We were on our way to do some cleaning and tidying at the new house, when we decided to stop off at the local Lidl to buy some cleaning stuff and a cake to share with our lovely new neighbours. Little did we know what a bottle of bleach and a chocolate cake would lead to!
About half a mile after our stop for supplies, we suddenly spotted four tawny bundles of fur coming directly into the path of our car. From the other direction, another car was bearing down upon them. We slowed to a halt rapidly, as did the other car, and we pulled up, side-by-side while the puppies did their best to get underneath the cars.
Geoff wound his window down to tell the other driver not to move, and I leaped out of the car to pull three of them from under his front wheels. The fourth scooted off down the road, while I juggled three fluffballs into the boot of our car.
The next couple of minutes were a blur, but we came out the other side with four puppies squealing and crying in the boot, and the cloud of dust from the speedy retreat of the other car obscuring the view from the rear window.
We drove straight to the dog rescue charity shop in the nearby town, but it was closed, and had no contact telephone number on the door. We decided we would continue on to the new house, put the puppies safely in the barn with some water, and then work out what to do next.
They cried and howled all the way there. Fortunately, it was only about ten minutes away, but by the time we arrived, we were feeling fairly fraught.
I had found a rather nice terracotta bowl in the undergrowth during our previous visit, so we put the puppies in the barn, filled the bowl with water for them, and left them to settle while we decided what to do next.
We had bleach, we had puppies, we had a bit of a situation on our hands.
We also had cake. And the offer of a cup of tea any time we were around.
A few minutes later, we were nursing drinks and slabs of cake, and calling any telephone numbers we could find. The lovely Leslie called some friends who have links with animal charities, and we called a couple of people we know. Nobody could help. They were all up to their neck in puppies. Unfortunately, there is quite a problem with puppies being dumped here, and there had been dozens handed to the charities in the last few weeks.
To cut a long story slightly shorter, Dave and Leslie offered us a bed for the night, so we were able to stay and wait for a lady from Puppy Rescue to come and see the puppies the following afternoon. The dog of the blog, her side-kick, the chicken ladies, the chicken babies and Boggle were safe with Rosemary, so we could avoid the hundred kilometre round trip to take the puppies home and then back the next day.
Fortunately, the barn has a couple of built-in concrete animal bowls, so we put the puppy food into them. All four puppies scrambled and clambered over each other to stand, sit, or fall over in the bowls, tumbling about in an uncoordinated feeding frenzy. They looked like four teddy bears, all fluff and flollop, with the dearest little faces, no coordination and tiny, needle sharp teeth.
The puppy lady came at four, the following afternoon.
“Oh they are going to be huge!” she announced cheerfully. She took photographs of them and weighed them. To our surprise, all four of them weighed exactly the same, and the difference in size was entirely down to the volume of fluff that hid their scrawny little bodies. She dosed them for worms and fleas, estimated their age at about nine weeks and told us there were no foster homes available for them until at least the beginning of May.
“Don’t worry,” I said to Geoff. “I wouldn’t want a male dog. I am happier with bitches, so I’ll be immune to these, sweet as they are. We can foster them, if we must, until homes can be found for them.”
Having achieved very little of what we had originally planned – we did get to share the cake – we locked up the house and prepared to go home.
The teddies had sounded distraught in the boot, so we thought it would be kinder on them if we put two in a box at my feet and I had the other two on my lap. Herding jelly with tweezers would have been easier than organising them. I spent the forty minute trip home trying to stop any of them wriggling free. Two little teddy faces kept trying to squeeze out of the box, while another furry bundle wriggled in the direction of the gear stick, and the last one attempted to climb onto my opposite shoulder. They smelled divine. Warm digestive biscuits and general baby animal sweetness. Tiny teeth explored my hands, calves, ears and all points between. Every so often, one would look set to fall into an exhausted coma, just as one of his brothers decided to nip him on the ear or kick him in the stomach.
“So why did you decide to turn out of the car park onto the back road, instead of taking our usual route?” I pondered. I think it was being stopped by the Guardia Civil for having four unrestrained puppies in the car that provoked the question. Geoff did not have an answer. He was just relieved that the officer who flagged us down could not be bothered to deal with two mad foreigners and a car full of heaving fur.
We arrived back at our rented home, and tried to introduce the teddies to Poppy and Minnow. Poppy was, frankly, terrified of them, and Minnow was less than impressed. For some reason, disappearing under a tsunami of excited puppies was not top of their bucket list.
Assurances were given that this was a temporary arrangement. Poppy’s position as Officially Best Dog in the Universe was unassailable. Minnow’s tenure as Resident Terror was completely secure. They were unconvinced, and the teddies were far too busy nipping ankles and tiddling willy-nilly to care.
We had decided that it was not right to have four lively puppies storm and lay waste to a house we do not own, so we set up a den for them outside, under the shelter of the fly screened porch.
Everything stayed quiet, so we crept off to bed, wondering how long we would be allowed to sleep.
“Well, that didn’t go quite as we expected, did it? ” I mused wryly.
The teddies weren’t the only ones exhausted by the last eventful couple of days: there was no response but a gentle snore from beside me in the dark.