We're not known as dog-lovers, MrNifty and myself, but recently we've had a couple of close encounters!
Shaggy dog tale one:
On Monday in Herne Bay we were walking along the shore between house-viewings when we spotted someone/something swimming quite a way out, heading firmly diagonally away from the beach. As we got nearer we realised it was a dog, and a couple of young boys were calling to it. We didn't want to get involved - talking to kids who aren't your own isn't exactly popular these days.
We watched for a few minutes, then an old chap came along on a mobility scooter. He said the dog had been out there for half an hour or more. We asked the kids if they'd like us to ring the coastguard, or their parents, but they said the dog always comes back.
We walked on, turning back to look every now and then. Suddenly we heard the old man shouting at the kids that it was up to them, they had to go in the water to save the dog, it wouldn't last much longer - were they CHICKENS?
So we phoned the coastguards who said on no account let the children enter the water and that they'd be along.
We walked back, told them what we'd done - and then another family came along. In moments the father had stripped off and plunged into the water and swam out towards the dog...at which point his wife told us he was epileptic...
Fortunately it all ended happily, he caught up with the dog and turned it ashore, and then the coastguard arrived - but how badly could it have gone wrong?
The coastguard told us always always phone and report any similar situation - so I pass it on to you. In the UK dial 999 and ask for coastguard - let them decide what is necessary. They told us they've never lost a dog at sea yet, but they've lost several people who have attempted and failed to rescue dogs.
Shaggy dog tale two was the very next day! We'd gone out walking locally, and almost immediately a dog started following us. It had a collar, but no contact details. Our planed route was through farm fields with sheep, so we tried to make it stay away. Someone in a garden said "Oh he's a nomad, he'll probably follow you, he's always out on his own"...and sure enough he did follow us, through several fields and finally on to a road which was supposed to take us home!
Fortunately, as we live in a farming area we soon found a piece of farming twine and made a lead, led the daft dog back to where we'd found it and this time we were able to give it the slip.