So you think you would like to live in Italy

This is our story, warts an' all. We have come this far since May 2004 and survived the bureaucracy, a freezing cold winter, a landslip and a diminishing money pot. Share our experiences, believe me the good ones far outweigh the bad and if you want to ask a question and we know the answer, we'll tell it like it is.

I found this little phrase in a Collins Italian Phrase Book published in 1963 ~ "passa ogni limite" pahs'sah ohn'yee lee'mee-tay which means: That's the giddy limit. Useful if there's anybody out there that quaint!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

DogBlog September - December

Good-Bye Clank.
Sadly, Clank has died. (To read more about Clank, see our DogBlog April.) As sorry as I am to lose our little four legged neighbour who lived under the fig tree, there is a huge sense of relief that he is no longer suffering. Since we started to feed him in April, which was always in ample proportions, he never put on any weight. I'm not sad that he is gone but I am sad that he died without someone to comfort him. I hope he's gone to a better place where there aren't any chains and he can chase butterflies amongst the flowers. We still pass his spot every day; his kennel is still there and the fig tree is losing its leaves now that autumn is upon us but I can feel his presence and the dogs still look for him. He will never be forgotten, our little dog with the misty eyes.

Ever since we adopted the boys, they have played together, in fact when we found them in the garden they were locked in combat, tumbling patches of pink and fur venting soft, purring growls with an occasional yap, and 19 months on it's much the same only the decibel level has reached dangerous proportions. There's nothing in Cesar's book that tells you how to cope with noisy game play and in fact whenever we pay a visit to the Vet she always asks if they are playing together and extolls the importance of game playing as a principal factor in a healthy development. But, I don't think anybody realises just what this involves and although I can try and describe it you can not imagine the intensity of the noise. Their postures resemble those of mating seals; their bodies prostrate on the floor, if not facing each other then close enough for their necks and heads to touch enabling a direct face-off.

There follows a lot of lunging from the shoulders and head and jaw clapping motions directed at each other but without any intent other than vocal. A high pitched YIP will ellicit the response of an even higher pitched YAP and this exchange will continue until the YIPs and the YAPs reach such a pitch that a human ear can no longer bear it. The lunging abates when the YIP/YAP's segue into the most blood curdling howls and moans, then noses are set to the sky, throats elongated for the best delivery. Of course we had to stop allowing these games whilst they are in the house and if we catch a glimpse of them shuffling up together and a bit of excitable snuffling starting to develop (a sure sign that a YIP/YAP is brewing) we throw a ball into the middle of them hoping to divert their attention. Such games outside, in the pen is fine (well, for us, not for the builders who are working close by) but only because we have no neighbours to speak of but I'm sure the YIP/YAP's and howling can be heard in the village which is a mile away. I'm quite sure that this posturing is not unique to our boys but I would dearly like to know if anyone else has experienced this behaviour in their animals and more importantly at what age it ceases. If I ever manage to master the art of transferring video to my blog I will post just a short example of them in communication. If you've never seen it before it will amaze you; I'll regulate the volume for safe listening though.

Next Month: Meet the little fox cub who visits at night and leaves his mark!

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