed during his time at the Pendle, not only the law on hunting but the countryside itself. New roads and houses have sprung up, smaller family farms once boasting a dairy herd have all but vanished. Many sold or converted for commuter couples.
To huntsmen it’s second nature to monitor the health of the countryside as they hunt across the land. Richard knows more about changes in health and population to foxes, hares, rabbits, deer, birds and plants across the Pendle country from those 25 years’ involvement than any visiting ecologist or society ‘do-gooder’ could ever truly understand.
A huntsman’s knowledge and experience is something we ought to listen to. One day it will prove invaluable in saving our countryside’s delicate ecosystems.