One night recently, the dog disappeared around bedtime. We searched everywhere indoors and out in the garden with torches to throw light under beds or behind bushes. We made delicious food noises and clattered the walkies leads. No luck - the dog had vanished, Eventually we discovered dog sitting perfectly still "guarding" something in the furthest and leafiest corner next to the neighbour's fence. I knew that stance, We'd seen it before. Dog was hunting and had found prey. I struggled into the bushes with a short training lead whilst husband illuminated the way behind me with the torch. Just on the other side of the fence was a large hedgehog, safe behind the bars. I congratulated dog on his hunting brilliance and popped the lead over his head. I loitered long enough to admire this beautiful creature in the garden of my neighbour, whom I now envied as blessed.
But, the blessing has been busily exploring our garden too. And we have been meeting on a regular basis every time the dog disappears! Find the dog, and we find the hedgehog. The hedgehog is a large and handsome creature and dog knows simply to stand in front of it and it will roll up and stay put. Eventually we come out and tell him how wonderful he is at finding the hedgehog AGAIN and we all go inside and secure the cat flap in the kitchen door for the night.
It has become so routine that we've had to change our way of life. We are under no illusions that, given half a chance, our brilliant hunter will kill our hedgehog sooner than you can say "dogfood". So at dusk each night now there is dog curfew. No dog outside at night. And we comfort ourselves that somewhere out there, our garden has been blessed.