Like Cats And Dogs – Episode 23

Tim was out of breath as he picked up the phone in the office. It had begun ringing as he was seeing Cally off, and he still didn’t have the mobility for anything more than a fast walk.

With every hurried step he’d expected the caller to ring off. And they had, just as he raised the receiver to his ear.

Tim thought with regret of how supremely fit he’d been in his Army days, and yet again he resolved to spend more time on the exercises he’d been prescribed.

“No-one will do it for you, Tim.” He could hear his physio’s voice in his head now.

The trouble was, what with getting the business going, and the time he was spending with Cally, there just weren’t enough hours in his day to fit in any more than his basic exercise programme.

But he would have to do something about it.

The red light on the answering machine stayed steady. The caller hadn’t left a message. But at least he could find out their number.

He scrolled though the call directory, and recognised the number as the rescue centre he’d got Annie from.

He dialled it.

“Hi, it’s Matthew Timmons. You were trying to reach me?”

He moved round to the other side of the desk and sank into the leather office chair as the voice spoke in his ear. It was the woman he’d dealt with in the first place, he was sure.

She confirmed it.

“Hello, Mr Timmons. It’s Christine Lockwood here. I thought I’d give you a quick call to see how Annie is settling in with you.”

“Great, thanks.” In her usual spot in the corner of the office, Annie herself peeked up at him. “I can’t imagine the place without her, but more importantly, she seems to feel right at home.”

“Right. Well, that’s . . . excellent.” He sensed something in her voice – a hesitation.

“Was there something else?” he asked.

“No. Well, this is a bit awkward, but the family who handed her in came to see me. Their circumstances have unexpectedly changed, they say, and if she hadn’t been happy in her new home . . .”

Tim held his breath. They couldn’t possibly expect to get Annie back, could they? As if drawn by instinct to him, he felt the Alsatian press herself against his leg.

“But, of course, since she has settled so well, there’s no question of disrupting her again. I’m sorry to have disturbed you, but . . . you understand that I had to check.”

“Of course,” he said. “No trouble at all.”

He cupped Annie’s big head in his hands and gazed into her amber eyes.

“I got a bit of a scare there, girl.”

He felt sorry for the family concerned, but at the same time, he wondered about them. If it was him, he would do everything possible to keep a dog like Annie, with giving her up for adoption being the very last resort.

It was hard for him to understand how their circumstances could have changed so completely from that desperate situation in only a few weeks.

“Sounds to me like they might have been a bit hasty, Annie. Which is a shame, but you’re here now, and here’s where you’re staying.”

The dog licked his hand, and returned to her favoured spot for her afternoon snooze. Drama over, she seemed to say.

Tim laughed and turned to tackle a growing pile of paperwork he’d been putting off.

Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.