Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy hound

Late Saturday afternoon, my dog Sophia raced out into the dark and started to bark in the direction of the crest of the hill up behind our house. I could hear a faint tinkling indicating the presence of a hunting dog that had no doubt lost its way, so I started to call out to it with a few typical French terms. I judged by the intensity of the bell sounds, along with the direction of Sophia's regard, that the animal seemed to be zigzagging down the slopes towards us, and I soon glimpsed its shadow moving down along the road from my spring. Meanwhile, Sophia had stopped barking, because she concluded that the situation was hardly threatening. The hairy little gray and beige visitor with long drooping ears continued to sniff around everywhere, searching vainly for a recognizable odor. Finally, I coaxed it towards me and stuck a bowl of water under its snout. Being careful not to make a move that might frighten the dog, I soon got around to stroking its head and inspecting its collar, with a badge informing me of the owner's name. I quickly attached the dog to a chain and offered it a bowl of food... much to the disgust of Sophia, in no way an altruist, who no doubt found it alarming that her master might feed an alien animal. The visitor was not only lost, but thirsty and hungry. And now it had come upon a fellow who was giving it water and food, and attaching it in a way that indicated that he didn't intend to chase the intruder back out into the dark unknown. Consequently, within five minutes, I had made a firm friend. The dog started to wag its tail furiously with warm pleasure, and jump up onto me, licking my hands. As you might imagine, I was charmed into giving my new friend another bowl of food. For the happy hound, this was unexpected good fortune. After all, before then, it had been sniffing around up on the slopes in a place whose only occupants are my donkeys, which is hardly a successful achievement for a hunting dog. It even jumped up towards Sophia, indicating that it wished to play, whereupon Sophia barked gruffly at the intruder, in the harsh style of a stiff old aristocratic lady warning an excited young rural wench that she should mind her manners.

I phoned a local hunter, who then contacted the owners: two brothers from a neighboring village. Twenty minutes later, they arrived at Gamone. Everybody was happy. The joyful hunters and their lost hound were reunited. Meanwhile, the dog and I had become friends, no doubt because it had food in its belly. Even Sophia, stretched out in her big wicker basket in the warm kitchen, was relieved to find this unseemly intrusion being brought to an end.

Yesterday evening, another happy dog story unfolded on French TV. Host Michel Drucker was conducting a show with the immensely popular ex-president Jacques Chirac, celebrating his 77th birthday.

The idea of giving him a dog had emanated from several people in Chirac's circle of family and friends, including his wife Bernadette.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful story with such a wonderful ending! Wish I had been there. Thanks so much for posting! Love your blog.