I wouldn't mind - well, I would - but I was watching him.
He had gone behind some bushes. 'That's okay; he can't get out there. I can go and get a tissue.' I return 10 seconds later and he's gone. There's no sign of him so I fetch his lead and walk down the street calling, 'George!'
I spend 25 minutes doing this. There is absolutely no sign of him. I am beginning to get anxious. He has a tag on with our phone number and I'm sure if someone finds him they'll call us. But what if he's been dognapped? He's a very good-looking dog. He could fetch a good price from someone who doesn't know him.
I get in Betty and begin to drive around our most frequently used routes. I am praying hard now. He's not in the adventure playground. I go back on myself and try the other entrance to the woods. I park and ask a workman if he's seen a retriever. No, he hasn't. I hurry into the field only to be called back by the workman, 'He's up here!'
I rush back and leap into the car. The workman says he's gone down the drive by the top lamp-post. As I drive up George and a little friend appear out of a garden. The friend is a female bull terrier. I stop the car, open the door and call George. He looks surprised. His friend leaps into the car; George stays on the pavement. George gets into the car; his friend gets out. George gets out.
Meanwhile I am desperately trying to grab anything I can get hold of. George and his friend run around on the pavement and then start again. She jumps in, he jumps in. I close the door and wonder if I would get in trouble for dog-napping if I take the other dog home with me. Just as a temporary measure you understand.
I decide that driving even a short distance with 2 dogs jumping around in the back of a Beetle probably isn't a wise choice. I open the door a little and let George's friend out while keeping a firm grip on George's collar. I jump in the car, shut the door and breathe a sigh of relief. George's friend sits on the pavement and looks at us sadly. George sticks his nose out of the window. I close the window just in case. I open the quarter-light and say sorry then drive home.
Judging by the effort George puts in to try and get out of the gate before I can close it after us I wonder if the bitch is on heat. But he's not supposed to be affected by that, is he?