May 4, 2011 chartreusian

The best dog we never had

Last week there was some sad news around our house – our neighbours lost their dog.

They were on holidays down south – and (what we seem to have understood) is that they were out for a walk with friends and they came accross a big-horn sheep (??) and Zola took after it, and never came back.   Zola was a hunting dog by training.  The Ribo’s had her for 9 years, but Jean-Paul told me that they got her from someone else (who had to give her up becuase he had a mental breakdown …again, that’s what I got from the story) who had trained her.  He said she was such a funny dog to walk in the woods with, as she would run off into the bush, find some animal and chase it back to the trail and then look up at him.  It was if she was saying, “OK, I did my part, now you do yours” – but then she always seemed rather dissapointed when he didn’t shoot the animal, but merely walk past it.

Zola (named after the 20th century French literary figure Émile François Zola ) was a pretty good deal for us.  Our  kids had a dog to play with, but we didn’t have to feed her, or take care of her, or clean up after her, or worry about what to do when we’re gone.  We just played fetch with her (note: she liked to retrieve very large sticks – often about 1m long and very heavy), we bought a box of treats for the kids to give to her, and that was the end of our responsibility.

The day the kids found out she was gone, Micah suggested we buy Messieur and Madame Ribo a puppy right away – but we convinced him that perhaps we should just wait on that for a bit.

I suppose if there is a silver lining to losing a dog you never had – it’s that the Ribo’s felt terrible, as 2 of their grandkids were coming from Paris for a week of holidays and they told me “they don’t come for us, they love the dog.”  So – in an act that shows grandparenting transcends cultures and nations – they tried to buy their love, and got a pool and trampoline for the yard.  So that weekend our kids were in the pool, and have spent a good amount of time on the trampoline this week as the grandkids have now gone home.  

So thanks Zola, you truly did bring us happiness both in your living and dying.