A little while ago, I made a post about the green dog, and it made me recall another story, which I would like to dedicate to my blogger friend, who loves dogs - Veronique aka French Girl in Seattle
This took place many years ago in Russia. In those days, going abroad was an unbelievable event, significant not only to the traveler, but also to everyone that person was remotely familiar with. It wasn’t even a matter of the endless bureaucratic formalities and exhausting interviews – it was simply a matter of how maladapted a Soviet citizen was to live on the other side of the fence. The mentality wasn’t just “different” – it was the mentality of a person who lived in a constant state of fear. If you took one wrong step during your trip abroad, there was a definite possibility of never getting to go anywhere again.
One of our friends – a translator - go the chance to work in a Russian embassy for a whole six months. Six months in Paris!!! There was a saying among Russian women at the time – “See Paris, and you’re ready to die”.
The translator had two sources of difficulty in her life – a nine-year-old son, and a terrier named Lola. The son was sent off to his father’s parents, and the dog was given to our mutual artist friend. The artist was about fourty at the time. He wasn’t particularly well-known or creative; just a solid professional, who could deliver a good product. Of course, he enjoyed drinking – he wasn’t an alcoholic, but, at the time, an artist would only give up drinking due to a health condition.
The artist lived in a large attic, under the roof of an old house. That’s where he had his studio.
The translator busied herself with travel preparations, and then, at the last minute, she remembered to give the artist a call and say “I’d like to warn you. Lola can’t stand the smell of alcohol.”
The artist later told me that he sensed a bad feeling riding in his stomach. And for a good reason. Tension arose in his home as soon as the dog arrived. Whenever the artist would open the bottle just a tiny bit, Lola would start to growl. If he took a sip, she would start to bark. She also chewed a hole through the artist’s pillowcase, and ate his only good belt.
The artist started to drink outside of his home, and, whenever he returned, he would keep his mouth shut. That was his new tactic.
One summer evening, the artist came home after his regular dose of alcohol, smoked a cigarette, and fell asleep on the couch. The cigarette butt, which he tried to throw into a tin can, didn’t quite reach its destination and, instead, fell down next to the curtain. The summer breeze tended to the tiny flame, and the curtain caught on fire.
The next time I visited this artist, I saw a burnt window frame with a large black spot underneath it.
The artist – having taken out a bottle of champagne he always prepared for my visits – told me, “Lola saved my life. Now I don’t drink at all.”
When disaster stroke, Lola did not lose her bearings. She started to bite the artist’s ear to awaken him. Can you image what would have happened, with all the flammable paints that littered the attic?
The translator never returned from Paris – not for her son, not for the dog. She stayed there, and got married – not once, but several times.
I can't find any photos of terriers, so, here are some photos of other dogs I have seen in the last little while: