Just a week ago this morning, I took this photo through the cottage window. Minutes later an otter came gallumphing down the lane. Well, I at first thought it was an otter or seal because the gait of whatever it was seemed like the way those critters move on land.
But it was a doggie: a Bassett hound with very short legs that made it difficult to go through the snow. Isn't he cute?
He wasn't just cute but nice. A real cuddler.
But he was lost and without even a tag. So I donned my gear and set out to see if he belonged to the neighbours.
It's country up there, so neighbours aren't all that close, and I had to drive. I could distinguish dog tracks in the nearest neighbour's place, but they weren't home and the unshovelled snow informed me that they hadn't been home for some time, so I drove on to the next house, and it didn't belong to them either, but they sent me to its possible owner. Except it wasn't. It was, however, a local lady with deep roots in the area, so she began to call around. Meanwhile I called on several other locals, but no one knew the doggie, and animal control had no reports of a missing dog in our area.
What to do? We were going home the next day, and we're not able to take in a stray dog at this time, especially one who would have to be transported a long way in a very packed vehicle. Well, the local lady was willing to take him in as she searched for his owner whom she thought she would be able to track down. She already had three dogs, one a younger Bassett as it happens, so it wasn't a big deal for her to keep the one extra pooch for a little while.
Except, she couldn't track anyone down. Some folks claimed that they had seen the dog wandering down the road that morning, but nobody knows its origin, and nobody was exactly jumping up to claim Barney (our name for the little guy). I hope that he hadn't just been dumped and abandoned by some city person. I know that happens in the country sometimes, but surely not in the middle of winter to an almost legless dog?! It makes me sad to even contemplate that possibility.
Anyway, we dropped him off at Nice Local Lady's place and had reason to drop by again later that afternoon. He greeted me happily (see photo below) and Nice Lady reported that he was settling in fine and having a grand time with the other dogs. She said that if Barney didn't have a home, he now had one with her.
I hope Barney has a happy life whatever the outcome because he was a very nice, lovable little thing. There he is (above) at her place by my feet as I approached the house on my return visit.