The Dog That Walks By Himself
Perhaps we are in need of a dog after all. Before last week we had no one to steal our socks, lick up spills from the floor, or cover our hands with warm kisses.
I guess we can consider him an “oops baby” of sorts. After further grilling of all our neighbors, we were able to uncover the story of how a little black puppy came to be all alone yelping in the street outside our house. Apparently, the nice old man who lives across the street and spends hours every day sitting outside on his front porch was sitting there as usual two Fridays ago at 7:00 in the morning. A strange car drove down the our dirt road and stopped almost in front of our house. The woman inside the car opened the passenger door, and a dog jumped out. Then she shut the door, drove off, and left him!
Our “found” signs haven’t resulted in any phone calls either, so after two weeks, we are considering Luca officially ours. I hope I’m not starting to sound like one of those dog owners, who can’t talk about anything but their dog, and think the entire world revolves around him. But he is such a little charmer. As far as we can tell, he seems to be a Basenji mix. Here’s a photo of purebred Basenji for reference:
Notice the huge ears and the wrinkly forehead. Luca also has some typical Basenji personality traits. Basenjis are described as independent and curious to the point of being almost cat-like. Supposedly, Basenjis are also the second hardest dog breed to train. I have to confess, Luca doesn’t really act like the labrador retriever guide dog puppies my sister raised. He learns pretty quickly, but his intelligence doesn’t necessarily translate into overly impressive obedience. And I don’t really get the feeling that he worships the ground I walk on. But I know he loves me. He even steals my underwear so he can sleep with it.
Luca does have tons of energy. He gets as much exercise as the rest of our family put together. He runs in the afternoon with Tony, and we take him to the beach to play in the mornings and on our evening family walk. My special time with Luca is our sunrise walk on the beach. The sun comes up over the old city on the rim of a lavender-pink sky, and lines every wave with gold. As we walk along the beach, I can smell everyone’s last Ramadan meal, and see the fishermen already out in their boats. I wouldn’t really feel comfortable out and about by myself at that hour, but with Luca things are great. I’m no longer a foreign woman, just a person with a dog. A fierce, scary dog too.
O.K., so he may not look that fierce, but he has a obvious dislike of strange men, and he doesn’t mind letting them know. Which suits me just fine. Looks like our Luca is here to stay!