Saturday, 8 March 2008

The dogs of Ouled Mgatel

You've certainly noticed them in our photos. The dogs are part of our life here. At first, however, I didn't like dogs, and Fred neither. But, you see, the dogs here are nothing like French dogs (or English dogs, or American dogs, I suppose...). They don't rub themselves against you. Nobody talks to them, except for telling them "go away !". Nobody touches them. They never go into the houses. They're not big babies. But instead:

1. They bark every time a stranger approaches the house (and that "stranger" can be the neighbor's little boy...) They are guard dogs, they live in packs, and their job is to protect the farm. They are really great for doing this, they can feel people a hundred miles away. Well, at night, it can be very annoying, all those concerts of barking !

2. They are always VERY VERY hungry. They eat mainly chunks of bread. So they are VERY VERY skinny. It gives them some kind of hyena look, not really reassuring I agree, but don't worry, they are completely harmless (well, if you're our friend...). According to Fred, who knows a lot of things about science, for the dogs, we're part of their pack, and they see us as other dominant dogs. So they fear us, and obey.

We haven't chosen to have dogs. THEY chose us. Mohammed, our neighbor, has 6 or 7 of them, some very strong dogs, and 2 of them regularly spend time with us.

The dogs Miloud and Lisa wonder when we'll decide to share our meal with them

Even if nobody ever calls the dogs by their names, they have names, strangely, because they have IDs. So I introduce you to our two more faithful companions, "Miloud" aka "Shfar" ("thief", he's not always very polite) and "Lisa", the old bitch, brave and noisy defender of our house.

When she's not hunting down strangers, she sometimes cuddles our orange tree, that surely appreciate her help, because it's been difficult for it to adapt to the earth of our garden.

And then, because she's too hot, she dives in the wheatfield... and it's pure happiness.


Elizabeth said...

I feel so sad for Moroccan dogs!
We have adopted a variety of cats. We even had Mimi fixed so she wouldn't have a million more kittens.
Yes, you're right dogs play a quite different part in life in Morocco.
But we simply cannot have a dog in the medina.
a) no place for it to run and play
2) the local children would tease it since they are not brought up round animals.
All best wishes

Marie et Fred said...

Thank you for your comments Elizabeth!
The next step for us is to have kittens. We've already chosen them, but the BIG problem is the dogs. They like cats a lot too, and they kind of eat them... So we'll have to figure out a solution very soon !