Sunday, July 27, 2008

Gamone dogs

Yesterday morning, I went out early to buy some food for the weekend, leaving Sophia inside the cool kitchen. When I returned to Gamone, I was amused to find Alison's dog Pif seated on a mound of earth alongside my mailbox, like the proverbial dog near Gundagai [display], calmly awaiting my return. Descending from my car, I was welcomed by joyous barking by both dogs, for I was literally the key figure who could open the kitchen door and enable the dogs to get engaged in their everyday jousting.

Pif has a size and weight disadvantage, so he tries constantly to imagine the optimal angle of attack.

As for Sophia, she knows that her best strategy is to remain firmly planted on her front paws, with her large jaws wide open. It's a bit like bull-fighting, with Sophia in the role of the matador, while Pif is a tiny black bull.

Pif discovered this efficient attack angle at the very beginning of his contacts with Sophia. By placing his body up against Sophia's bulky frame, Pif can try to get a grip on the furry fat of Sophia's neck, while remaining at a safe distance from Sophia's jaws. It's a tactic that works for a while... up until Sophia simply spins around to meet Pif head-on.

Pif loves the loose dirt on this mound where my old wood shed used to be located. He's capable of scrambling up an almost vertical embankment, such as those alongside the road above my house.

We see here the technique employed by Alison in an attempt to prevent her horses from strolling back down to my place. She has simply blocked the public road by means of a makeshift string "gate", attached on one side to a rubber hose. Apparently the horses imagine that the string is electrified. So do tourists. Yesterday, a middle-aged couple from Marseille, in a small brand-new automobile, were blocked by Alison's gate, and started to back down. But there's a problem in backing down an urban vehicle along a sloped road such as this: The driver simply cannot see the macadam in the rear-vision mirror, which can be quite unnerving! Consequently, fearing that the vehicle might be heading towards the gorge that he detects vaguely through the passenger's window (in the case of the road from my place up towards Bob's house), the driver tends to steer his vehicle into the embankment. This was exactly what was happening when I raced up to help the confused tourists yesterday. Finally, I helped them back down safely into the flat zone alongside my house.

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