A nearby motorway restaurant in Portugal told me they were a magnet for abandoned dogs. People could easily pull in and drop their dogs off and be sure they would be fed, getting leftover scraps from the kitchen.
At one point we were attracting our own share of dogs that don’t belong to us. At first we thought they were abandoned but then, as they came cheerily bounding into the garden we realised they were clearly being fed elsewhere. Further investigation revealed they were usually tied up in a garden up the road. Word got around the dog world our garden party rocked because suddenly there were others, whose nature I have no idea about and thus did not want to encourage, who hovered around the boundary of the house waiting for a personal invite.
One sported a collar with a broken chain, the other a broken piece of string round its neck. Having made friends with our dog Milly, these two small cross-breeds, cheery looking dogs which we stroked and petted, seemed to appear at any opportunity they were loose. One was a small black and tan dog with some Jack Russell in her and the other a cross between a West Highland White Terrier and……something else. They would wait outside the front door, eager to play.
These two were friendly and cute and happy and we didn’t mind that our own dog made good friends with them and indeed the children, who begged me unsuccessfully to take them in. At one point one was sleeping in our garden, waiting to play in the morning. When they were tied up we could hear them barking through the night so frankly, I preferred them to sleep loose even if it was at our house. We had no idea what their names were and they had no tag. So I nick-named them Scruffy and Woofy. Woofy has since been renamed again by the children. She is now an upwardly mobile ‘Dakota’.
I have had to revise this blog before posting and change it mainly to the past tense because sadly little Woofy passed away in our garden a couple of weeks ago. Dakota is back on his chain and the other dogs have gone off to find another gang to hang out with.