We pass a house that is probably best described with the euphemism “social housing”. The inhabitants are often stood outside with cans of Extra Strength and a couple of dogs. When I hesitate to pass with Kato, the people immediately command their dogs to “Fucking Get In Let the Lady pass”. The dogs are very obedient, bouncy cheerful and look a lot healthier than their owners.
One of the men was sat under a tree. “There you are Lady” he said as if he had been waiting for me. He put his cans in each pocket as if holstering his guns and came over. My immediate thought was that I have no spare change / cigarettes, just 4 extra strong poo-bags and my phone in case Kato leg gives out and I have to phone hippy.
Man explained he has lost Jake, his black Border Collie missing for two days.
“You know him” he said to Kato “Barks like a right cunt, he's mint though, proper mint”
Jake is micro-chipped but man discovered that the chips only work if the dog is handed in somewhere that scans them.
“Vets do it” he said
“Or police station” I said
“Fucks sake, hope he hasn’t got arrested” said the man “Hate being arrested”
He asked could I keep a look out for Jake on my walk. Jake would go to anyone and was "really fucking friendly, too fucking friendly" but had never run off for this long before.
He said he had been waiting for me but hadn’t seen me for ages. I pointed at Kato and said she had been ill. Kato throughout this exchange was calm and relaxed. Usually a stranger paying attention to us would have her grumbling.
“Beautiful dog yours” he said filling up with tears “We know when you go past our Jake always barks at her, barks at every fucker, twat dog he is”
His lip began to quiver. He got one of his cans out of his pocket, graciously offered me first swig which I politely declined.
The man smiled sadly at me and said if I saw Jake to just come round the house and bang on the window, anytime, just keep banging on it “Try not to put it through” he said in a tone that suggested the window was often put through but if I did put it through it would just be mildly inconvenient “Pisses the landlord right off”
“I could knock the door”
“No bastard answers the door” he said
Kato and I continued on our way.
“You were well behaved then Kato, well done!” I said “Such a good girl”
“Lady” said Kato and shook her ears as if they were curls “He said Lady”
“Think he meant me” I said
“Oh, bit of a comedian then” said Kato
I thought about the man’s accent. I could hear the years of drinking in his voice, some words exaggerated slowly and some words left to drift but he sounded well spoken. I wondered who he was and how he got to be a man sat under a tree drinking Skol Super at 5pm weeping for his lost dog.
While Kato had a poo, I spotted something black on the grass in the distance. I really hoped it was Jake but it turned out to be a bin bag
“We’ve got a spare Border Collie he could have” said Kato