Tuesday, March 1, 2011

House Protector

I have never wanted to own a dog. Cats, yes (and I have had many throughout my life) but dogs, no. I like dogs well enough, as long as they belong to someone else. I've never liked how dependent dogs are on their owners -- needing constant attention, training, feeding, walking, playing -- a dog would cramp my style. That its, unless it was a Georgian dog.

There is a resident dog at my host family's house, but he seems to take care of himself. I never see anyone feed him or play with him. No one trains him. He takes himself for walks. There is no leash-law in this country, so he doesn't even have a collar. He usually stays within the fenced-in yard, but now and then he either goes out of the gate when someone opens it, or he jumps the fence when he wants to run around in the street.

I think the dog looks Russian. He is one of the biggest dogs in the village (and certainly the prettiest). He is a shaggy mutt, but not a curly-shaggy mutt. His fur is thick and wavy - tan on his face, belly, and legs with black on his back, nose, ears, and tail. He reminds me of the shaggy-fur boots and hats that the women around here wear. His eyes look Russian, too. I don't know why -- they are kind of flat on the top - not big, round, and sad, but small, straight, and piercing. He has a serious look about him. I think that he takes his job of "house protector" very seriously. But he doesn't bark very often. In fact, he only barks when the horse that lives up the road goes by -- whether someone is riding it or it is pulling a cart doesn't matter. The dog doesn't like the horse. (Tea told me that he got kicked by a horse when he was younger, and ever since then, he hasn't liked horses.) But he loves his family, and he has claimed me as a part of it.

On sunny days, he often stretches out to his full length on the grass, either on his back or on his side, and sleeps while we are at school. When I approach the house on my way home from school, he sees me, gets up, stretches his front legs out in front of him on the ground with his back end up in the air, curly tail waving over his rump. When I open the gate, he yips a little, excited, "hello" and bounds and wiggles his way over to me. He jogs circles around me as I walk to the house, nosing against my hands and legs for a pat or two. He usually steps on my feet, so I have learned to time my steps when he passes in front of me a bit slower so I don't kick him. Sometimes I spin away from him so he doesn't get my shoes muddy from stepping on them. We do this little dance all the way to the front door. Sometimes he grabs my hand with his mouth just before I go inside -- sometimes he just flops down on the porch, satisfied that his family is safely home.

One nice day about a month ago, Tea and I were sweeping the front yard (yes, sweeping.....with twig brooms). The dog came over to investigate what we were doing. I noticed that he had a burr stuck in the fluff under his chin. I worked it out while he sat on my feet. (What is it about my feet that he likes?) He had several burrs in his fur, so I pulled them all out for him. He sat quietly on my feet, eyes closed, and let me pull all the sticky burrs out. If he didn't smell like a dog, I would like patting him and playing with him more.

I call him, "Dog." His name is Bobby.

1 comment:

  1. >I call him, "Dog."

    Friend of mine had a dog and a cat. Dog's name was "dog" and cat's name was "cat".