Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

Man with three dogs

January 6th, 2007

THE DOYENNE, it was, who saw him first, lit up in the car headlights. A sad wee figure at the side of the verge obviously separated from his family and uncertain what to do about it. I went back with her to see if we could catch him and reunite him with his owners.

We caught up with him not much further down the road. He'd lost the wag in his tail and was heading just somewhere – more in desperation than hope. He stopped when the headlights caught him again. It looked as though it would be an easy job to put a lead on him and get him back to the house. But this was when the fun started.

I approached him slowly, making encouraging noises and telling him what a grand wee chap he was. I could get to about three or four paces from him when his confidence ran out and he trotted off down the road again.

Several failures meant a change of tactic, and we went home for Macbeth and Inka. I set off for where we last saw the runaway, but he'd taken to the undergrowth by now. My two intrepid trackers crashed noisily about as we criss-crossed the area in search of the fugitive. It took well-nigh half an hour to locate him, and he seemed none too pleased to meet our two and was showing them his teeth. I could hardly blame him, with Inka capering about like a wild-eyed fanatic.

Having our own dogs with me to distract him made it easier to get in close. He didn't mind a wee tickle behind the ears, and as I slipped the lead over his head it gave him the familiar sense of security he needed to readily follow me back to the house.

From the state of him, and the earthy smell which accompanied him indoors, I suspect he had been down a rabbit hole and got stuck for a while. He was very ready for a bowl of warmed milk and the rest of Macbeth's tin of meat.

He was clearly a well cared-for dog and we took him to the Police Station to be taken into custody by the police Dog Warden, who would try to locate the owners. And that, we thought, was that.

The following morning, driving away from the house, the anxious figure coming down the road prompted us to stop and ask if he was looking for a dog. Had we seen a Jack Russell? Hadn't we just!

Concern turned to delight. There had been tears at home since Titch had gone missing. But this changed everything and the new year was starting on a high note after all. We left him, mobile phone to ear, calling his wife and daughter to tell them the happy news.