Friday, 9 October 2009


I met G. on the platform. We were going to walk her Grandmother's dog together. This is not a typical weekly ritual. Not for me anyway. I'm here because I've got some time to kill and Babi's place is near the metro station, so it seemed a fitting moment to reboot the blog.

The dog himself is the reason this won't become a habit. Of the various annoying traits a dog can possess: disobedience, a grating incessant bark, nauseating body odour, food thievery, invasive muzzle and over friendly tongue - this dog possesses all of them to their utmost. His name is Čert, which means devil. Needless to say, I've never met a more aptly named pet. He's also one of the few dogs here with a Czech name. Most seem to have English names. And he's only a dog in as much as anything vocal, hairy and four-legged is a dog. He looks, and certainly smells, like a used sheepskin car-seat cover.

G. told me that she walked Čert only in as much as she walked WITH Čert. He was very much in charge and dragged her and later me around a few blocks. This is when I discovered Čert's other annoying habit. He marks his territory constantly. On one occasion, he did it with as close to wryness as a dog can manage. A guy called Lerry left his tag on a gate. The tail of the 'y' was topped with an arrow. Čert left his mark exactly where Lerry directed him.

Later, Čert seemed merely senile. When G. finally coaxed Čert to turn around and head home, he sniffed a mark he just made the very instant before and sprayed a bush he'd marked not a minute earlier. I think the poor guy can no longer remember his signature.

If Čert is deserving of any credit it is that he's not aggressive. When other dogs rush to the fence and bark is one of the few times Čert doesn't make a sound. His lack of confrontationalism means you are saved the effort of dragging him away. But, it has come at the expense of his bravery. When he hears another dog, he drags whoever's attached to him along the path until he's at a safe distance.

Incidentally, Čert took us in a counter-clockwise direction. If he had hands, his right would be the dominant one.


Vanessa said...

Did his name come first or did he grow into it? Take care when naming pets!

Closely Observed Train Stations said...

He inherited his name from Babi's earlier dog who was very black hence the name. I should point out Czech devils are not depicted as scaly and red but tend to resemble black fauns or demonic sheep, which Čert does.

Closely Observed Train Stations said...
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