I’m a border collie then I’m a herding dog. I gather the sheep on the Scottish highlands, I run with a lower tail, my body stretched forward and alert eyes. Nothing shrink my look and when the shepherd whistles I run like an arrow. That’s what is told about me and what is written in my DNA. Not all Border collies work in Scotland with sheep, some of us are excellent athletes or Civil Protection volunteers both in the UK and in other countries.
And then there is me and my Umi.
Well, she is not a real natural disaster and nevertheless she is a hard work, turning me in a watchdog (and being a border this is very disheartening). To make matters worse Umi is a real wrangler. At the park if a careless human let his dog dirty she attacks like a Rottweiler. And she never argues with the little dogs’ owners, I had to deal with a long haired German Shepherd… okay, it was enough to bark at him that I would tear his fur with my bites and I would spit his braided hair like a David Crockett’s hat and he immediately settled down quietly. But not all dogs are borders. Besides I must get food and therefore I let my human brother teach me some tricks (some stupid games). I’m learning “sbam”: I should lay down as if I was dead. I think to eat a pair of that Frankfurter packages, that he uses as positive reinforcement, before showing him a perfect “sbam”. However, as far as food is concerned you must trust only Granny, although being a cat lover eel she is very wise. While Umi was cutting some cheese on the chopping board to prepare pizza I was sniffing it… I was sniffing and drooling. It’s not my fault if I’m a shepherd… for a big piece of cheese I would do a perfect “sbam” at the first shot. In short I was sniffing that Sardinian cheese laying only a inch far away from my nose but dangerously near the table edge. Umi stated: “He is a good dog, he would never steal it” (deluded human) and Granny said: “He is a family dog (you can bet I’m), he doesn’t think to steal it but simply to take it (I’m not a thief). Put yourself in his border head (but yet it’s difficult to soar so much)…food belongs to the pack: like your son opens the fridge to take a coke so Brik would take the cheese”.
That’s why I love her even though she is a cat lover. I don’t have opposable thumbs to take the fridge handle yet I have opposable jaws for the cheese and this doesn’t mean to steal but to take with elegance!
He’s just a dog. Yet I don’t like to humanize animals, even if today it’s quite natural: cartoons, books, games do it. It’s easy to forget the science called ethology and play with imagination. I’m doing it too on my blog! And yet although I try to keep my feet on the ground and my head on my shoulders I can’t help been amazed by some of Bryce’s behaviors.
I warmed a slice of pizza and I told to my son to take it. Ten minutes went by and then 15 and he totally forgot the pizza loosing his mind in his thoughts (homeworks, music, chat). Bryce, who followed carefully the event, stood up on his rear paws took the pizza’ sedge and brought the slice to his human brother. He put it at his feet and looked at him. He seemed to say:” Are you eating it? If you aren’t, I will”.
He could have stolen and eaten it: he is only a dog! But he didn’t: intelligence, sense of pack membership, dormant atavistic hunger? Who knows…
The fact remains: this behavior amaze and fascinate me at the same time. I would like to know what activated this behavior in Brik’s head, but I settle to look into his amber eyes which are telling thousand of stories, and his stracciatella-colored muzzle with his hanging tongue that makes him looking like he’s always smiling. It’s fine to know he is part of a family, ops…pack!
Sometimes I’m thinking that even if I can’t read Brik’s mind, he and the other dogs and cats can. It would be curious if they could understand our words or our feelings while we couldn’t decode their behavior. It would be weird to discover that they are the real advanced ones…
Obviously I’m only kidding…or not???
E’ buio, hanno appena finito di cenare. Chiacchierano tranquilli e si siedono sul divano davanti al televisore. Stanno decidendo che film vedere. Scivolo via dal mio nascondiglio dietro la poltrona. E’ il mio angolo privato, un posto dove m’intano quando non voglio essere disturbato. Nessuno si accorge di me, mi muovo cauto, le zampe appoggiano silenziose sul pavimento. Sono nero e invisibile come la notte. Raggiungo la preda. Sono sotto di lei. Nell’altra stanza non sospettano nulla, sono ignari e io sento il suo odore. E’ lì sdraiata, non può fiutarmi. Il lupo è pronto a scattare. La salivazione aumenta, lo stomaco brontola. Indietreggio e calcolo mentalmente il percorso: il cuscino sulla sedia soffocherà il rumore del balzo.
E’ questione di pochi secondi e sono su: è mia. E’ mia.
-Ho sete, vado in cucina a bere. Questa frase galleggia nell’aria come un avvertimento, poi l’interruttore scatta: un cerchio di luce m’investe.
Segue urlo ciclopico.
Quando si dice la sfiga: ma proprio ora la Umi doveva avere sete? Avevano lasciato sul tavolo una fetta di pizza coi peperoni, la mia preferita e l’ho fatta fuori.
All’urlo si aggiunge uno sguardo severo al quale rispondo con aria innocente che tenta una spiegazione: – Ero certo che fosse stata lasciata lì per me!
-Scendi subito dal tavolo di cucina – ordina la Umi con voce dura.
-Ops! Non mi ero accorto di esserci sopra.
-Sparisci: ladro! – prosegue la pizzaiola indiavolata.
Assumo un’espressione contrita: orecchie abbassate e coda tra le zampe. Mi defilo in velocità e sparisco nel mio angolino.
Quante storie per una fetta di pizza. Toh! Ho un po’ di salsa di pomodoro sulla zampa: una delizia da leccare. Era la mia preferita, coi peperoni. Slurp.