I remember reading somewhere that travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on in the ideas of living. During our visits to Continental Europe and England, apart from our interest in the scenery, cultures, architecture, food, etc…, our admiration and affection was often captured by a species that express more with the tail – the dogs and puppies. Like the monuments and the populace, you are sure to come across them, almost everywhere – once you care to look. If you sit in a public square or at the street-side table of a restaurant or simply walk down the street, you could observe their mannerisms, how they express their emotions with their eyes, ears, and tails, so direct and intense. How they raise their heads to the sea breezes; how they solicit touch by placing their paws on our arm; how they raise one ear to scan for sound….. How curious they live in the present and love to be forgiven.
Social creatures they are, I have seen dogs pause next to one of their own kind as they pass each other on the pavement of the street. I have seen a friend’s dog in Milan switch into a celebratory dance at a set time when she knew that her master will take her out for her regular walk to the same spot every day. Throughout the ages, including mythology and folklore, mankind had rendered attachment to dogs as pets– guard dogs, guide dogs, show dogs…. dogs of every kind and the ties of affection provide a relationship that is full of rewards.
Our beloved HASSO, a real aristocrat in mannerism and stature
who went to “dog heaven” in December 2000
Although we are dog lovers and have had our own dogs, sadly, this privilege is denied to us for the choice of living in a high-rise building where the ground rules prohibit keeping dogs or cats. However, we make up for this by watching, touching or photographing them whenever we chance upon them while in Europe or England where dogs enjoy wide popularity (like in the United States) and take pleasure in their walks with their “best friend” – something which is rarely seen in public places in Cochin (though there are a good number of dog owners/lovers here) unless those roaming around branded as “stray dogs”.
We have heard wonderful stories about the single-minded devotion of dogs and I could go on writing about them, but I would rather leave you with some photographs of our “little buddies” taken during our trips. Enjoy. Ciao, Jo
Switzerland: Our cheeky little Axel, who was the clown of the family
Asia, Firenze Padova
Our Juno, Switzerland
(Photos: © JS-CS/Manningtree Archive)