Spring – now that it’s nearing summer – has sprung here in the Northwest of England. Yesterday was a glorious day and today, today, the weather was even better. Warm, sunny, gentle enough breeze… a perfect day for boating on the canal.
My BIL had some jobs to do on his boat, so my SIL, my dog and I went to the Lancaster Canal to join him, watch the light lollop across the water, have bacon butties and cups of coffee in the bright, afternoon sun while ducklings trailed their mothers and the good-weather worshipers walked the tow path.
Sandwiches made and the cabin sweltering from the heat of the day and the gas grill, we decided to go out onto the canal to get a bit of the deeply-craved breeze flowing through the boat.
We found a sweet little spot with some shade and a spectacular view. With sheep bleating in the field below us and room on the tow path for us to put out chairs and have a quiet sit on the bank, we moored.
I put Milo on the tow path for a little run and then – stupidly as it turned out – went back into the cabin to help with the chairs.
Big mistake. HUGE mistake.
In the seconds that it took me to walk into the cabin, take the chairs off my BIL and walk back out into the sun, Milo was gone.
I called. I called again. I looked up the tow path. I looked down the tow path. There was no sign of him, so I called again, again.
I looked back up the tow path and the woman in the boat in front of us pointed to the field below me. I smiled in thanks, but was inwardly thinking, “Right, you nutter.” She was far from being a nutter. When I turned my attentions to the field, there he was, my small dog, running flat out, chasing an enormous flock of sheep.
An enormous flock of sheep.
He was chasing them and barking like a fool. He wasn’t barking at them from the edge of the flock – oh, no – he was in the middle of them, running in all directions, trying to chase each and every sheep, all at once.
Shoeless, I hopped off the boat, shouting for my SIL to come help. She flew out of the cabin, over the edge of the boat and onto to the tow path, lighting out ahead of me while I tried – in vain – to recall my swiftly-moving, completely engrossed, flock-chasing dog. My BIL quickly followed my SIL, running past her, over a bridge and into the farmer’s field to catch him.
Now that Milo had chased all of the sheep into a neighboring field and had sniffed the various and new interesting things he’d found, he (suddenly) was able to hear me calling his name and came running back up the hill to the tow path – as though nothing had ever happened – with my BIL following closely behind. He handed Milo over the fence to me and climbed over after him, catching his pants in a very delicate place on the barbed-wire fence in the process. I tried to help, but in the end simply told my SIL, “You’re going to have to put your hand there.”
That was hours ago and I can laugh about it now.
Milo? Poor chap, he's exhausted.
He’s having a nap.