I was standing at the bus stop. Two middle aged dogs walked past me side by side, quiet and purposeful, female Jack Russell terriers, no collars, no jackets, no lead. A couple of nice old girls.
They stopped three feet away, sat down and looked down the street in the direction that the bus would come from. The young fellow, who owns them, Tim, a joiner on his way to work, followed shortly.
We began a dog-centred conversation from which it emerged they were sisters from the same litter. Remarkably, for such a well-behaved pair, I learned that neither had ever worn a collar. Tim was taking them to grandma’s (his mother’s) for the day, as he did every day, while he went to work. They love it there, he told me.
I liked the man, about thirty and in his working clothes, stout boots, knapsack and with a saw strapped across his back, he made me think of a mediaeval journeyman.
The dogs were a canny pair. Every now and then they would lean forward, from a sitting place carefully selected for the purpose, and peep round the corner of the bus shelter to see if the bus was coming.
When it did they continued to sit while Tim got on. While he paid the driver they went off into the bus and looked in every seat and walked past until they found an unoccupied double seat at which point they jumped on it. Tim followed.
Amazing and lovable but that’s not all. The Barton bus has buzzers for passengers to tell the driver they want the next stop. Bet you thought I was going to tell you that they pressed the buzzer. No, but long before any passenger pressed the buzzer, the sisters got up and sat by the door., swaying together with the momentum of the bus.
On alighting they stood on the pavement, looked up at Tim and waited for him to get off.
I smiled all day.