Up in the mountains, life is idyllic. A blanket of fresh snow graced the slopes, the blue-green pines just poking through, birds gliding idly across the bright blue skies…
And then, howling with laughter, tears streams down our faces, snow still clinging to scarves and hats from when we’d fallen of the piste (not for any remotely intentional reason) and toppled into the drifts, came Siany and I.
It was our third day of throwing ourselves down the mountain, strapped to skis for me, and a board for Siany, and it was fabulous! The laughter hadn’t stopped, and each new run bought new reasons for us to break down uncontrollably. One day, our little travel toys even made their way up the slopes with us…
Then, as I threw aside my skis and poles whilst recuperating at a cafe after a particularly unfortunate set of misjudgements of angle of slope + speed of decline, I was pounced on by a very pretty and very silly German Shepherd. She was tied to a big wooden totem pole that, within seconds of my having settled down in the snow for a well-deserved chance to nurse some bruises (and some pride!), was removed by two jolly German gentlemen on skis who then proceeded to, inexplicably, ski off down the hill with the pole, leaving me, bewildered, with my new charge. We wandered over to Siany, who had found a spot on a picnic bench, and sat down. After sometime of people coming up and asking to stroke our still unnamed pooch, we started to wonder who she actually belonged to, and why they’d not said anything to my appearing to have casually walked off with their quite dashing pedigree. Sending Siany and her French into the cafe, it soon transpired that, in fact, Mountain Dog belonged to noone. She was lost. Queue: animal rescue and Rolf Harris, mountain style.
Needless to say, Siany and I, without much hesitation and requiring really very little persuasion, agreed to take charge of Mountain Dog and head in some indiscriminate direction down and/or the mountain towards a train station/car park that may or may not exist. After skiing cross-country up- and downhill for several kilometres (and realising most of the way along one particularly treacherous path that we had in fact set off in completely the wrong direction, and so having to backtrack a fair distance), we found a sign to Barbelouse and, happily on track and grateful for our luck, continued our adventure through the Swiss Alps with our little Mountain Dog.
Before long, civilisation loomed in the form of a road appearing ( somewhat mysteriously) out of the snow, and after following it for half an hour we began to recognise our surroundings, albeit in a vague sort of way, stubbornly ignoring the fact that pretty Swiss chalets and snow-covered roads all look fairly similar. But, mostly unexpectedly, before long along trundled a tram, and off we went to the local Police Station where, we had been reliably informed, a microchip reader was at the ready to reunite man and dog.
Having navigated through the snow, across the pistes, up and down several hundred metres of altitude, and around the mountains of Villars, we were hesitant to just give up Mountain Dog with no idea of what would happen next, so, again, Siany and her French were deployed to recce the situation. Happily, the friendly policewoman told us with a smile that our Mountain Dog was quite the Houdini, that this was in fact the second time she’d been bought to the station, and that yes, they would make sure her owners were found. We bade farewell to dog, and set off back into the Swiss snow, awaiting the next set of unpredictable circumstances that undoubtedly this holiday would bring us!