Around 28 hours after the rat's mysterious disappearance (when he was feeling uncharacteristically poorly and suffering gut pains), a call from the vet:
Them: Hello, is this Ewen?
Me: (hope rising) Yes?
Them: This is the Hurlstone Park Vetinary Service, you rang us yesterday morning about your missing dog...
Me: (now very hopeful) Yes, yes I did!
Them: Well, have you found your dog yet?
Me: No, no I haven't!
Them: Oh, well, we've just had a dog handed in...
Them: It's a small black terrier thing with sort of off-grey patches on the mouth and chest, with a distinctive snaggletooth...
Me: (almost faint) Yes, that sounds like my dog!
Them: Just one thing. Was your dog a boy or a girl?
Me: A boy!
Them: Ah. Sorry. It's a girl.
Me: (sighs) Oh, don't worry, not your fault. Thanks for calling.
Them: No worries. Good luck in the meantime, finding your dog.
Me: Yeah. Thanks.
Boggling at the sheer IMPLAUSIBILITY of them finding such a similar dog within 24 hours, I sigh and decide to go for another joyless walk which emphasizes how lonely life is...
I open the door.
The Rat is standing on the front terrace, in complete health, like nothing happened.
Me: You bastard! YOU UTTER, UTTER BASTARD!!!
I pick him up and hug him, weeping with joy.
In the immortal words of Mad Larry the Pirate King:
TONIGHT I LOVE THE WORLD AND EVERYTHING IN IT!!!