The litter dog

It was meant to be our farewell run. Rachel, my running buddy and yogi queen from Essaouira, was off to start a new life in Portugal the next day and we’d arranged to meet at 8.30 as usual on the beach to knock out a few kilometres on the sand and reminisce about adventures shared, but  I arrived feeling under par. After months of non-stop moving, my body was telling me in no uncertain terms it was time for a rest and a recalibration, so we walked instead.

The sun was still in its soft silver early morning stages and the sea was calm with just a murmur of waves breaking on the beach – empty and stretching for miles ahead of us with the sand crisp and hard underfoot. A few solitary souls and couples were out but the summer crowds had not yet descended.

A golden scruffy-haired dog bounced up to us and cowered waiting to see if we were friend or foe. When he realised we were friends, his eyes lit up and he danced in and out of our legs, bringing his long slim head up to hand level to get scratched behind his ears. There are always stray dogs ready to share a walk on the beach and to enjoy the company of humans.

Rachel had brought an empty bag with her and we started gathering up some of the litter strewn across the sands. Empty plastic bottles were there, one for every metre or two metres of walking. Plastic is one of the curses of our age. A Moroccan couple watched us and then started to do the same, and we felt happy that now there were four of us waging war against these indestructible warriors that the armies of people who enjoy the beach had left behind.  Soon, our bag was full, but luckily the next piece of litter was a big blue woven sack, ready to be filled once we had emptied the sand out.

All the while our friend the dog was weaving and watching us intently. His quick eyes following what we did.

Then, something amazing happened. He went across to an empty carton, picked it up in his mouth and trotted back to us, dropping it at our feet so we could add it to the sack.

“Good boy, good boy. Who’s a clever dog,” we cooed. Me in English and Rachel in Dutch. Our lovely boy contorted his body into a figure of eight as he squirmed in delight. He knew that he had been clever and had made his temporary humans very happy. His eyes shone up at us and I wished so hard I could take him with me.

Our very own, and very special, litter dog.

If you enjoyed the story, there are lots more in my latests book, My 1001 Nights – tales and adventures from Morocco.

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