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  • Never having had a dog before, I'm slow to pick up on their behaviours.
    One such is that of 'Guardian'.

    Our dog, Texan Star, has a limited area to guard from outside incursion: our balcony onto the road. As early as possible in the morning, she is outside there, gamely and intently patrolling the perimeter. Every so often she'll pause and fix her sights onto 'danger' areas, i.e. the front doors of the buildings opposite us. At any suspect movement - people setting off on their daily toil - she raises hell. To quiet her it is enough for me to say "Tranquilla" [trad. approx.: "Known subject. It's OK"] .

    A variant on this behaviour regards our two sons, Matteo (18) and Luca (14). The moment the door closes on them as they're heading for school, she's out there, ready to see them off down our road with a series of doggy recommendations and valedictory woofs. In this role she reminds me of me, when the boys were younger: a series of recommendations desperately imparted to the boys' departing backs, usually finished off with the vaguely threatening formula used by Italian mothers: "Mi raccomando!" [trad. even remotely approx. impossible].

    Texan Star - 'though she answers only to Star, or Star-etta - has been my constant companion of late. I take her everywhere, even to work. Oh..not to the big lectures (those would unsettle her, I think) but she happily hunkers down beside me in seminars. Her command of 'Lingua Inglese per l'Economia' is coming on apace.

    Which reminds me. A few years ago, the Faculty gave me the 'Aula Magna' of one the student Halls of Residence as my lecture hall. Its entrance was practically on the road. Two stray dogs took to attending my classes. They were very polite, very attentive. They did so enjoy PowerPoint presentations. At the first exam call of the summer session, only one came along. The other one evidently hadn't felt up to it.
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