20 FEBRUARY 1953, Page 20

The Lost Dog

Long before the dog reached me I could see he was lost. He was a young dog, half a collie, half something else, and he stood little higher than a good-sized fox. I was reminded of a fox more than anything else. He was lean; his tail hung; his muzzle was sharp; his eyes were bright. We looked at each other, and, although he was as wet and muddy as a wintering bullock, I could not help liking him. I spoke to him. It was a mistake. He took to me like a brother, turned and ran in front, returning every few minutes to circle and shake his mud and wetness over my shoes. As I walked on the dog explored the hedge, and sniffed at every gate and turning, and I began to pray that he would set off for one of the farms or claim a cottage as his home; but no, he came back and wagged his whole body with delight that we had found each other. He grinned, too, as some dogs do. It was a miserable afternoon. The policeman was probably tucked away in some inaccessible spot. I shirked my duty, and confess, with shame, that I dodged the lost dog while he was running to meet a woman he may have mistaken for his mistress.