Soon after we arrived at our little house in Le Grand-Pressigny on Boxing Day, we heard a dog barking that seemed pretty close by.
It was beginning to get dark and we were busy unpacking, getting the fire going and generally settling in so we didn’t pay too much attention. However, later in the evening we realised that the barking was still happening and was definitely very close. In fact the dog was still barking at 10 pm.
The next morning all was quiet but by 11 am the barking had started again. We soon worked out that a dog was running to and fro, along the path between us and our nearest neighbours up the steep hill, which meant it was on a level with our bedrooms.
I spoke to Mme André about it and she was obviously annoyed and upset. Apparently the dog was with a visitor to the neighbours behind our house and the dog was simply left outside all the time.
The lady who lives in the house above ours was also upset – the dog would have been within a few feet of her house and therefore quite a nuisance. The three of us talked and she said it was supposedly there for the weekend but so far had stayed for a week.
It was annoying and unsettling. How could anyone be so inconsiderate as to leave a dog to run up and down a pathway, barking loudly all day causing a huge nuisance to their neighbours? And what about the poor dog? It was there pretty much constantly from late morning (presumably when its owner got out of bed) until gone 10 pm at night even though it was well below freezing. It barked every time there was any movement on the street or outside the house and continued barking after dark into thin air. The poor thing must have been frozen stiff and bored out of its mind.
It went on like this the whole week we were there. I was concerned that it might be a permanent fixture but Mme André assured me it was a visitor “from Paris” – something always said with a knowing look, as if people from Paris are expected to behave differently, like aliens.
We began to almost get used to it. Then every time I thought I hadn’t heard it for a while and hoped it had gone home, back to Paris, it would re-appear. When I got close enough to have a proper look it turned out to be a beautiful German shepherd with a lovely coat and didn’t look at all scruffy and neglected, which is what I expected. Once, I started talking to it, in English of course, explaining that it was such a shame that it was left outside to freeze when its owner was probably inside no doubt enjoying warmth and hospitality. At that point a man’s gruff voice called the dog away; presumably the owner. Interesting – I wondered if he spoke English too.
The next day, the dog was gone, thank goodness.