No, I'm not talking of running hoses, such as when you forget to turn a tap off in the garden. Hose running is a totally different affair. It's an outdoor occupation, a game… or indeed a sport. It's a straightforward activity, which consists essentially of grabbing a length of hose and running as fast as possible, and often in circles, while taking care not to let go of the piece of hose, or have it knocked out of your grip by an encounter with an obstacle. My dog Fitzroy (seen here from an upstairs window, in the middle of his untidy little universe of sticks and twigs) has become a top-class performer in this sport.
Sophia, on the contrary, has never been tempted to get involved in this sport. She looks upon hose running with disdain, considering that a dog has to be rather empty-headed to get a kick out of such a silly activity.
In fact, Sophia has never even bothered to take the first step for a future hose runner: acquiring the basic equipment, which consists of finding a hose and biting off an appropriate length for hose running. Fitzroy performed this task ages ago, not long after his arrival at Gamone, which means that he has now acquired some three or four months of solid experience in this sport.
Fitzroy is becoming competent in another occupation: pool construction. Maybe I should speak rather of making puddles.
The trick, here, is to do your digging at a spot where you've detected the presence of water. Fitzroy, who has always been particularly observant, noticed that there's a link in the hoses from the spring that allows a tiny quantity of water to escape. So, he calculated the ideal location of the excavation operations, which were carried out in the early hours of the morning. And the puddle was full a few hours later.
I now believe that Fitzroy's deep attachment to humans is permanently wired-in to the synapses between the neurons in his brain. Besides, I'm convinced that this wiring-in got under way right from the first instants of his encounter with Christine, who nursed him tenderly in her lap during a lengthy car trip from his birthplace in Risoul up through the Alps to Gamone. These days, of an evening, Fitzroy likes nothing better than to crawl up onto my knees when I'm seated in front of the fireplace, watching TV. The presence of the little woolly dog on my knees is warm and cuddly, and it's marvelous to see him fall asleep almost instantly, apparently in a state of serenity. But, with the weather about to warm up, it would be unwise of me to encourage this habit, because of the possible presence in Fitzroy's fur of ticks and fleas, both of which can cause terrible afflictions in humans. So, sadly, I'll have to draw a line that limits our cuddly proximity. There's another risk in these fireside sessions with Fitzroy half-asleep on my knees. Periodically, he decides to adjust his position, and this can result in his lashing out drowsily with his paws to get a grip on the surroundings, which can be my face and neck. So, I really must cease behaving like one of Fitzroy's favorite dogs, and leave that role solely to Sophia.
BREAKING NEWS: Even an experienced hose runner can encounter problems when new sporting equipment is being tested on inappropriate grounds.
In fact, when I first dashed for my camera, the hose was wound several times around the tree. In the time it took me to get my camera ready, Fitzroy had already started to solve the problem. And half a minute later, the hose was completely free. But Fitzroy has apparently sensed that something's wrong with this king-sized equipment because, for the moment, he has abandoned the hose on the lawn.
More precisely, although he's completely soaked by the light rain that has been falling all day (resulting in insufficient light for me to take acceptable photos), Fitzroy seems to be deciding what to do next.