On Easter Sunday my wife Helen and I decided it would be a nice idea to go for a walk around nearby Lesnes Abbey, a now ruined former Abbey in the London Borough of Bexley. Lesnes Abbey was actually one of the first monasteries to be closed under the Dissolution of the Monasteries Act by Henry 8th.
It’s a beautiful place just to spend some time wandering around the ruins and imagining what the Abbey, which is thought to have been built by Richard de Luci – possibly in penance for the murder of Thomas Becket, in which he was believed to have been involved – must have looked like in its pomp. We didn’t realise it when we parked our car and walked into the grounds but we were about to witness a real life, ‘short story’ unfold.
As you would expect, the area is popular with dog owners taking their ‘faithful friends’ for walks around the grounds and in the daffodil-cloaked woods the ruined monastry is set in. There’s a small Cafe and outside seating area at Lesnes Abbey which is clearly a popular meeting place for all the dog owners and on Easter Sunday while Helen and I sat enjoying our Americanos, several dog owners arrived with an array of different breeds of ‘man’s best friend’. There must have been at least 8 dogs of varying shapes and sizes ( as you can tell I am not a canine expert!), there was even a Policeman and his Police dog.
It was at this point a young couple walking in the grounds called across to all of us outside the Cafe to ask if anyone had lost a puppy, and then right on cue, the puppy in question came bounding over to excitedly greet all of the other dogs. The young woman explained to all the dog owners, who by now were all making a fuss of the admittedly adorable newcomer, that they had literally found the puppy in the grounds – or rather the puppy had found them – and there being no obvious sign of its owner, they headed over to the Cafe area to see if it belonged to anyone.
Helen and I, not being dog owners, both sat there hoping that the lovely little puppy’s owner was amongst our fellow Cafe ‘residents’ but sadly that wasn’t the case. One of the ladies who the puppy seemed perfectly happy and content to be cuddled by, told the young couple that they could leave it with her and if the owner couldn’t be found she would take it home with her and her other two dogs and call the PDSA. The young couple thanked her and then walked away to continue their Easter Sunday stroll in the park.
Helen and I were sad that the puppy’s owners couldn’t be found but we were both impressed by the kindness of the young couple who had taken responsibility for the little canine orphan and of the lady who agreed to look after it. We then finished our coffee and started to continue our walk around the park and back to our car.
Just then another young couple arrived at the Cafe and asked the massed dog owners if they had found a puppy as they had not long before been asked by a distraught couple whether they had ‘seen a puppy’ as they had lost theirs. The distressed owners had given their telephone number to the couple at the couple’s behest ‘in case they saw the puppy on their walk’ and on being told that it was safe and sound the young man duly called the number to give the owners the good news.
At this point a woman ran past Helen and I, followed by her partner and excitedly collected the puppy from the kind-hearted lady who had volunteered to take it home and to call the PDSA. The owners were clearly relieved and profusely thanked the gathered dog owners and the couple who took their number.
So in the space of 15 minutes Helen and I were onlookers as a real life heart-warming story unfolded of how an adorable puppy was lost by its owners, found by a young couple, adopted briefly by a kind lady and re-united with its owners via the initiative of another young couple.
As we walked back to our car we both looked around the site of the Abbey to see if we could see the original young couple who had made it their responsibility to try and find the puppy’s owners, as we felt that they would like to know that the little dog and its owners had been re-united as this would have truly given a start, a middle and an end to this little story but ,unfortunately, they had clearly already left the area.
So if by the power of social media, it happens to be you reading this who originally found that helpless little puppy at Lesnes Abbey on Easter Sunday, you should know that your actions made a little dog and quite a few people very, very happy.