The Dog Pool

Zac followed my partner along the footpath near our home, one afternoon when Mark was walking towards the gym; these gym sessions were daily events and sacrosanct at the time.

This day, instead of continuing on his route, he bent down, picked the skinny runt up in his arms and proceeded to knock on dozens of doors up and down the hills, asking: “Does anyone know this dog?” No-one answered in the affirmative. We rang several vets in the area, looked out for ads and put up notices; nothing. Two weeks later and our daughter had fallen madly in love with the little mutt, and we had finally settled on ‘Zac’ for a name. It started to look as if he was ours to keep. Like many adoptive parents, we dreaded, during the days that followed, the knock on the door, or the phone call that might announce the arrival of the ‘natural’ parent or parents of this undernourished, but otherwise perfect, little fellow. Luckily that never happened, and he fitted into our household like another family member.

Our two adult children have now moved out, and he has become “an only child”, the object of our undivided attention. He receives innumerable compliments during walks around the streets, and when people ask his breed, Mark is in the habit of saying: “He’s a long-snouted Himalayan Snow Terrier” and gives his pedigree name as “Marmaduke Zachariah the Second”. What started out as a

joke, has, to my dismay, fooled many a stranger, and even some of our friends. I fear that my partner may have started to believe in the story himself.

When you think about it, dogs are as varied in looks and temperament as humans. Although he has no concept of recreational swimming, our boy is gifted at fetching a ball in the water and bringing it back in his mouth. More than that, he can sniff out a hidden tennis ball under rocks and dig it out with his front paws. The other day, down at the dog pools, on the rocks by the sea, he found, during a ten-minute period, not one, not two, but three tennis balls stuck firmly under rocks, by way of his supranatural sense of smell and short little front legs.

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