The one thing about having rescue dogs is that you know nothing about their past lives and therefore you can only make assumptions. We have two of these dogs, Olive a small terrier type aged around four years and Alfie a lanky, half dog-half donkey five month old. We know a little about Olive, she lived in the nearby town of Fara San Martino and was known by everyone locally due to her running around the narrow streets and generally being a cheeky little mutt. We acquired her due to a change in her owners circumstances. She always seemed to be quite morose and spent most of the day moping around when we first got her, the one thing that struck me was she didn’t seem to know how to play, every toy we gave her was ignored. She really wasn’t a very happy girl and we put this down to her moving to a new home.
Alfie came our way after a friend asked if we were still looking for a dog as there was one abandoned near Lake Casoli. At the time we had considered getting another dog but Olive reacted badly to other dogs so had shelved the idea, however seeing a photo on Facebook tugged at the heartstrings and I went to look at him. To cut the story short, suffice to say he was such a smashing looking chap I decided to take him and give him a home. He was terrified when we bundled him into my car and for the first time I spotted the long scars on his front legs. The chef from the nearby restaurant told me a car arrived one evening and the dog was just pushed out.
From their initial meeting Olive and Alfie got on, becoming firm friends. I guess they saw a little of their own story in each other. We did notice that despite the age and height difference they both shared the same trait, neither of them ever wagged their tails.
Olive seems to have always been a people dog, she loves being with humans and likes nothing better than a ride in the car; so much so, that as soon as the driver’s door opens she’s inside, as fast as a cork from a chilled bottle of Prosecco. Whereas Alfie was wary of humans, a hand near his head made him cower, a stern rebuke would have him falling to the ground passively and the car terrified him. They both adapted to living on a building site very quickly and although not the ideal environment I think with so much chaos around they found it exciting. Alone they both began to explore and Alfie’s youth rubbed off on Olive and she learned how to play, her favourite game being, glove killing – I daren’t tell the builder what happened to his gloves. In turn Olive’s age has kept Alfie in check, she’s taught him the rights and wrongs of living with humans and is first to tell him off if he sticks his nose into the kitchen waste bin. Also seeing Olive jumping in and out of the car has allayed his fears and he now jumps into the back seat knowing that after been taken for a walk he’ll come home and not be abandoned.
Last week a friend dropped by and she commented on how Alfie didn’t flinch when she went to stroke him; something I no longer noticed. I then looked for changes in the two of them and noticed that now they both wag their tails. Olive just at the mention of her name and Alfie when you go to stroke him and of course when they play together. It’s so nice to see an abundance of tail wagging in the countryside, here in Abruzzo.