Today Penny and I drove to Blackburn to walk at Gardiner's Creek. As we travelled along busy Elgar Road, to my dismay I saw a puppy running alongside the traffic, trailing its lead. I couldn't leave it, obviously lost and frightened as it was, so I parked in a side street - which, fortuitously turned out to be a dead-end court - and left Penny in the car while I followed the dog.
It was panicky and wouldn't let me close, but I stayed between it and the busy road, and eventually herded it into the yard of a house at the top of the street. Calling out to let the homeowner know I was on the property, I followed it. A lady came out and we realised it was in a corner of the yard with no way out except past me. The poor creature allowed me to come close enough to grab the lead.
The lady told me she'd seen the dog around a couple of days previously. Thinking that it might be local, I called in at a nearby vet and told them I had a lost dog in my car. (Amazingly, Penny, who can be quite unfriendly when I arrive with lost dogs, sat quietly and ignored it.)
The lovely staff on the desk at the clinic took the dog in and set about checking for a microchip. Yes, there was one. But no, the owner hadn't registered an address. I had no option but to leave the puppy in their obviously kind hands and leave.
But as I walked with Penny I worried that the dog might end up in a shelter and be killed, as so many are.
So I headed back to check whether it was possible for the puppy to go to an organisation like 'Rescued With Love', where it doesn't have to suffer the trauma of a shelter.
And, what do you know! They had managed to contact the owner - and he was overjoyed. Because... the puppy had been lost since last Sunday, and they lived in Mordialloc, twenty-two kilometres away!
It seems they had come to Box Hill to look at the model railway, the puppy ran off, and they had searched in vain for days.
The poor hungry, filthy dog (its ribs were showing through) was already having a little meal, a warm bath and lots of love.
But I think the best moment would be when its own special human walked through the door.