The neighbors' donkey Mandrin has been residing at my place for so long, with my Moshé, that I now consider him as mine. Their horses Bessie and Aigle are still here as guests, because there's not enough feed for them up at Bob's place, and Alison is too busy (working in the Choranche cave restaurant) to find time to look after them.
Yesterday morning, just after Alison's departure on her noisy scooter (which always causes my Sophia to bark), a new member of her family arrived unexpectedly at my place: a marvelous little male dog, a few months old, named Pif.
Pif promptly started to romp around with Sophia, who seemed to appreciate the presence of this tiny animal climbing all over her.
I had the impression that Pif was greatly awed, at times, by the massive stature of Lady Sophia.
In any case, throughout the entire day, the two dogs got on wonderfully well, and Pif was also extremely friendly with me, often snoozing in my arms and licking my nose. I gave him food and organized a comfortable basket for him alongside Sophia's queen-sized model.
I can't be certain, of course, that Sophia approved entirely of this audacious little dog reposing on her master's door mat. But there were never any squabbles.
At times, Sophia would gallop around the lawn to impress her young companion, and demonstrate her weighty Japanese-style wrestling prowess. On the other hand, there were limits to the amount of ear-biting that Sophia would tolerate from Pif's sharp baby teeth, and Sophia would make things clear at this level with a few ferocious snarls.
Towards the end of the day, I was starting to imagine that Pif might have moved in here as a permanent guest.
But I had not bargained on the magic attraction of the spluttering din of Alison's scooter, as she returned home at the end of her working day. Pif recognized the presence of his mistress as soon as she turned off the main road down in the valley, and he immediately shot off home to wait for her. Consequently, it's quite likely that Alison imagined that her disciplined dog had spent the day patiently in front of their house, awaiting her return. On the other hand, it's possible that Alison might have noticed that Pif's jet black fur was covered in sand-colored hairs from another animal... unless, of course, Pif took precautions to shake off all this telltale evidence on the track back home.
My guess is that I'll be able to use the absence or presence of Pif at my place as a means of knowing whether Alison is, or is not, at home.