The importance of being Archie

Last night I thought my dog Archie was missing. It was a terrible couple of hours.
But it turned out well in the end.

While I am at work, I pay for a dog walker to take Archie out. Since Marion’s walking has become worse, she can’t take him any more, so Cara comes almost every day. Archie loves her, loves her dog Sadie and also loves Caras partner. Bit of cupboard love, I reckon, as he loves his walks so much.

Anyway, yesterday Cara came for him at 12.30 pm. I can just visualise his excitement… At weekends when I take him out, the excitement is electric. As soon as I open the cupboard where my walking boots live, he will appear as if from nowhere, tail wagging wildly in anticipation. I sit on the stairs to fasten the long laces, during which time Archie rushes to the dining room and comes haring back with one of his toys. He arrives back in the hall so fast that he skids as he takes the corner, Tom & Jerry like, on the polished floor. Boots ready, I stand up and reach for his harness, causing him to utter a couple of yips to let me know he’s ready. Harness buckled up, I head for the porch to get my coat, giving Archie the opportunity to rush back to his food dish for a few mouthfuls. He’s not a greedy dog, not motivated by food. His motivation is fresh air and exercise — god I wish I was more like him!

Leaving some food for later, he pounds up to the door, jumping in the air, watching my hand reach for the handle. Door opened, he tears down the garden and sits waiting at the gate until I get there and attach his lead, which he nibbles at for a couple of seconds as we exit the gate.

I imagine he was pretty much the same yesterday as he set off with Cara.

Arriving home from work yesterday, the first thing I noticed was a lack of Archie in the garden. He has a doggy sense that tells him I am about to arrive home and always asks to be out to wait for my return. I always spot his tail spinning above the fence, like a fluffy helicopter rotor. But not yesterday.

Marion tells me that he’s gone with Cara and that she said she was going for a longer walk than usual, so not to worry if she was a long time. Fair enough! Archie does like a long walk, indeed some weekends he and I are out for hours on the fells.

Dinners eaten, the light starts to fade and still no sign of Archie. I’m not worried though as Cara’s partner is with them and he knows what’s what in the fell walking world.
I potter around, cleaning the kitchen, loading the dishwasher, which isn’t drying things properly at the minute for some reason. I wash the pans, mop the kitchen floor and tidy round a bit.
It’s dark now at 7 pm. They’ve been gone 6 and a half hours. I shower and wash my hair, expecting them to return any minute.

But no. Time goes on and Marion tries to ring her, but there’s no signal. Of course that doesn’t mean anything, signals are notoriously bad around here.

At 8.30 we phone Cara’s uncle who knows that they have gone up Scafell. He told her off apparently, for what I haven’t mentioned is that she is heavily pregnant, due in about 2 weeks!

He will give the another hour, then we decide after that its time to call out mountain rescue….

By now I’m really worried. The house is quiet without Archie. I begin to experience a feeling of dread; my stomach churning. What if something has happened? What if he’s disappeared and they are looking for him? Or he’s gone after a rabbit and got stuck underground?

I realise that I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to Archie. He’s been my constant companion, my friend, my comforter, a loyal pal who expects nothing in return for his love except a bit of food and some lovely walks. He is always the same, never bad tempered, always so pleased to see me. I unwind from however bad a day I’ve had as soon as he jumps on my knee…..

Just as the panic is starting to set in, the phone rings.

It’s Cara! They are on the way back, thank god. At 9.45 Archie comes bouncing through the door, muddy, wet and tired. But he’s had a wonderful time. Everyone is fine, but it took them longer because of the pregnant Cara.

I so relieved to get him back. A huge cuddle later, I dry his coat and give him a tasty tangly twist treat.

My little pal is home safe and I can relax at last.

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