The Mystery of Angel's Double
One afternoon last week I was pulling into my drive when I spotted a dog exactly resembling mine, even to the pink jewelled collar, trotting down the road behind a man carrying a tablet device. My first thought was that my kelpie, Angel, had finally managed to chew through the wire which covers the bottom of our gate and escaped into the street. But when I hopped out of the car and approached the dog, I noticed she was almost a Doppelgänger for Angel, though not quite. Angel has a small white triangular patch on her nose, this dog's face was entirely black.
‘Is she your dog?’ I asked the man with the iPad as he stopped to examine my water meter.
‘No, it followed me from River Drive. I’m just the meter reader.’
Then he continued briskly on his way with the pooch close behind him.
If this dog lives in River Drive, I thought to myself, she’s heading further and further from home.
‘Little puppy,’ I called to her, ‘come here!’
Instantly she obeyed. I checked her fancy pink collar for an ID tag. Nothing. I patted her soft, glossy coat. She leant against my leg and gazed up at me with the most gorgeous hazel eyes. Dear Reader, I was smitten.
It was a hot day, so I took her into my backyard for a bowl of water. Angel, who had been snoozing in her kennel, popped her head out and thought she was dreaming. Soon the two of them were playing as if they had always been buddies. So much for all those warnings about two female dogs not getting on.
‘We have a visitor,’ I called out to WGH* who was at home working in his study.
At first he wondered if he was seeing double. We decided to put the mystery dog on a lead and walk the length of River Drive. Maybe we could find her owner, or at least someone who recognised her. Perhaps she might even recognise her own house and start barking. Unlike our own dog who pulls so hard on the lead that I’ve developed gorilla arms, this little dog behaved perfectly, walking at an even pace and never straining. As we passed people in their gardens, we asked if they knew her. The answer was invariably ‘no’. I looked at my watch - 5.30pm - too late to call the vet about a microchip. So we returned home, no closer to solving the mystery of Angel’s Double.
Soon it was dinnertime. Angel gobbled hers down; the new dog ate slowly and politely. Then they chased each other round the yard for an hour or two and slept soundly through the night. Not even the howling of a libidinous possum could wake them.
Meanwhile I was busy at my laptop, posting pics of the mystery pooch on Facebook and asking locals to share them, which they kindly did, but without success. Almost 800 people saw the post that evening but nobody recognised the dog. Curious. So I stayed up till midnight, designing posters to distribute around the neighbourhood. But I have a confession to make - in my heart I was hoping that nobody would claim the mystery kelpie - even though common sense told me that a well-groomed, well-trained dog must have a loving owner.
In the morning the new dog seemed unsettled.
‘She’s pining for her family,’ WGH said.
‘I know,’ I replied, picturing little children crying for their lost dog.
At eight-thirty sharp, I phoned our vet and asked if they could check whether the dog was micro-chipped.
‘Bring her straight up,’ they said.
She hopped into the back of my car as if she’d done it a million times before and I secured her in place. She lay down without being told to.
We were hardly in the door of the vet’s surgery when the receptionist said, ‘We’ve just this minute had a call from the owner. They arrived from Queensland yesterday. Apparently the dog got loose and was trying to head home.’
I thought about the direction in which she’d been heading. Yes, it was due north.
‘So I guess we’ve got to hand her over,’ I whispered to WGH. He’d fallen in love with her too.
‘Guess so,’ he replied with a catch in his voice.
Suddenly I remembered that I’d brought a poster with me to leave with the vet. ‘You might as well give this to the owner,’ I said. ‘There’s a nice picture of their dog on it. What’s her name, by the way?’
‘Coogee?’ I called to her. She turned in anticipation.
‘You can leave her with us,’ the receptionist said. ‘I’ll phone the owners and let them know.’
We looked into the brown eyes, gave her one last pat and headed out the door. At home Angel was waiting. She’d already forgotten about her Doppelgänger and was back in ‘only child’ mode.
Later that day I received a phone call from the owner, thanking me for keeping her dog safe. She sounded like a nice person and I could tell by the tremor in her voice that she loved the dog. ‘Such a great outcome,’ a dear friend wrote on Facebook, and of course she’s right. But I still miss Angel’s Double, and so does WGH.
* WGH = World's Greatest Husband (it says so on his coffee mug)
October 13, 2014