by Tim Barnsley
Bertie, a handsome 10-month old mongrel (see below – guess which is which) was so impressed by his first golf experience at Mas Pages, that he settled in for a four-day break.
In other words, after the opening tee-shots on the 10th one Thursday morning, he bolted into the woods and was not spotted again in the ensuing five hours of searching.
There is a bit more to the story: he had experienced a bowel movement on the fairway and his embarrassed master (aka carer) decided to attach him quickly to the golf bag while he cleaned up. The leash fitted nicely over the head of the driver as I, for it was indeed I, turned to fill one of my plastic bags designed for the purpose.
At this stage, Bertie elected to seek freedom, pulling the trolley, bag and clubs to the ground with an ear-rending clatter. Disenchanted, and somewhat in the manner of Gerald Hoffnung’s Bricklayer at the Oxford Union, he may at this stage have lost his presence of mind. He interpreted the noise of the clubs striking the ground as a sign of divine disapproval. His suspicions aroused, he covered the 200 yards from the 11th tee to the woods beyond the clubhouse in a time which Husain Bolt (good name!) might have struggled to emulate.
His speed was doubtless enhanced by the fact that my driver remained in close attendance, offering an intermittent but very intimate nudge to his hindquarters to remind him of the need for even greater speed.
So, he was lost and, even though we returned and searched daily, he remained lost through Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Fortunately,
Ana, the charming chatelaine of Mas Pages, managed to keep our spirits up by phoning neighbours, police, and dog rescue homes as well as spreading the word on Facebook (for those marooned like me in the last century, this is what is called a digital social media platform).
Finally, at 23h00 on Sunday night Ana called to say that Bertie had been found. He had approached a doctor’s house one km away and had demanded food. We assume that he used his initiative and framed his demand in French as well as in Spanish and in Catalan. For the avoidance of doubt he also barked.
Bright and early the following morning we drove from Ceret to Mas Pages and were reunited.
There are very few lessons to be gleaned from the events depicted above but I do implore you not to lose a dog unless you do so deliberately at Mas Pages where Ana’s love of dogs and horses and generosity of spirit will give you a better than even chance of recovering the pooch.
Thank you, Ana.