Monday, March 03, 2008

Dogs in the 'hood

Villages in Greece tend to be either dog villages or cat villages. While that doesn’t mean that you won’t find a cat or two in a dog village (or vice versa), it does mean that one or the other is obviously the dominant animal of that particular hamlet.

When we lived on Kos, our little village of Pyli belonged to the felines. Cats were the queens of the tavernas, where they were always assured a few treats. Up here, dogs rule – and there are several different factions of doggy gangs constantly at war with one another. On our street there are four or five dogs that take up guard duties. The dogs around here are basically good dogs, they obey people, don’t get in too much trouble, and are very grateful for any scraps you can send their way. You get attached quite easily, and I’ve even named our neighborhood dogs: Jack, Joe, Fat Boy, Scruffy, and Barcley. Jack and Joe appear to be brothers - mostly black with some white patches, Labrador-esque dogs –and they are the rulers of the ‘hood, taking turns sitting at strategic points along the road watching out for their main rivals, the shepherd dogs.

Now I realize that the shepherd dogs are working stiffs, and messing with our dogs is probably the only fun they get to have, but these dogs are the biggest assholes. The herd is rather large, so there are a lot of dogs, maybe a dozen or so, and they come up here even when the flock is way down the road and start aggravating our gang. Thankfully it is usually just a barking match and almost never devolves into fisticuffs, but it seems to cause some major stress among the local boys, and the incessant noise irritates our cats to no end, causing them to turn to me with a look as if to say “are those Neanderthals ever going to shut up?” It usually doesn’t take too long before the shepherd dogs have to go back to work, but if those jerks ever injure one of our ‘hood dogs, I’ll have to have a few words with the shepherd.

Further down in the village there are a variety of Very Weird Dogs™. There is one who barks at headlights – he gets in front of cars and goes mad with rage at the devil rays, to the point that you have to turn your headlights off if you actually want to get anywhere without running over the freak. Then there are a couple of dogs who seem to think lying in the middle of the road is the best place to be, and stubbornly refuse to move even when a car is bearing down on them. I’ve seen people actually get out of their cars and physically pick up the dogs and move them out of the way, and the dogs don’t really seem to mind this, as long as they don’t have to move themselves. Of course, five seconds later they always decide they want to go somewhere else, but for those few moments it is dog’s will against man.

Despite the extreme distaste our cats have for dogs, I like living in a dog village. I’ve always wanted a dog but the responsibility seems too much, so having such friendly dogs around the house now and then is a pleasure. I can’t pet them or let them too close though, because if the cats were to smell dog on me I can’t imagine the consequences. But to say hello and get a happily wagging tail in response puts a smile on my face.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

I always want to give directions using the dogs and their posts along the road..."Turn right at black dog with crazy brown eyes-pass 4 barking dogs behind gate and go straight after the 2 white dogs barking themselves dizzy" -those 2 spin around while they bark. It's funny but there's no way I want my little Gigi to get out of our gate with all of those other crazy dogs around!
It's funny, it's the dogs we watch now. No more crazy people around so we watch the animals. I'll take them over crazy people any day!