If you’re planning to have a home in rural Mallorca, you’d better like the sound of dogs barking. It’s apparent that many country dwellers on this Spanish island have at least one dog. When one starts barking, it sets off a chain reaction, resulting in a canine chorus. After some months of this, it’s possible to recognise each doggy ‘voice’.
In our valley, we are probably the only permanent residents who don’t have a pooch for a pet – even though we both love dogs. But we’ve had some interesting canine encounters since we moved here.
The Fierce Dog
In our early years, a farmer we dubbed ‘Hairy-handed’ José (to distinguish him from another José in the valley) had an enormous black dog chained up just inside the gate of his property. The dog was the Mallorcan working breed known as a ca de bestiar … think not-so-cuddly Labrador on steroids. This shepherd dog barked, bared his teeth, and snarled at us every time we passed by, pulling at his chain as he lunged towards the gate.
I had a theory that if we could greet this four-legged boy by name as we walked by, he wouldn’t be so aggressive. So, one day when ‘Hairy-handed’ was in the farmyard, we asked him in castellano what the dog’s name was.
His reply, translated, came with a puzzled expression on his face. ‘Name? He’s a dog, why would he have a name?’. And that was quite telling in terms of the attitude of some locals towards dogs.
The Friendly Dog
Another dog – a shaggy German Shepherd-cross named Dom – used to stand at his property’s fence whenever we walked past. If Dom was supposed to be a guard dog for his Mallorcan owner, he wasn’t doing a great job.
Whenever Dom saw us, he’d jump up at the wire-netting fence and demand a huge fuss. He couldn’t contain his excitement at receiving affection and, after a few minutes of enthusiastic tail wagging, would cock his leg and have a wee through the netting. We soon learnt to jump out of the way as soon as he lifted a back leg.
Both Dom and the Dog-with-no-Name have long crossed the Rainbow Bridge … but we’ve had other canine encounters, as you can read here.