First of all let me put the record straight. Hada isn’t really a very naughty dog, she simply likes a bit of an adventure every now and then.
But when she teamed up with us (uninvited) whilst we were checking out a potential new walking route on Gran Canaria for Inntravel, she almost bit off a wee bit more than she could chew.
It was all my fault. If I hadn’t forgotten to leave the room key with Fermín, owner of the stylish PosHada el Búho Rural Hotel near Fontanales, I wouldn’t have had to trudge a kilometre back to the hotel where Fermín, and he has to take some blame here, planted a seed in Hada’s head by saying, in earshot of said dog, “Didn’t she follow you?”
Hada, apparently, has a habit of keeping walkers company as they go exploring the green and pleasant land that is the north of Gran Canaria. Fermín said that she could be away for four to five hours, returning with her new walkie pals when they completed their hike.
Hada had ignored me the first time I’d departed and, as I said ‘adios’ again, she seemed uninterested the second time. But plans were clearly hatching in that small brain.
About two kilometres, and a thigh stretching ascent later, there was a rustle in the grass and a black and white streak shot past us. Hada had decided she was overdue an adventure. There was only one problem. We were heading to pastures new, 17 to 20 kilometres along the track.
An initial attempt at shooing her home was met with a blank and happy stare. With time moving on, we gave up trying, figuring that at some point she’d have decided she’d seen us safely off her territory and would turn tail and head for home.
This didn’t happen. The doggie was not for turning.
The small problem became a big problem when, after a few kilometres, we left the safety of the countryside to walk along a road for a while before re-entering the forest. It wasn’t a busy road but nevertheless by that time we weren’t happy about sending Hada back on her ownsome. As we were recording timings and distances and were on a deadline, neither could we take her back.
We were stuck with her until the end of the road.
Which turned out to be rather fortuitous.
Fate’s a funny thing. Until that day we hadn’t taken a wrong turning. However, following a path that fitted exactly the track on the map, we emerged at a point that didn’t match the place in the photo we had been given to help us work out the route. As we stood, scanning the landscape bemused and confused, a farmer pulled up beside us.
“Your dog should be on a lead,” he grumped.
After an explanation that ‘our dog’ wasn’t our dog and a bit of a discussion about why we were where we were, he became friendly and pointed us in the right direction again.
If we hadn’t had the dog with us he wouldn’t have stopped. Hada had inadvertently helped us.
After that it was plain sailing as we left an almost English-esque landscape of rolling hills to enter a more Tolkien-esque one of jagged peaks and deep ravines (grudgingly sharing the delicious picnic Fermín had prepared for us with his dog).
As we reached the top of a particularly plunging ravine, I’m sure I saw a look of confusion spread across Hada’s face as she stood with her front paws on a low wall surveying the unfamiliar scenery below. This wasn’t anywhere she’d been before. She’d crossed to the other side of the world.
We descended the ravine and made our way along the barranco floor to our destination at Las Longueras near Agaete. With our detour, we must have trekked nearly 20 kilometres by that point and the distance was clearly taking a toll on Hada’s hips (she’s only got wee legs).
As soon as we said our holas, Andy got on the phone to Fermín who had only two words to say when he heard where his dog was.
“¡Dios mío!” Came the groan through the phone. It was 6.30pm, Fermín had guests to cook for… and his adventurous little dog was a forty minute drive away.
It was all credit to Fermín that he was actually smiling when he turned up to pick up his exhausted pet.
“I don’t think she’ll follow any more walkers for a while,” I laughed, as Fermín bundled a limping canine into his car.
His smile changed to a look of resignation. “You don’t know this dog,” he sighed and drove off.
In truth, I was sorry to see the little dog go. She’d been the most excellent company on what had been an absolute cracker of a walk.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+