Yesterday, I went into town for lunch with some friends and asked them to drop me off afterwards in my old neighborhood to do some long overdue visiting. My friend, Sam, had just returned from a month of seeing his family in Switzerland. I wanted to welcome him home, as well as see my friend Mesfin, who recently completed some updates on his house. Unfortunately, I caught Sam just as he was having to leave for a dental appointment to repair a newly broken tooth. We chatted briefly before he had to go, so I hung around afterwards and visited his dogs and Tag. Then I went across the road to see my friend, Mesfin. When it came time for me to leave, Mesfin asked if I wanted to go out on the road or the beach, and I told him the beach would probably be better, so the dogs wouldn’t follow me (as they are prone to want to do). But as I headed out the familiar path, Mesfin called out to me and pointed out that Tag and one of Sam’s dogs, Bobby, were running through the property next door to get to me on the beach.
I began the long (approximately 45 minute) walk home, figuring they would drop off and go back at some point. All along the way they chased birds, crabs, an ATV and each other. We ran into my friend, Terry, and they met him. It was quite the doggie excursion! They followed me all the way to my house and saw my digs. After the long trek, I figured they needed some water (and a few cookies). Then I walked them back to the beach and told them to be on their way. But it didn’t work – they followed me right back to my house! So Charcoal and I holed ourselves up inside, hoping they’d get the message (and hungry for dinner) and head home. At one point, I looked out and thought they were gone, but a few mintues later, there they were again! Several hours later, there was no sign of Bobby, but Tag was still laying on my porch. Just before going to bed, I looked one more time and didn’t see him, so I thought he’d finally left. But early this morning, I heard shuffling in the rocks in my yard and discovered Tag had spent the night! Once he could hear me rustling around inside, he began whining at the door.
It was a work day for me, so I had no time to waste. I threw on some clothes and headed out the door. As soon as Tag saw me, he jumped for joy – “Oh boy, we’re going for a morning beach walk just like we used to!” He took off in the direction of his home and stayed well ahead of me most of the time, but continued to stop and look back to make sure I was following. I realized my timing was close to being able to catch the bus home, so I cut up the path to the road by my former (second) rental and told Tag to head home. He would start that way, but as soon as he saw me going the other way, he followed at a distance. When I would turn to tell him to go home, he’d hang his head and take a few steps that way, but when I turned my back, he’d start following again.
I arrived at the traffic circle, where I used to catch the bus, and waited. Tag came into the circle as well and stood at a distance. I kept telling him to go home, but he’d just look at me sheepishly. Finally, the bus came. I flagged it down and as I ran to get on, Tag ran after me! The driver and the bus attendant were very concerned about this dog who ran after me and was now longingly staring at them inside the open door. I tried to tell them that the dog belonged to my friend who lived nearby. Reluctantly, they closed the door and went on. When they let me off at my property, they again asked me about “el perro” and I tried to assure them he would be fine.
A little while later, Sam called to let me know Tag had returned home (I texted him last night to tell him the situation). When I told him Tag had stayed all night at my house and about our morning excursion, he just laughed and said, “He really likes you!”
Tag really does live up to his name – from now on I will have to make certain I’m not being followed when I leave from visiting my old neighborhood!
(By the way, in case you are worried about what he had for dinner, I found a half eaten fish in my yard later in the day. Apparently the time I thought he’d left, he’d just stepped out to catch a bite to eat!)