Another of those days here.
Last night my husband Graham forgot to put the bins out.
This morning, the first thing I did was open the kitchen door to let Oscar and Tess out for their usual early morning romp around the garden. I always check, the gate looked shut, no bits of fence had blown down in the night.
Then I got busy with the morning routine, getting Kieran his breakfast, checking my email, twittering... you know all the essentials.
On walking from the office to the sitting room for some reason I glanced out of the window and as I did my blood ran cold.
The gate was now swinging open.
The bin men must have been extra efficient - they'd come into the garden to collect our bins but hadn't closed the gate properly after them. It had looked shut but it wasn't on the latch.
I shouted something incomprehensible up the stairs to Graham as I ran into the kitchen to see if the dogs were safe. Tess the Springer was there, eagerly waiting for her breakfast, but Oscar the Beardie was missing.
Tess is an accomplished escape artist, so the fact she had ignored an open gate was very surprising. Oscar was not used to being at large - and to be anywhere without his best mate and leader was very odd.
Oscar is not equipped for going native. He is very heavily coated and he has on occasions tried to follow Tess into rough terrain and got himself completely stuck in a bush. It has taken ages for us to disentangle him.
He also has a very sketchy sense of direction, he just hasn't got the outward bound skills his Springer friend has. He starts off with a top knot that gives him good vision, but if he plays rough he's running blind within minutes as it all tumbles down or becomes augmented with twigs.
He has also got used to following Tess and not concentrating on where he is going.
Graham was dressed and at the door before I could pull my boots on over my PJs and as I hadn't got my specs on I was just as blind as Oscar and pretty useless as I was panicking so much!
Graham found him very quickly. He hadn't gone far. Although from the state of him you'd assume he'd been missing for weeks.
His paws were black and there was enough of the forest in his fur to build a fire. His little heart was beating so fast when he was returned to the fold. He was like a kid lost in the supermarket - I think he'd frightened the life out of himself.
The mud, twigs and other less savoury coat adornments didn't stop everyone hugging Oscar and celebrating his safe return.
Oscar's mum went missing when she was 8 weeks pregnant, she escaped from her breeder through an open gate. She was on the run for days and the birth of the healthy litter shortly after her being found was a huge relief. But I've often worried that he might have inherited the wandering gene.
He isn't called Oscar Wild for nothing.
Bin night now ringed in red on the calendar.