They were mums opening words as I answered the phone to her. My heart always sinks slightly when my phone flashes up an ‘Unknown’ number. Partly because when that shows, you’re never quite sure who will be on the end of the line, and partly because I know it will probably be my mum, who only ever calls me if she has a problem, is upset about something, or is bored and wants to chew my ear off about nothing in particular. Many a time she has called me to ask me what’s new, to which I reply something along the lines of ‘nothing new since I saw you 12 hours ago’.
"I’ve lost the dog!" Her voice was breaking and the upset was clear. Although far from crying, she was certainly aggrieved, but in my mind that sentence reveals that the dog is dead.
"What do you mean, you’ve lost the dog?!". She’d only had the dog for a little over a week. She asked me not to have a go at her and explained that she couldn’t find the dog and that she believed it had escaped through a small hole in the fence in the garden.
The dog was the runt of the litter, and when we picked it up it was definitely half the size of its siblings. I can understand that she would be able to squeeze through small gaps.
"If she’s gotten out" mum continued, "then that fence will take her out towards a busy road…" She trailed off, not daring to say what she feared.