Our Woodie's great disappearing act
Name: Woodie. Finest hour: Being given a 70-mile lift home
Reading the story of Rory the dog (Sunday Independent, July 8) brought back memories of our dog, Woodie the Schnauzer, and his sudden disappearance one Sunday afternoon.
In Salthill, on our holidays, we were staying in the home of a family member beside Newcastle Road. After lunch we sat down to consider where we would go for the afternoon; Silver Strand, Spiddal, maybe further?
"Get Woodie and put him in the back of the car," I said. In Boyle, my hometown, everyone knew Woodie; the garda on street duty, the curate on the altar, the kids playing football in the local park, the ducks that lined the lakeshore at Lough Key Forest Park, all creatures great and small.
"Dad, I can't find Woodie anywhere," came the reply. We set out searching for Woodie all around Newcastle Road, Corrib Park and further.
Children on bikes helped in the search but to no avail. Woodie was gone, missing on the fringes of a large populated area. The tortuous hours that followed remain a memory to this day. Tears were shed, but hope lingered that he might still be found.
Then something extraordinary happened. The phone rang and a man introduced himself as the Sergeant in Boyle Garda Station, a man I knew well. "Are you missing anybody, Christy?" he asked. After a few puzzling exchanges, he broke the good news. "Woodie has handed himself in and is sitting here on a cushion in the day room," he said.
God, could this be true? Am I hearing things correctly? It transpired that Woodie had wandered across Newcastle Road and, having heard the sound of barking, ended up in the garden of a couple with dogs of their own. Luckily, he had his identification tag around his neck containing name, address and phone number. The couple phoned but got no reply. The owner was away on holiday!
Their next move was somewhat dramatic. Jumping into their car, they drove 70 miles to drop Woodie back to his home in Boyle. Having left him in safe hands at the local Garda Station, they departed leaving only the most scant of details of who they were. They had reaped sufficient reward by returning Woodie to his home. To complete the story, the sergeant contacted a member of the family, who gave him our phone number in Galway.
Woodie remained part of our life for seven more years till he succumbed to diabetes and kidney failure at the age of 10. His ashes rest in a small brown casket on a mantelpiece in our sitting room with the name 'Woodie' simply written in letters of gold.
Christy Wynne, Boyle, Co Roscommon
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