Here's one of the best things about working for a dog magazine: if you find a lost dog on your way to work and can't get through to the dog warden, you can take said lost dog with you at the office - and absolutely no one will complain.
I am not, by any stretch of imagination, a morning person. Until about 10am - and for a few hours after that according to some - my brain is mush. That goes double for Friday morning. Therefore, when I approached the usual bus stop in Woking to see colleague George Welsby kneeling next to a beautiful young Husky type, I assumed he was petting her. It was only when he gestured for me to come quickly that I realised something wasn't quite right. He was holding her by the collar, with no lead nor owner in sight.
"She was darting in and out of the street," George told me as soon as I got there. "A car barely stopped on time. I am pretty sure my heart stopped as well. She has no tag."
A couple more people had stopped, and a lady was trying to get in touch with a dog warden - without success. With the dog getting increasingly distressed, everyone needing to get to our respective offices and the bus driver unable to keep waiting for us for much longer, we decided to make a crude lead with some rope and take her to Chobham with us. With our office dog Sterling away, she could settle there for as long as it took us to get in touch with the dog warden.
The dog - whom I decided to name Mabel for time being - clearly enjoyed the bus ride, but hardly settled in one place for long. I dared not let go of the rope, which resulted in some mild abrasions on my palms, until we made it to the office.
Needless to say, all work stopped right away: everyone began either fussing on Mabel or trying to get in touch once again with the dog warden. She was quite vocal - not a surprise given the breed! - and would run back and forth on the stairs... until some treats and toys were pulled out, that is.
As soon as we did we were delighted to see that, once settled and presented with treats, she was quite well-behaved: she could sit, lie down and give her paw on command. Good girl.
Thankfully, it wasn't long before we got the call we were hoping for: her owners - or rather, the people who had been looking after her on behalf of her owners, which is why she was temporarily without a tag on her collar - had got in touch with the dog warden as well, and would soon be on their way to pick her up. I'd be lying if I said we weren't just a bit sorry to let her go so soon!
As it turned out, this gorgeous girl is actually called Loki, after the Norse god of mischief - and she certainly lives up to that name. According to the couple who came to collect her, she made her escape after she figured out how to open doors. That made me very glad I had made sure to secure the gate to our courtyard shut with the rope we'd been using as a lead, just in case!
So, there was a happy ending for everyone, or almost. Office dog Sterling is probably not going to be amused when he returns to find out his toy Santa is missing a foot...