Like Cats And Dogs – Episode 32


“Great.” Tim leaned forward and shook their hands. “Any news? Come on in and have a seat – or we can sit out here if you want.”

He indicated the garden bench to the side of the door. The morning sun had just reached it. The men glanced at each other and nodded, taking off their jackets and loosening their ties.

“We’ve been stuck in the office all morning,” the senior man said as they sat down. “It’s good to get some fresh air. Nice spot you have here.”

He reached into his jacket pocket and produced a notebook.

“So, we know who your raider was,” he said, getting down to business. “You recently acquired a dog from the Northbank Rescue Centre?”

Tim nodded, pulling forward an old garden chair and sinking into it, facing them.

“Annie.” He pointed as Annie herself came nosing out of the door and settled at his feet. “I received a call from the manager shortly afterwards saying the family who had handed her in wanted her back as their circumstances had changed. I declined. Is there a connection?”

Both detectives nodded. It was the sergeant who spoke again.

“The family has a young lad – fourteen. He took it hard when they gave the dog away. Seems it was mainly because of him that they tried to get her back.”

“I see.” Tim felt a pang of conscience.

Sergeant Wilson held up his hand.

“Before you start feeling too sorry for him, the lad’s been in and out of trouble for years. His parents are at their wits’ end. The boy basically held them to ransom: get my dog back or else. Even though they can hardly afford to feed themselves, let alone an animal.”

Tim reached down and stroked Annie’s ears. At least she had never been neglected or ill-treated. The family had plainly done their best for as long as they could.

“So then he decided to take matters into his own hands,” Wilson explained.

“He decided to take her back,” Tim said, filling in the gaps.

The constable spoke for the first time.

“We’re not sure yet how he knew where she was. The rescue centre assures us that all of their records are confidential.”

Tim shrugged and swept his arm around the yard, the pens and sheds beyond.

“I’ve had a lot of publicity with opening this place. And Annie goes most places with me. Word gets around.”

“He couldn’t find her that night, so decided to make life difficult for you by letting out the other dogs. It was a spiteful, childish act,” Butler explained.

“The question now is,” Wilson broke in, “whether or not you want to go ahead and press charges.”

All three men sat back, allowing Tim time to think things over.

****

Tim could picture the boy: young, bored, restless, too much energy and nothing to focus it on. It was the type of young man he had come across so often in the Army. He had been like that himself once, though thankfully he had never got himself into trouble. For him the military had been a perfect fit; he had relished the discipline, the routine, the responsibility.

“If I did press charges, what would happen to him?” he asked.

“He enters the system,” Wilson stated gloomily. “Youth court, maybe even a custodial sentence with his previous history.”

Tim thought about the men he had served with, the injuries they’d suffered and the efforts that had gone into rehabilitating them. He thought about the dogs he was taking into his care here, and the second chance he was giving those with the greatest problems.

“Everyone deserves a second chance,” he muttered.

“What was that?” DS Wilson looked at him.

“I said everyone deserves a second chance. I know that better than anyone.” His meaning was clear as he rapped his knuckles on the metal of his walking stick.

“I want to meet the lad. I want him to come here. He loves dogs, and a boy who trained Annie the way he did can’t be all bad. I want to get him working here to see if I can make something of him.”

The officers exchanged a glance.

“You sure?”

Tim nodded emphatically.

“I’m sure. Arrange for me to meet him and his parents, will you?”

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 aspiring tip to new writers is to “write from your imagination”.