The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Inca huntingWe have just spent a nervous 25 minutes searching the garden for Inca. She is 21 months old and still “our puppy”. We realised that we hadn’t seen her for a while. Danny was cutting up our leftovers to divide amongst the dogs. There was a large gap in the attentive canine audience. Inca, the ultimate foodie, had vanished.

We called into the darkness of the garden. She is obedient and always answers.


“She has escaped upstairs and is lying under our duvet.”
I went upstairs. The bed was empty.
Danny was still calling when I returned to the kitchen.
“Did you lift up the entire duvet?”

I was already reaching for a torch. The first port of call when searching for a lost dog is the pond. It’s reasonably big, approximately 28 feet long. Quito has fallen into it three times and, luckily, we have heard the splosh every time and pulled him out.

Inca is far more nimble but very short sighted. We are deep into the first rat poisoning foray, she could have spotted dying a rat by the pond and slipped in. Our pond is full of reeds and plants.

Danny examined it carefully whilst I rushed to the small newt pond, near the chicken run. This is a still pond and has caught many intrepid dogs as the surface is full of giant lily leaves and looks just like a large round border. When Dr Q was just six months old he nearly met his end there. By now, Inca had been missing for over an hour.

“Perhaps she has dug her way out of the garden and finally escaped?”
200 yards away, an old car’s brakes momentarily screeched as it took the sharp bend on the road in front of the house a bit too fast.

The lost dog situation is rare and the unspoken rule seems to be: never mention the worst. As we walked up the garden, Danny suggested the barn.
“I know that I went in there just before I fed the dogs, to fetch the frozen peas. But let’s just check.”

Inca loves to join us on any foray into the garden. In daylight all Min Pins make up a posse. After dark, It’s just Inca rushing ahead and dallying until we catch up. Companionable and reassuring.

There was a slight resistance when I opened the barn door.

Inca shot out, like a fat black comma. Perhaps she had been sampling the sloe gin. The other dogs would bark if they were locked in but Inca suffers in silence.

The relief was immense.

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  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Jane,

    Dylan is a lucky dog! So glad that he was OK.

    We had a dog that used to dig out of the garden and wander for hours, he also would run away on walks. Returning hours later to where the car was parked. It drove me cuckoo.

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