We were trudging around the big field this morning, then; Bert with his fur-lined waterproof coat on (it’s manly, honest), and me with seventeen layers, including thermals, t-shirts, fleeces and two jackets. The snow was coming straight at us as we walked down the slope and the wind was freezing my eyelashes to my very pink cheeks.
Bert started to pull. Usually this is because he’s stopped to have a poo and I haven’t noticed, but this time he was looking up towards Lily The Lovely Lamb Lady’s farm. We were introduced to Lily last week when the little blue greyhound went missing. It was on her land where Hubby hurled himself out of the car at our little escapee, sliding neatly off her rump and landing in a big huffy heap. Lily took pity on us and showed us round all the new lambs that they were feeding by hand, and the ready-to-pop lambs in the field closest to the farmhouse. It was that particular field that was drawing Bert’s attention. Lily The Lovely Lamb Lady’s very fat, pregnant lambs were being chased about their field by a very pingy black dot, moving a whole lot faster than you would expect a heavily pregnant mother to move. I know my eyes are bad but it didn’t look good. Especially when, on closer inspection, the dot was definitely dog shaped. I phoned Hubby on the pink batphone:
Me (slurring through frozen blue mouth): ‘I’m in the field behind the house! I just looked up and there’s a black dog chasing the ewes in Lily the Lovely Lamb Lady’s field!’
Me: ‘There’s a f*cking dog chasing Lily’s sheep!!’
Hubby: ‘Oh shit. Is it ours?’
Me: ‘No, it looks furry’
Hubby: ‘Thank Christ. Do you know her number?’
Me: ‘No, but D next door’s brother in law knows her’
Hubby: ‘I’ll get on the case’
So, while Hubby tried to warn Lily, like the Michelin man in a bad slow-mo movie clip, I ran, dragging a very miffed Bertie, back to the house, hurled myself into the jeep and took off as fast as I could (it’s difficult to drive in wellies, especially with seventeen layers of clothing and frozen extremities) off to Lily’s farm. As I drove up the farm track, the dog, a bedraggled black collie-looking thing, came running towards me. Oh. I hadn’t expected that. I stopped, jumped out, and tried to entice it towards me. It eyed me warily but didn’t come any closer. Instead I opened the back of the jeep and whistled. Amazingly, it hopped in. Slamming the door, I screeched up to the farmhouse to meet a worried-looking Lily at the gate.
Luckily, the sheep weren’t as heavily pregnant as I thought, in fact, that was the ‘kind of possibly maybe could be pregnant’ field, which was good. Having checked her beasties were all well, we retired into the farmhouse for a cup of tea and a mull over what to do with our hairy hostage, now sitting guiltily in the back of the jeep (it’s the Cavan way – a cuppa and a chat can solve any crisis – maybe we should suggest it to NATO as a new strategy).
So the upshot of this very exciting episode was that we drove around a few of the farms, showing off our little furry prisoner, and when nobody recognised him, we drove him to The Dog Lady, who everyone knows takes in dogs, and if someone’s missing a dog, they’re bound to visit. While we were there, we oohed and ahhed at her clutch of rescue puppies (7!, all needing a new home), and were happily chatting when Lily the Lovely Lamb Lady suddenly remembered that she’d got a ham joint boiling on the stove. Back we went to the farm to drop Lily off to her lambs and her ham joint, and I drove back, mulling over the fact that I had single handedly managed to catch a stray dog in about five seconds, but that my own runaway still evades capture over two weeks later.