… so there I was, on a sunny spring day walking with my dog, Miss Mia, along Nutgrove Beach in Hobart Tasmania. We were going to one of my reading spots to read Melissa Foster’s Chasing Amanda. Up ahead a piece I noticed another black and white, boarder collie mix doing ball work with a chap. As far as ball work goes, Miss Mia’s in the bleachers at the moment as she’s strained her front paw but this dog was doing fifteen to the dozen, lovely long and lofty strides to the ball.
– “Do you know who owns this dog?” the chap said.
– “It just came up to me with the ball.” He had an accent. “I think it’s lost.”
I looked both ways along the beach. Hobart must be one of the few places left in the world where you can be pretty much on your own with the sun in the middle of the city on a beach. But if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s a lost dog. I have another lead in my car for such occasions but my car’s in Sydney. His collar had a medal but he skittish so to calm him down, I put him on Miss Mia’s lead. He acquiesced. The medal said Clarence Council.
– “That’s on the other side of the river,” I said.
I pointed to the other shore, across the broad Derwent River. As we looked to the water, two dolphins broke, coming up for air, only a few metres from the beach. Both the dogs saw them and moved forward. Neither of them barked or did anything, they were just as intrigue as us. For years I’d thought dolphins were like dogs and in fact they are dogs who’d gone back to the sea.. So they were all distant cousins. They broke the water again, lazy and lolling along, no particular place to be.
– “When I was young,” I said, “the river was so polluted nothing lived in it.”
They broke again but a powerboat had seen them and came towards us and they took a deep breadth and disappeared.
What to do with the dog? Two dogs, one lead, a busy road between me and home.
I asked the chap if he would help me home, at least to carry my dog across Sandy Bay Road. He was from South Africa and had been on holiday in Hobart and was leaving the next day. He carried Miss Mia across the busy road and then left us. I forgot to ask his name but he was very helpful. Thanks for sharing my concern.
Once home, I rang the number on the tag. The man from Clarence Council tracked the number and said he would ring the owner. I locked Miss Mia in doors and took the dog down to the garden. He drank two bowls of water and then I stopped him. Then the owner rang. He was a tradesperson and was working at a house much further along the beach. The dog’s tail waged excitedly when he heard the van approach. He took a very deep breath and jumped into the van and they were gone.