The snow had been falling all night and had covered the Paddington canal footpath up to six inches deep in some places. Christmas was in two days time and I was on my way to get a gift for my grandmother. I had taken this route to get to the high street because part of the main road that I would normally have taken had been blocked by a traffic accident. Two cars and a tanker lorry had come to grief on the icy surface.
When I reached the part that bordered a shale coal depot, I kicked something lying partly covered by the snow. It appeared to be a bag of some sort. I bent down and moved the snow away from it carefully as I was wary of it maybe containing hypodermic needles used by druggies. They used the canal footpath under the bridges all along this stretch of the canal. It was a blue carrier bag and after giving it a few kicks something fell out. It was a dog’s collar. There was still something else in the bag this turned out to be a dogs lead. As I stood holding the items, and examining them Josey, a school friend, came up to me. She had chosen this route also to go to town.
‘What have you got there Sally?’ she said.
‘It’s a dog’s collar and lead, they were in this old carrier bag.’ I said, showing them to her. ‘I don’t know how they got here.’ I had a horrible feeling that maybe someone had thrown the poor animal in the canal. You always get that thing going on around here especially Christmas time.
‘Has it got a name on it?’ asked Josey.
I looked carefully, after rubbing the ice of the metal tag of the collar; ‘It says Rusty. Do you know a dog called Rusty?’ I asked.
‘My sisters got a large dog called Rusty. It could be hers.’ said Josey.
After Josey and me had been to town and bought our presents we called in on Josey’s older sister Laura to show her the collar and lead.
‘Yes that was my dogs lead and collar. I gave Rusty to a dog’s home. He was a small fluffy ball of fur when I bought him as puppy. The seller had told me he wouldn’t grow very big, but he was wrong, he grew quite big. I thought it unfair to the dog to keep him in this small flat. I was ever so upset afterwards though because he was such a lovely good tempered animal.’ said Laura.
‘Well the person who took Rusty from the dogs home must have got fed up with him and disposed of Rusty otherwise why would his collar and lead be on the canal footpath?’ I said
Suddenly there was a scratching sound at the front door and Laura went to answer it. Standing there was Rusty with his tongue hanging out, and his fur soaking wet, looking up at her with his large soft eyes. Laura looked at him and burst into tears, and hugged him tight.
‘It seems like your sisters got the present she wanted for Christmas, Jose.’ I said.