A black dog story

We love living in France but there are times when the children fancy food that is a little more familiar such as Subway or McDonalds both of which are available in our largest and beautiful large town.

One Sunday, it was agreed we would succumb to the dubious pleasures of McDonalds. I am not a fan of the plastic type food. I was thrilled when one turned up in my Yorkshire home town but I was young and stupid. I was delighted when my university town held out so long against the American giant. Give me Tatties or Waffles any day of the week. I digress.

We set off and as we drove through the gorgeous countryside, a huge black dog ran into the road in front of us. This was a big shock but apparently less so for my husband and youngest son who had seen it before but normally accompanied by a jogger.

I seriously think it was Newfoundland. Now, I only have one response to any dog. I always want to take them home with me. Himself said perhaps it would follow the car but I said it should be put in the car. At this point, my teen daughter said “We are all going to die!” which is her usual response to any surprising situation.

As my husband got out to let the dog into the boot, I opened my door and the dog jumped in. He was such a cuddly and friendly soul. I was smitten in about a second. Himself worried that the wet dog would ruin the car but I was too busy getting acquainted to bother.

So what exactly do you do when you find a dog without its owner in France?

There were differing opinions. My daughter always motivated by food said we should put the dog out of the car and leave it to its own devices. My younger son was torn between the dog’s welfare and the idea of a burger. My husband was just terrified I would rehome the dog at the first possible opportunity.

At this point, my husband decided he recognised the dog as that of our nearest neighbour. I was not convinced but we headed back towards home and, you have guessed it dear reader, as soon as we entered the drive of our neighbour’s place, a big black dog came out to meet us. We spoke to our female neighbour and an amused child but neither knew where the dog came from.

So we spent a fair amount of time travelling up farm tracks to various houses to try to find the dog’s house with me hoping we never would. Himself kept telling me the best he would offer is keeping the dog until Monday when we could take him to the Gendarme or the vets.

It all got a bit stressful and my son burst into tears at the idea of the dog getting into danger if we abandoned him which I reassured him we would not do.

We parked outside another place and I started my barrister argument that we should take the dog home at least for one night. Just as we did so a 4 by 4 came out of the house with a stressed looking Madame and her toddler daughter with a dummy in who pointed at the dog in delight.

I don’t know how we did it but we had managed to find the dog’s real owner. She was so grateful. My son wanted to get out to give her a lecture on how to look after her dog but in the interests of Brexit negotiations, I stopped that happening.

So we had a happy ending to the saga although I still hope I can bring it home one day.

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