Sitting on the doorstep shaking was a small, round, black-grey dog of terrier ancestry whom I had never seen before. She was wearing a collar and was clearly pleased to see a person, even one she had never met. I said hello, had a look round the road and the end of the nature reserve for an owner, and finding none, took a look at her collar. An address and phone number, but no name. I called, and was sent to voice mail, so left a message. My dog-owning neighbours, whom I met, didn't recognise her, either, which suggested she wasn't a nature reserve regular. At this point, we went indoors and she had a drink of water while I made more calls to no avail. A call to the local vet -- only a few hundred yards away -- revealed that no dog had run away from them, but they could scan for her chip and see if we could find another phone number.
I don't have dogs. I do have a cat harness with a detachable lead, so I clipped this to her collar and off we set. She was very happy with this, although it took a while as she is elderly. On getting there, she was checked over and scanned and we discovered her name -- Molly -- and another phone number that also did not work, plus a different address. About 3/4 of an hour had now passed, we had three different and non-responsive numbers and Molly though a patient had not been to said vet in years and was listed at another address. The nurse and I decided to ring the dog warden, because she had sore paws and we were worried she might have been wandering because something might have happened to her owner.While the nurse made the call, I took Molly to the pet shop next door to buy her a treat.
At which point, hearing me call her name, the assistant asked me if this was the lost dog Molly and had I now found her. Some confusion ensued, but eventually we achieved mutual comprehension and I acquired yet another phone number, which I rang. This time, there was an instant response and it turned out the lady hunting for her was literally on the opposite side of the road. We went over and much happiness ensued. (Also several treats.) Molly, it transpires, is a very lucky little dog. She had been out for a walk with a friend of her owner and running around off her lead on the big common near to us. A big brown labrador frightened her and she ran off at speed, apparently getting safely across the extremely busy major road that runs between that common and the nature reserve. She must then have wandered through the latter until she emerged in my street, and hunted along it until the dead end and my doorstep. How she avoided being hit by a car is a mystery -- it was a busy time of day and there were a lot of speeding drivers.
She's now home. She's a sweet and friendly little girl -- she wanted to sit on my knee and at no point was she aggressive or even bark-y: she just cuddled up and generally gave the impression of a dog that likes human company.
The cats, however, are Not Impressed. I made sure they didn't meet, but there has been some very disapproving sniffing.