Monday, June 15, 2009


We have acquired a dog… again.

Last week I was driving up from the main Paphos to Limassol road to our village, and just when the road began its series of S-bends to reach the first plateau a small golden bitch ran out into the road and began frantically dashing up and down the centre line. I slowed to a crawl, she went out in front of me, then ran back to the other side almost under the wheels of an oncoming car that stopped with a screech. Desperate, searching, she ran to the side of the road, so I … pulled to the hard shoulder and called her. And she came. Timid, yet almost delirious with joy, she jumped into the front seat and we drove home.

Best Beloved was clipping the row of vines that line the concrete road after the turn off, and as I slowed down to talk to him, his gaze drifted to my new companion.

“No!” he said. “Not another Pathetic Life Form”

“It’s all right,” I reassured him. “I’ll take her to the Shelter on the way to drama class.”

But both Zenon and Sophia fell in love with her, and even I – who don’t like dogs as a rule – was a little smitten. She was quiet and well behaved, yet a happy, benign presence.

We took her to the Shelter as promised, but I said to Annie, the custodian, “I’m tipping that I’ll be back for her in a week…”

Best Beloved and I talked about keeping her over the next few days. We have a fundamental difference of opinion about animals. He doesn’t like pets, tolerating dogs – except working dogs – hardly at all, and certainly not in the house. I grew up with pets, and although I’m not partial to dogs, believe that keeping a dog in a cage – all the responsibility but none of the joy – is wrong. On the other hand, Cyprus is a hot place in the summer and dog smell and dog hair in the house is not very pleasant.

We tried a few dogs that found us and we kept because Zenon’s pleas moved us to ‘try just one more time’. Sam the Beagle was beautiful, stoic, great with Zeen, and thick as two planks. He went to the shelter after an unmanageable month. Lucy the Border collie was bright and beautiful – so bright that she could not cope with loneliness in the pen where we kept her, and drove us nuts with her barking. We re-homed her with a nice English family who gave her all the love and attention that she demanded.

We decided to stay petless – until Lizzie, that is.

Mili’s smaller dog having died last summer, Mili had a vacant pen, so she agreed that we could move it to our land for Lizzie. Nepalese L came Saturday and spent the morning levelling ground in a shady spot under a carob tree close to the house, and building a platform so that the winter rain will not flood her out, then with great ceremony he, Best Beloved, Alex, and I moved the pen into its new position and secured it.

On Sunday, I drove to the shelter to collect her and bring her home.

She has settled in quickly. Exuberant with the children and me, she takes us for walks in the early morning or at dusk; respectful to Best Beloved, she has earned his grudging ‘I suppose she’s not bad for a dog!’

Let’s see how it all works out.

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