We seem, in the immortal words of Obi-Wan Kenobi to have, yet again, collected 'another pathetic life form'. In almost exactly the same spot where I picked up Lizzie, I saw an emaciated golden canine puppy-form staggering along the tarmac under the sun. Alex and Sophia were with me.
'Why are you slowing down?'
'He's not going to last out there...'
So I turned around at the dam – where we found the injured horse, remember – and drove back to little Sputnik.
I put my flashers on to warn other traffic, but my heart was in my mouth to be stopped in the middle of the road – the more so when Sophia got out to collect the puppy, and he, seeking shade, dived under the car. He was too afraid to come to her, terrified to let her approach; but I had to pull off the road and managed to not run him over. Too weak to flee, he peed all over Sophia when she managed to catch him.
'Little Sputnik,' she crooned when he was safely inside.
So we took him home and gave him some water and a little food. He's curled up now, by the back door, pencil of a tail fluttering when someone approaches, and little murmers of excitement and pleasure that he is too weak to fully express.
What to do? I have no time in these manic last weeks to walk Lucky, let alone take on another dog, and Best Beloved will roll his eyes to see him. 'If the cat objects,' Sophia announced. 'He'll have to go!' and although I can hardly see Stumpy protesting with a banner, a puppy is a definite blight on a crippled cat's patch.
In the mean time, he's staying – skin and bone, floppy ears, eyes bright with hope and all. Let's see what tomorrow brings.