So a dog followed my younger brother home from school this afternoon. Not an unusual occurence - it happens every now and again and used to happen when I was at school. Normally they spend the afternoon out on the deck until they wander off or the number on their tag gets given a ring. Problem Number One: This dog has no tags on her collar.

My older brother and gf have also come up for a family event this weekend. Problem Number Two: Unused to there being a puppy in the house, he left the side gate open when he arrived.

I have a lateish lecture on Thursdays and gave James a bone outside (downstairs, below the deck) as soon as I got home as it was already quite past his dinnertime. Then popped upstairs to say hello and stuck my head out to check that this girl really had no tags on her.

Sat down to eat and a couple of minutes later, hear a bark from James followed by a squeal or two. Bolt downstairs to find the stray had left the deck and gone down. James was gone - then I note the side gate open. Freaking out at this point. Call his name in case he's just burrowed in the garden somewhere and a black lump comes racing back towards me through the gate from the front yard. Thank god the little guy is so damn attached!!

I feel so, so awful. I'd completely neglected to even think about the other dog coming down - she's so docile it didn't occur that she'd move off the deck. And, ironically, James has no ID tag (other than his council tag) on at the moment either! I had literally, only two minutes before, been mentioning that we should pick up a new one tomorrow as his original fell off earlier in the week. So incredibly relieved he came back instead of bolting.

He seems fine, despite the squeals. Was off his bone until I gave it to him straight from my hand - I assume the squabble was over the bone as he loves other dogs and she was fine with him looking at her through the sliding door all arvo. Just kicking myself that he's now had a bad experience with a dog though. And feel on the verge of tears any second (and I'm not at all the crying sort), the poor bugger had me so worried.

Anyway, James is in bed after I sat with him and had him finish his dinner and I'm stuck on hold with the RSPCA trying to find an owner for this dog who is now back on the deck, fast asleep. Lovely as she is, I don't want her here now, let alone come morning.

Phew, sorry for the enormous post. Just have very, very frayed nerves right now.