The British actor Stephen Fry, who loves Apple toys, has come up with an amusing comparison for an iPad. “The way I see it is it’s like a dog.” [source] When most people decide to get a dog, they don't necessarily say to themselves (unless they're hunters, security-minded individuals, etc): "I need a dog to perform a precise set of functions." You get a dog because you're simply craving to have a dog. We're humans, and dogs are dogs. That's all there is about it.
Today, I'm not absolutely sure I could tell you why I bought an iPad. I think it was a mixture of curiosity and wonder. Rationalizing, I said I needed an iPad to see how my novel All the Earth is Mine would look as an electronic book. That explanation was partly true, but it didn't really justify the purchase. As for my second dog, I must admit that I didn't bother trying to invent reasons why I needed him, nor did Fitzroy express reasons why he might (or might not) need me.
Meanwhile, Fitzroy is receiving a top-quality canine education from his wise and experienced great-aunt Sophia. Much of their work might be referred to as tactical combat training.
It can be tough at times, like in the army, but the dogs have never once lost their tempers nor harmed one another in any way.
It's not always easy to get good shots of the dogs when they're romping around together. I've been trying vainly to get a meaningful photo of Fitzroy's latest invention: a technique that consists of squeezing in between Sophia's hind legs until his whole crouched body lies directly beneath the belly of the bigger dog. In that position, with his head well protected, Fitzroy can safely nip the back of Sophia's front paws. Since Sophia's hind legs are jammed apart by the bulk of Fitzroy's body, she finds it difficult to turn around in order to dislodge the smart pup. Of course, Sophia finally succeeds in doing so, whereupon the audacious little Collie has to imagine another technique for attacking the giant Labrador citadel. As my ex-neighbor Bob (subjugated by Fitzroy's charm) remarked the other day, Sophia had reached a stage of life at which she was entering into calm retirement, untroubled by forces in the outside world. Overnight, a tiny black-and-white furry whirlwind swooped into her life from nowhere. Well, not exactly "from nowhere"; rather, from the top-of-the-world village of Risoul 1800 in the Hautes-Alpes: a most prestigious Alpine address for a distinguished dog.
Amazingly, Christine has just discovered that, among her maternal Provençal ancestors, an odd couple ("odd" meaning different) came from Risoul 1800, the same village as Fitzroy. Christine and the little dog were already bonded into a lovely relationship while she held him tenderly on her knees for several hours during our return trip to Gamone, after our having "dognapped" him from his family environment at Risoul 1800. Before then, for a day or so in Arles and the region around Aix, this brief Provençal excursion in the company of my ex-wife had been transformed into a largely family-history affair... which delighted me in the sense that I've always been interested in Christine's genealogy, both in Brittany and in Provence. Well, now that we learn that our "Fitz-Risoul" came from the same remote village as some of Christine's ancestors, I'm sure that her affection for this wonderful little animal has been amplified.