Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dog pen

It would be unthinkable for me to drive the Kangoo with Fitzroy scrambling around freely inside, because my dear highly-emotional dog has no idea whatsoever of when it's appropriate or rather inappropriate to scramble up onto me. To put it bluntly, he would be quite capable of deciding, on the spur of the moment, to take the wheel. The primary task on my Kangoo agenda consisted therefore of measuring the boot, purchasing timber and constructing a pen for Fitzroy.

The day before yesterday, Serge Bellier came along with his miter saw (in French, scie à coupe d'onglet), which looks like this:

Rapidly, Serge cut the timber into the calculated lengths. Then I used screws and wood glue to assemble the pieces into something that looked like a baby's playpen. Yesterday morning, I placed it in the boot of the Kangoo, and padded it out with mats and a cushion.

Fitzroy can scramble easily into the pen, and he can then see me while I'm at the wheel. We did a test excursion down to the banks of the Bourne at Pont-en-Royans. Fitzroy (who had almost no experience of car travel) caught on rapidly to what the system was all about, and everything worked wonderfully well.

Next, we drove up to Presles, where I was able to meet up with Sylvie and her Welsh husband William (from whom I acquired my dog in September 2010, as described here). I discovered that they have a four-months-old son, Lohan. As for Fitzroy, he met up with a couple of familiar members of his Border Collie family.

One of the dogs had a litter of six pups, and William told me that the mother would lose no time in making it clear to Fitzroy that she didn't want to see him nosing around her pups. Within a few minutes, the noisy action-packed way in which this simple message was transmitted to Fitzroy, and received by him clearly, was most spectacular. Even within a small family circle such as this, where the dogs know each other well, they communicate with one another in such a direct fashion that it looks to us, superficially, like a violent dogfight. The subsequent attitude of Fitzroy proved beyond any doubt that he had received the message, loud and clear. He had understood in an instant that the female didn't want to see him hanging around in the vicinity of her pups. Ah, if only I were able to use this kind of canine technique (I would need to learn how to snarl and bare my teeth) to transmit my wishes to Fitzroy in such a highly-efficient manner...

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