This has become a frequent view of Fitzroy. You see, I place his food dish just inside the door of his kennel, in the front left corner. There are several advantages to this technique:
— The food won't get wet when it rains.
— Sophia will be less tempted to gulp down Fitzroy's food (in the wink of a dog's eye) when she just happens to be strolling around in the vicinity of his kennel. In other words, Sophia seems to realize that the interior of the kennel is definitely out of bounds for her, since it's Fitzroy's territory.
— In this position, with his head in the semi-darkness, Fitzroy is less likely to get distracted in the middle of his meal. In the outside world, he jumps constantly from one preoccupation to another. And, if he runs out of plausible preoccupations, he resorts to racing around furiously, like a greyhound, in a big figure-of-eight trail.
In any case, Fitzroy eats heartily, as expected: warmed-up pasta of a morning, and croquettes later on in the day.
His body is a solid mass of muscles. I realize that he's a very physical dog, who rarely calms down. In fact, the only time he's totally calm is when I pick him up of an evening, bring him into the living-room and let him lie on my knees in front of the fireplace (for ten minutes or so) while I'm watching TV. His presence at Gamone has brought me a lot of joy, and I'm convinced too that his nonstop jostling with Sophia, when she's outside for a walk, has done her a lot of good from a physical health viewpoint. She needs all that exercise. In a way, Fitzroy has become Sophia's aerobics instructor.
Recently, during our frequent walks up the road beyond the house, the dogs inevitably discover a large male ring-necked pheasant that beds down overnight in the weeds of Gamone. The bird only darts off when the dogs are right alongside him, and he flies rapidly in a straight line to the opposite side of the creek, making a weird clicking noise like a motor. Of an evening, the dogs start barking as soon as they pick up the scent of the pheasant who has returned to roost in his usual corner of the weeds. I'm starting to look upon this bird, reared to be shot by hunters, as a new member of our Gamone family. But I wouldn't bet on his lengthy survival.