Following a period of enforced convalescence Mac is back to his old tricks.
Chief among these is his penchant for scaling the garden wall and hot-footing it after whichever small, furry mammal happens to have unwittingly strayed onto his olfactory radar.
The slightest whiff of cat, fox, squirrel, or sometimes even a large bird, will often prompt a cartoon-style chase sequence across the neighbourhood.
This time it was a small ginger cat, which had obviously grown bold on account on Mac’s recent inactivity, and ventured too close.
I’d been upstairs, and Mac out in the garden, when I heard the telltale bark. By the time I got outside, all that remained in the garden was settling dust and a sense of foreboding.
Until a few months ago, a dense thicket in the neighbouring garden meant he never got too far before I tracked him down, but now all the foliage has been chopped down giving him a clear run to freedom.
I set off on a circuit of the block to see if I could track him down. After ten minutes and still no sign, my mind began to race towards disaster scenarios. Despite hollering his name repeatedly he was nowhere to be seen.
At that point I noticed, several gardens down, a little ginger cat atop a wall with its tail and fur both standing on end as if from an electric shock. A-ha, surely all I needed to do was follow its startled gaze to find the wayward hound.
Sure enough, as I watched, Mac’s front paws and the back of his head came into sight as he scrabbled to get up the far wall of the garden. But it was too steep and he slid back down. After several valiant attempts, I realised that he needed rescued.
Walking round to the front of the house, I peeked through tall gate and could see that while the wall was only four foot high on one side, once inside the garden, it was closer to eight feet - too high even for Mac, a seasoned adventurer to escape from.
When he saw me, he pawed forlornly at the bars of the gate like a forgotten Lifer. As the garden gate could only be unlocked from the inside I pressed the front doorbell.
Two young boys, playing in the neighbouring garden, eyed me with interest.
“They’re no’ in,” said one. “Er, right. Well, my dog is stuck in their garden so I need to get him out somehow.”
“My mum’s got a key. Wait ‘n’ I’ll get it,” he said before disappearing.
Moments later, he reappeared with his mum, who had been fully briefed on the situation. After I confirmed my sorry tale, she opened up the house and went through to the back garden to retrieve the mutt.
Freaked out by the thought of possibly living out the rest of his natural days in a strange, high-walled garden, Mac appeared, the picture of contrition. Head bowed, he skulked out of the house but couldn’t stop his tail giving an involuntary mini-wag as he saw me at the door. I thanked the family and grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and marched him home.
Meanwhile the aforementioned ginger cat watched the whole scene unfold from the smug safety of a nearby tree.
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