Dogs, Dogs, Dogs, and Maybe Work

Gimpy

Rōlli

Scruffy

I’ve been taking Cooper to the Park every morning after I drop Abby off at work. (The car is drivable, but very air-conditioned right now because of the accident.) I’ve been able to observe dog pack dynamics, and it’s quite interesting. We’ve also been adopted by some of the park dogs and shunned by others. The “dog friends” include Gimpy, as I named him because he limps when he runs. Then we met Rōlli, a puppy whose sister is owned by a friend of ours; Abby named her Rōlli because she used to roll over submissively when she started to play, but who now outweighs Cooper and knows it. She is comfortable enough with us that she will come over to Cooper to play, unless the leader of her pack is around. Neither the alpha dog nor the puppies’ mother, who seems to be the beta dog, will tolerate Cooper. The alpha barks at him and the beta has snapped at him a few times when he gets too close.

Finally we have Scruffy, who occasionally hangs with the pack and who came over to me last week when I called for Cooper. I said hello and he jumped up on me to have his ears scratched. My guess is that he had been domesticated at one point and then let go; either that, or he’s the most preternaturally friendly wild dog in Tirana. (I haven’t included a photo of Mangy, who no one will play with for the obvious reason.) I’m very tempted to adopt Scruffy after we come back from Egypt next month – Abby has a conference, I’m going to look at pyramid – except that one dog hogging the bed or trying to steal food off the table already constitutes a lot of dogs. As each of you come to visit us in Albania, be prepared to go home with a complimentary dog.

The other complicating factor is that work possibilities loom. I’ve been short-listed for a one-month local consultant position with the U.N. Development Program; the interview is tomorrow. I also expect to meet with the Chief of Party for a USAID-funded local governance contract after he arrives in Tirana next week. And the duties with the Special Friends of the National Gallery continue. I seem to have been drafted into the position of vice-chair, membership, and secretary. We had our first event of the season last night – a tasting of Albanian wines in one of the Gallery’s exhibit halls, complete with chamber music (if you can call renditions of “Making Whoopie” and “O Solo Mio” played on strings “chamber music”) and raised over $400 for the Gallery as well as nearly $500 for ourselves. I’m hoping to open a second career in arts development, but that’s a bit of a way off …

P.S. Cooper now has lost his milk teeth and has real dog teeth, which are stronger but hurt less when he chews your arm to get you to start playing – which he has been doing to me for about two hours now while I’m trying to blog and do Gallery business. He’s also the worst ball-fetcher ever. At least Bill Buckner saw the ball go between his legs; Cooper doesn’t see it if it’s even three inches from his nose.