Posts Tagged ‘Maremmano’


February 25, 2016 Leave a comment
A prickly Taylor

A prickly Taylor

Today I pruned a wayward and extremely prickly pomegranate bush while below me, on the path between the orchard and the olive grove, Taylor took a stance.

He’s nowhere near the fence with the neighbours, behind which are ranged a massive Maremmano and an equally massive German Shepherd, but he barks and growls and looks ferocious as if to protect everything around him.

In fact the neighbours, whose choice of dog shows their own preferences, have complimented him on how big he looks standing there. (Being white makes him appear bigger, too.)

But he’s a big softie, really.

He’s lying under my desk at the moment. Every now and again he gives a bloodcurdling snarl which is either the result of a dream, or because he thinks Galileo is about to try and recover the coveted position which is more normally his!

Big, blonde and beguiling

November 29, 2012 3 comments

Kepler has a thing about Camilla, our neighbour’s Maremmano (Maremma Sheepdog).

But I’ve always found it a bit of a puzzle that he would race the 300 yards of steep slopes and thick vegetation to be with her when he’s got 2 dogs at home to play with, both of whom he gets on with extremely well.

Kepler with the other Maremmano

Then I found this photo and remembered that when he first came to us, before he’d been allowed to explore by himself, he met with another dog of the same breed as Camilla.

This four-month old female Maremmano belonged to a neighbour the other side, who’d just bought the land but didn’t live there. He was cutting down an old dead cherry tree and had his dog with him.

Kepler was all over this dog. He jumped on her back, humped her, teased her – he just couldn’t leave her alone and in the end I had to drag him away.

A more unlikely playmate for Kepler there never was – a big, blonde, blunt dog to go with his sharp, wiry, pointy little persona.

So I wonder if in his original home Kepler was imprinted on a Maremmano.

It would explain a lot of things, including why there’s a Romeo and Juliet tragedy going on in which I seem to have acquired the unenviable role of orchestrator.

A dog eat dog world

November 27, 2012 8 comments

One of my favourite photos of Kepler

When Kepler was put up for re-adoption, an advert appeared on the Facebook site of the organization that’s trying to find him a new home.

It’s the most extraordinary piece of fiction. They were given all the details about his present home, his character etc, and yet they’ve written as if he himself is making the appeal and is trapped in a concrete-floored cage, isolated from everything he holds dear, sad, crying, etc etc.

The organization told me not to let on to anyone that he’s a pet, not to take anything I read to heart, and basically to keep out of it.

This morning I had a phonecall from the oncology specialist vet where Joules had his tumour treated and through whom we found Kepler. They’re over an hour’s drive away, but had been approached about a home for Kepler and had seen the Facebook post.

The vet wanted to know if it was true that Kepler was in a cage. I said no, he’s beside me looking out of the window.

The vet said he’d take my word for it.

Right on cue, Kepler started being sick so I put the phone near him and let the vet listen to the noise.

Kepler has been sick quite a lot lately and has also refused to eat dry dog food. We’ve kept him in, suspecting that he’s been having tinned dog food at the neighbours’.

Just now our neighbour phoned and asked if Kepler was ill as they haven’t seen him for the last couple of days. I explained he’d been vomiting and was off his food, and we’d been wondering if he preferred their food.

He told me very emphatically that Kepler doesn’t get food from them – with the exception of bread, of course.

The reason for his call, though, was because their great blonde Maremmano dog is refusing to eat and pining because she’s missing Kepler! And they don’t know he’s up for adoption!

What have I got myself into?!!

A dog’s life

October 31, 2012 7 comments

With great sadness, we’ve put Kepler up for re-adoption so that he can have a fresh start.

We haven’t reached the decision lightly – I’ve been putting it off for months – but the fact is that we hardly ever see him.

He spends all day, from when we first let him out in the morning until dusk, at the neighbours’ house, playing with their Maremmano who is at least twice his size and weight, or sleeping on their sofa.

Maybe this wouldn’t have arisen if we’d had a fence round the house (not a feasible proposition) and he’d never met his girlfriend the Maremmano, or if the neighbours had sent him back at the beginning like I asked – their behaviour in all this has been far from exemplary.

We’re here all day and so are our other dogs who boffle around nearby and never go as far as the neighbours. It’s not like he’s short of company at home, and he seems to confuse if not actually upset the other dogs.

We therefore don’t have Kepler’s company in return for feeding him and giving him a warm place to sleep, and there’s also the fear of our resentment if he should incur a big vet’s bill. He’s our dog in name alone.

When he does finally come home, this is what he looks like for most of the evening – dead tired and withdrawn.

Kepler – engaging less and less with us

Monster log

September 15, 2012 Leave a comment

I’m calling it a monster log not so much because of its size, although it’s pretty big, but because of Kepler’s reaction to it.

This morning I heard him barking and barking at something so I went to investigate, and there was a sizeable log lying across our drive.

I guess it must have dislodged itself in the woodland above, perhaps some way up, and crashed down through the undergrowth before reaching its resting place.

No wonder Kepler was startled; he probably thought it was alive. He calmed down when I went up to it and rolled it, with some difficulty, under the strawberry tree so it wouldn’t be in the way of the car.

The log, now tucked under the strawberry tree

Just as I finished, presumably entirely by coincidence, 3 hunters came along the drive, 2 of them dressed in camouflage gear and in a car, and the third on foot. The one on foot told me they plan to hunt hares across our land tomorrow afternoon and could I therefore keep our dogs in.

I pointed Kepler out to him, asking him to please recognise him and be aware of him because it’s not always possible to get him to come in. I’m not sure he paid much attention, but he did say something interesting, which is that our neighbour (the one with the maremmano, Joules’ girlfriend) refuses to co-operate with the request to confine his dogs, saying he has nowhere to put them. Strange. Probably some form of rural politics.

Dark prince

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Portrait of Kepler

This photo is of a far too rare sight.

We feed Kepler, give him a warm place to sleep and companionship both human and canine, take him to the vet when necessary, and love him dearly in my case.

However he spends almost all the daylight hours attending his great big blonde Maremmano girlfriend. (If you don’t know the breed, imagine a large, very heavily-built, near-white golden retriever.)

She’s about 3 times his size. She calls to him across the 300 metres between our house and the neighbour’s every morning, and she’s still calling to him after dark when he’s wondering which is more important – her or his evening meal.

I think of him as a lithe, dark prince racing over difficult terrain to satisfy every whim of his spoilt lady.

I’m sure she’d wear this photo in a locket round her neck if she was able.

Cutting wood

March 1, 2012 Leave a comment

I met our neighbour in the Post Office today. He asked me if I’d done my pruning yet and I realised with a jolt that it’s no longer February, the ‘pruning’ month.

Then he told me that later today he would be cutting down dead trees for the man who bought the land adjoining our olive grove.

Sure enough, just after lunch, there was the sound of a tractor and all 3 dogs raced down the slope to meet them.

The new neighbour has a 4 month-old Maremmano which Kepler made immediate friends with. She isn’t ready and he isn’t able, but both of them are willing.

Dead cherry

The tree being cut into logs is a cherry. When I checked this, our neighbour was quick to point out that the tree was just beyond our property line, which amused me as I wouldn’t have minded if it had been our tree.

I started pruning in the orchard after that. I did most work on a Reinette du Canada apple and a Santa Rosa plum.