The french expression ‘Les ennuis n’arrivent jamais seuls’ translates to ‘Problems never come on their own’ or to the English ‘It never rains but it pours’. The motorhome was packed for departure the next morning at 7.00 am. Our Cocker Spaniel (Toby) and Labrador (Poppy) had been to the vets and had their expensive, designer worm tablets. The Eurotunnel for our Christmas return to Blightee was booked. We had just finished a very pleasant lunchtime meal. What could possibly go wrong? We were driving back through Lessac as the creature was staggering across the road narrowly avoiding traffic. I say creature because at first it was difficult to work out what it was. As we got colder we realised it was in fact a dog. Skin and bones would be an exaggerated description of his state of health. He showed no reluctance to be picked up and placed in a blanket in the boot of the car. The reality check kicked in before second gear. It was Saturday afternoon, we were leaving for England the next morning and had a dog on two last legs, literally, in the boot of the car. We had a vague awareness of the work of voluntary animal groups and that the Maire was usually the ‘fountain of knowledge’ on all matters. For the former we had no contact details and the latter was shut. However, a receipt indicated that our vets were actually open for business on a Saturday afternoon.
On arrival the empty car park did not bode well and we fully expected to see the all encompassing but non specific ‘Ferme Exceptional’ on the door. Leaving our passenger asleep in the boot we ventured in and found a receptionist and vet. They were not unsympathetic but after a brief discussion it appeared we had three choices, take him home, take him back to where we found him or pay a €30 consultation fee. The first was impractical, the second inhumane so we went for number 3. A closer examination revealed a pathetic young puppy of probably less than 3 months with no fur but a coat of cuts and sores and listless eyes. The vet established he had probably been living rough from early November to now mid December and concluded initially that an injection may probably be the best way forward. However , before we had considered this in detail the receptionist arrived with a watery food mix which was eaten with enthusiasm and the conversation quickly turned to other options.
The only other option given our impending trip appeared to be that the puppy would stay at the vets and in a week time we would phone for an update. Whilst there would be costs associated the vets would not charge their normal rate. A week later a tentative phone call was made. The enthusiasm of the receptionist quickly conveyed that Lucky was making progress. Indeed photographs and a brief video-clip followed showing a still pathetically fragile dog but at least he had stopped limping and his eyes had a bit of sparkle. After a brief discussion we decided to return slightly earlier than planned. Lucky was collected two weeks after we had dropped him off and his recuperation continued for several more weeks. We debated whether it was chancing fate to keep the name Lucky. However, it was agreed with the vet that even if he suffered misfortune he had been Lucky in that he probably would not have survived a couple more freezing nights if we had not picked him up. Retrospectively if we had named him after his appearance, character or main physical activity he would have been Chewbacca, Gremlin or Zebedee respectively. He is quirky and of unknown parentage. His passport acquired before his hair had grown back indicates Cocker Spaniel Cross. I think the vet used the same method to determine his breed as my mother did to win £5- 1s – 0d on Foinavan in the 1967 Grand National. (ie a pin) Hopefully, Pet Passport control will accept the microchip as proof of identity and not request an identity parade.
Lucky is now a happy, healthy and integrated family member. Our Labrador regressed at times to puppy behaviour and our older Cocker Spaniel keeps the newcomer in place. I think we all reflect that it was a ‘Lucky Encounter’.