It’s a bright sunny morning when Gordon the Postman reaches Scampering Paws Animal Rescue. He is very much an animal lover so quite enjoys his daily visits. His wife lives in a state of near terror that one day he will actually arrive home with a sick tortoise or a lame cat that he was unable to resist. But so far, he has stayed strong in the face of not inconsiderable temptation!
Before opening the gate, he carefully checks to make sure there aren’t any loose animals that might get out. He then slides in, shutting the gate behind him.
“Morning Sylvia” he calls across to a lady currently lugging a huge bag of something across the yard. “Do you need a hand with that? It looks heavy.”
“Ooh, no. I’m fine. Thank you though.” She replies.
A bright flash of orange suddenly shoots across his vision.
“Woah! What was that?” He exclaims.
There followed a stream of largely unrepeatable words that made Gordon blush, but the general gist of the flow was that their latest rescue, a sighthound, had once again managed to get out of her kennel and was making a bolt for freedom. “We’ve called her Shawshank after the prison escape movie. I have never known a dog that so wants to run. And coupled with some excellent Houdini-like techniques she has properly tested our fences at least twice a day since she arrived. So far, she hasn’t made it out but we are doing an inch by inch check later because she does seem to be able to squeeze herself through the most tiny gaps.”
Sylvia was then seized with a panic “Oh no! Gordon the gate! Did you close the gate?”
“Of course” Gordon reassured her “I always close the gate. Ever since the Alpaca chased me back to the van I’m a bit wary.”
“Ah yes, Wendy. She was a feisty one. She’s living with 2 other Alpaca in a farm by the coast now.”
“You know you should really have some kind of double gate or air lock type thing just in case. I’m careful but I bet not everyone who delivers things is as careful as me.”
“You’re right of course. It’s just money isn’t it? We always spend donations on food and vets first and then if there is any left we might think about structural work.”
“I know. Can I at least help you catch Shawshank before she finds a gap? What does she like – toys, food?”
“Running. Honestly. She’s not much bothered by food, I’ve tried bribing her with everything from dog food and cheese to smoked salmon and steak. She’ll wear herself out eventually and need a drink and a snooze. We’ll get her back safe. I wonder how she got out of her kennel this time?”
The answer to this mystery was soon solved. As they walked up to the Kennel block they met Angie who was flapping about. “Over the top! She went over the top of the door, it’s 8 foot for goodness sake. What dog can jump that?” Apparently a very determined one that had dragged a bed over for a leg up. Gordon didn’t know whether to be impressed or slightly scared. “that is one seriously smart dog” he said.
As Gordon continued on his rounds he pondered. He wondered if Shawshank had been found and returned to her kennel. And he wondered if there was anything he could do to help. And then he had an idea.
Three days later he returned to Scampering Paws.
“Morning gang!” he called cheerfully as he carefully slid himself through the gate, closing it firmly after him. He cast his eye about for an orange streak of dog but saw nothing.
“did you get her back OK?” he asked.
“Yes. Eventually.” Sylvie walked over to him smiling. “She did about 10 very fast laps of the yard, put the fear of God into the chickens (but didn’t catch any, luckily) and then jumped on the stable roof and had a kip in the sun. We got her when she woke up and came down.”
“Wow. She is some dog!”
“She surely is. She’ll be a fair handful to take on though for her new owner. We’re just not sure she’ll ever learn to come back. But it’s early days. She has the nicest nature. We don’t give up!
Is that a parcel for us?”
“Yes.” Said Gordon. “Actually, it’s a gift.”
“A gift? How nice. What is it? Who’s it from?”
“Well, thinking about your gate predicament, I don’t know how much a double gate and fencing will cost. A lot I guess. But I did think that fewer people would have to use the gate (and potentially leave it open), if you had a postbox on the gate. And I know some people in the village that have rather nice ones – Letterbox4You they are. So, I mentioned your predicament to a few of my lovely animal-loving customers on my rounds and we had a bit of a collection. And we got you a letterbox for the gate.”
“Oh my God, that’s amazing! Thank you so much.”
“It’s nothing. Honestly. And I’ll come back after my rounds Saturday and install it for you.”
So as well at the rescue centre being a little bit more escape proof, Gordon also found himself a little further away from temptation not having to walk through the yard each day. However, this was rather locking the door after the horse had bolted. You see his wife decided to join him when he went to attach the letterbox and she rather fell in love with a speedy orange dog that on Saturday was on her best behaviour and dolling out cuddles and looking innocent. So, Shawshank now has a new home to try and escape from and Gordon has banned his wife from ever setting foot in Scampering Paws again.