Saturday, November 27, 2004

Going to the dogs

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before the proliferation of dogs around the Marianville campus, but most households seem to have at least one, unchained and running all over the school. It’s not infrequent that you see a pack of them roaming around the school gardens, or two or three males chasing a bitch in heat and barking up a storm as they’re yelled at by students and disappear under classrooms. And I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen students throw rocks at animals after Angie’s seen one and yelled out “Somebody kill that dog!” (even though her two monsters are by far the most feared in the school, and have been known to take chunks out of visiting Fathers’ bottoms if they venture near the house when Tipi and Lulu are off their chains).

The newest addition to the Marianville canine family is the black puppy my friend Neil brought the Sisters while I was back in Oz – his howling could be heard all over the school when he was first locked up away from the girls’ affection, and now that he’s allowed to run free the air is frequently punctuated by the sound of his name being called by students or staff as he makes trouble all over the school – “Ville! Ville!” (I originally thought his name was Bill - an odd name for a dog - but it turns out he’s actually named for the school!)

The two dogs that live near me are Billy (shared by 2 houses on our right) and Benji, who belongs to the neighbours on our left, but is fed largely by us. Our reward for our kindness is fleas, usually. And a little bit of protection, I suppose, as he does occasionally bark if unknown people come near the gate. The dogs usually get along ok, and fights are not really fierce, although they have taken to combining forces against that mischievous Ville who doesn’t seem to know his place and has started wandering down to our yards. But this happy little family might soon be broken up, as Billy’s rightful owners are a little bit tired of him. Apparently he’s too friendly, and that’s a problem. So they’ve been making a few enquiries, seeing if anyone wants to take him off their hands.

And with the Christmas season drawing near it seems that maybe they’ve found the solution to their problem because one of the other teachers has offered to take him – with the holiday season drawing near they’ll have a lot of family around, and apparently dog is even better than chicken.

Bye bye Billy.


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