The sun shone through the clouds and all was well with the world as I wended my way down to the Franco-Monegasque border crossing at the foot of Beausoleil for the usual purchase of two baguettes.
Then, suddenly, the dog fell. Or rather, couldn’t walk anymore and partly collapsed as he had lost the use of one of his legs, the rear offside.
As my wife had warned me on my return from the UK last week that on a previous routine 250-euro visit to the vet she had been told that an ultrasound test was needed, I picked up the chihuahua-papillon cross, now 5.5 kilograms without his lead, and ran to the vets a mere 200 metres away. Or hobbled, as I too have a bad leg, in this case the rear nearside.
Perhaps it was a stroke that disabled his leg, I mused, worriedly. Anyway, I was taking no chances since Kaspar is far and away the most popular male in our family. How could I drag him home if he’d had a heart attack? My wife would be distraught beyond words.
I know they have CCTV cameras in the waiting room, so I sat down and… waited. After 20 minutes or so the outer door opened and a young lady manoeuvred a pushchair and a ginger spaniel through the gap. I thought about leaping to my feet to offer my help, indeed it was my first reaction, but Kaspar was shivering violently and had buried his head in my sleeve and could not be moved.
So I overcame my chivalry and sat where I was.
Then my wife arrived, ascertained that Kaspar was not going to die within minutes and recognising the young lady opposite said ‘Hello, how are you!!’ Leaving the door open.
Seizing his chance to flee, Kaspar twitched his way off my knees, threw himself on the ground, and headed for the gap, limping but mobile. I moved after him. He made it onto the street and headed down towards La Vie Claire. “I’ll go after him,” I said unnecessarily to the two old pals, and hobbled after the dog.
Fortunately the poor puppy was more disabled than I was and I caught him before the Portuguese cafe and its obstacle of chairs and Ports taking a break.
As I picked him up and headed back uphill, from the still-open door of the vets I heard peals of girlish laughter.
The views expressed by Jeff Daniels do not necessarily represent those of the publishers