ODE TO THE DOGS

Christophe Guidon

I had always disliked dogs. Big, small, brown, fluffy, my neighbour's husky howling all week-end long … I especially questioned their reliability after being bitten by one of my friend's dog (which I still picture in my mind as having the size and the shape of a white lion).

And of course, to me, they lost all comparisons to the self-maintenance, mice-catcher and lovingly purring cats.

Hence my hesitations when I was invited 1 year ½ ago to spend the week-end at the Prayal-Brown's.

My mind was quick at doing the maths; two breeds = … I'm gonna be surrounded by dogs !!

Word of my phobia was transmitted to the hostess, Marie-France, and arrangements were made for my arrival: only one cotton would be allowed near me at all time. The welcome was warm, the dog (adequately named Surprise) polite: no barking, no drooling, just wanting to be patted and to sit on my lap. That, I could handle !

Coincidentally (or was it really ?) there also was a little space in the living-room with a recent litter: six cute little puppies trying to cuddle and bite my finger.

My week-end was most enjoyable and rendezvous was taken for me to come back and try and handle more dogs.

And everything went upwards from this moment on. During my following visits, my tolerance to dogs (which quickly became my eagerness to be close to them) soared. First the rest of the cotons (Fine !). Then the larger-sized Polonais (Easy for me !). Even the massive Doberman when going to dinner at their friend's (Piece of cake !).

Looking back on these events, I know this was a defining moment, a turning point for me. These dogs were calm, relaxing, cheerful, always happy to see you, begging for pats or food left-overs from your plate. No wonder they are used for therapy sessions: they can bring you in a state of serenity and happiness by their sole proximity.

I am utterly thankful to Marie-France and her daughter Sophie for introducing me to such nice creatures as well as helping me overcome my phobia: I can now foresee myself as a potential dog-owner.