“Dakota’s had puppies!” yelled Zed, coming in from taking Milly on her evening walk and looking slightly windblown with a light drizzle of rain still glistening on his shoulders. “Who wants to come and see them? I think we should see if we can have one.”
We raced over to the neighbouring barn. Dakota isn’t our dog. She lives under a table next door and belongs to someone in the village. Whenever she breaks free she bounds over to our house and scampers around with Milly, our Labrador cross. We don’t actually know her real name but Dakota is as good as any don’t you think? A little black and tan mongrel featured in a previous blog ‘Scruffy and Woofy’.
We peered under the table at the two tiny, black, newly born creatures wriggling around near their mother in the dark. I could see two but maybe there were more hidden the other side of her.
“Should we ask if we can have one?” asked Zed. In that moment all common sense went out the window along with the unspoken and disturbing thought that maybe they weren’t wanted and would be drowned. Home was, after all, a table.
The following morning Zed dashed out with a translated note which said something like ‘If you don’t want all the puppies can we have one?” and left it on top of the table for the owner to find.
Later that day the owner came by. Zed tried out his Portuguese and after a conversation of sorts managed to establish that there were three puppies, that the owner was having one, another neighbour the other and there would be one for us. Well, we think that’s what he said. At one point the owner mentioned ten puppies and reeled off names across the neighbourhood. Ten puppies? Eh? Where were they? What?
Dakota and her puppies were rehoused in a wooden shack the following day. At intervals I would peek my head around the door and watch them suckling or barging around the room. They were as cute as teddy bears and I couldn’t resist them, couldn’t wait for the day when we could take one home. They were black and tan like their mother. There was just one little thought bothering me, we could still only see two puppies…not three…not ten…
Ola, ola!” shouted a neighbour at our gate late one evening. My daughter translated their problem. It seemed that the puppies had gone missing. Oh no! Had we seen them? Knowing that Dakota plays in the garden we wondered if she’d brought them in and hidden them somewhere. Clearly wanting us to be the proud owners. Were these the neighbours who were having the other puppy?
The following morning a makeshift fence had been put up in the yard. Outside on the road stood Dakota, shaking slightly. I could hear the puppies whimpering in the shed. They’d returned safely from their wander but she couldn’t get to them. Emergency!! I raced into the house to fetch Zed to help me lift Dakota over the fence. When we got back the dog was already the other side having found another way in. As they fed and then scampered out to play I wondered whether we would be given the boy or the girl. I didn’t mind which. We hadn’t come up with a name yet. Maybe ‘The Wanderer’? I bought a tin of puppy food. Just in case.
We waited for them to be weaned, visiting them often, holding them, playing with them. They started eating solid food. One evening my son came rushing in. One of the puppies had gone!
The following day we watched the carnival parade in town then came home and cuddled the last remaining, gorgeous, fluffy puppy. Was it ours? When could we take it? Where was the owner to ask? More importantly – do we really need two dogs?
The next morning Dakota was there, bounding happily in front of us as usual. At the shack there were no puppies left. Not ten, not three, not two, not one. They say dogs start to look like their owners and with his light, tan, floppy hair and cute face Jae was starting to look uncannily like one of the puppies. It clearly wasn’t the sign I thought it was though.
Ah well. They have chickens for sale in the Agriloja store. Maybe a more practical option. They are for sale next to the cutest floppy eared rabbits though…..